Monday, September 30, 2013

Michael J. Fox Show Educates through Comedy

Pleased is a fitting word to describe my feelings about the new Michael J. Fox television show. It does my heart good to see that Michael is willing to share with the world his experience having Parkinson's Disease and to do so in a sitcom. 

I use to enjoy watching the television program Life Goes On about a boy with Downs Syndrome and his family. It aired from 1989 to 1993, a time when schools were beginning to see the benefits of mainstreaming children with special needs. While television dramas can be very moving, I look forward to watching and learning about Parkinson's through comedy. Knowing how and when to laugh when dealing with any disability is important. Our family certainly realizes this (see these posts).

I came across the following link through LeAnn Leach, a friend of mine from high school. LeAnn was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease seven years ago and is in the video. Please click and watch.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Seasons of Change

Autumn was never my favorite season. To me it meant that summer was over and school would start, bringing with it cooler temperatures, shorter days and stomach viruses. But somehow this year, like the seasons, my mind is changing. Although I am extremely fond of summer, I have taken a new liking to fall. I won't go so far as to say autumn is my new favorite season, but I am seriously contemplating it. Here are a few of my reasons...

Autumn Colors
Gorgeous Fall Foliage

Caramel apple
Caramel Apples


Roadside Pumpkins
Pumpkin Farms

Winter Squash...Yum!

Blue Jeans 
Coca-Cola tag bonus : )

Images from Flickr. Click on photos for original source.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Hands Can...

Honorable Mentions (chosen by me) from our first class book.

Look how happy the little butterfly and snail (I'm guessing here) are in anticipation of being held by what appears to be the hand of a compulsive nail biter. 

And who wouldn't want to hold hands with either of these characters?! Personally, I think they have a strong resemblance to  Marilu Henner and Danny Devito in their Taxi days. (If you're younger than 40 and wonder what and/or who I'm talking about, Google it. )

Hands "CAN" high five. They can also stay down and choose not to. ;)

I don't know if I'd want to clap this hand as it could prove to be dangerous.
I would say this hand has some great nails for nose picking if the little person,
we'll call it Pat, had a nose to be picked.

This is my personal favorite. I know it's hard to see the yellow, but there are four figures with arms extended... none of which HAVE hands, nor are they touching. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Kindergarten Science = Tasting and Spitting

Center time in Kindergarten last week revolved around the five senses theme. While I was teaching a group of students about taste at the science center, a couple of noteworthy things happened. The children were given a variety of salty, sweet and bitter food items to try (pickles, M&M's, salt, sugar, lemons, etc.). On the first day teaching this center, I must not have been clear instructing the children to spit any food out on their napkin that they didn't like. While passing out some dark chocolate, which was only about the size of a slivered almond, I explained about the word bitter and turned around to see one little girl's belly button exposed as she wadded up her shirt, trying to hide the awful mess she had created by spitting her "taste" into the pink fabric. One cannot possibly believe what a teeny tiny amount of chocolate mixed with a little saliva can do to the garment of a five year old. I tried to clean her up but to no avail. I've a feeling not even Heloise would succeed at getting that stain out.

Another day, while working with a different group of students, I proceeded to explain that we were going to taste a variety of foods, when one of the boys told me, "I can't have anything." Thinking maybe he was hesitant because he could smell the pickles, I explained that they could spit anything out that they didn't like onto their napkin. This little guy just looked at me and as serious as can be he said, "I can't eat anything. I'm dropping weight for a tournament." I could NOT believe my ears. Never, in all of my years working in Kindergarten, have I heard such a somber and troubling expression from a five year old. 

Now I could rant and rave and tell you all how I feel about a Kindergarten child being forced to lose weight for sports, but I won't. It is reasons like this that I am happy to be a teacher's assistant and not a teacher. I just pass information on to Mrs. B. and let her deal with it. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

My Opinion of Lars and the Real Girl

Katelyn brought Lars and the Real Girl over a few weeks ago and asked Don and I to watch it. We finally got a chance to put it in the DVD player on Labor Day and we loved the movie!

If you haven't seen Lars and the Real Girl, you should put it on your "to do" list. The movie is about a delusional guy named Lars who orders a life-size doll online and is convinced that it is his girlfriend. Lars' brother and sister-in-law, who are very concerned, are told by a medical professional that the best thing they can do for Lars is to go along with it. I won't tell you any more about the story other than the movie is PG-13 and nothing inappropriate is done with the doll.

If you have someone in your family or circle of friends with a disability, you should absolutely watch this movie. You'll laugh and laugh and maybe even cry at the end (I did.).

Ryan Gosling is not my most favorite actor, but he did such a good job with this character. Soooo...borrow or buy the movie, set aside 107 minutes, pop up some corn and enjoy watching Lars and the Real Girl.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Raisin Bran Muffins

I love bran muffins. However, like anything else, not all bran muffins taste the same. Costco's bran muffins (when they have them) are far too dense and sweet for my taste. I like to bake the following bran muffins for several reasons. #1- Along with white flour, the recipe incorporates 100% wheat flour, an ingredient I have to sneak into food so my husband will eat it. #2- It calls for my favorite kind of sugar...brown sugar (but very little of it). #3- The recipe includes unsweetened applesauce, making the batter nice and moist. #4- The muffins are full of bran, a terrific way to get fiber into your diet and #5- This recipe is simple and quick to throw together. You can enjoy fresh baked muffins in 30 minutes- start to finish.

Raisin Bran Muffins

1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup oil
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup Kellogg's All-Bran cereal
3/4 cup white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins

Combine applesauce, oil, milk and egg. Stir in bran and let stand for 5 minutes.

In another bowl, combine the flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Gently stir dry ingredients into the bran mixture just until blended (do not beat). Fold in raisins and fill greased muffin tins. 

Bake 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Wait 5 minutes before removing from pan.

Yield- 1 dozen 

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