Thursday, February 27, 2014

How Autism Affects You/ Autism Awareness

Before our son Cody was born, my husband, Don, and I knew nothing about autism. Because Cody had a physical disability (blind), we focused on dealing with and learning about visual impairment.  It wasn't until Cody went to a special education preschool that Don and I were first exposed to a child with autism. It was much later, in the early '90's, when we learned that autism is a spectrum disorder and we decided to have Cody evaluated (see this post).

I am very passionate about autism awareness because it affects my family and the following examples show how it affects you too ... 

  • Your child will have a classmate with autism. 
  • You will have a co-worker with ASD. 
  • You will have a student in your classroom on the spectrum. 
  • Your tax dollars will be spent on early education programs and special ed.
  • You will have a child, grandchild, niece, nephew, cousin or neighbor with autism. 

I'm not trying to be Mrs. Doom and Gloom, just keeping it real. Here are some facts about autism that everyone should know...

Autism affects 1 in 88 children and in Utah, where I live, it affects 1 in 47! 

Boys are 5 times more likely than girls to have autism.

Autism is the fastest growing serious developmental disability in the United States and a global health crisis.

April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. Many families and businesses will be Lighting Up Blue to help raise awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).  Please consider participating by wearing blue, lighting up the exterior of your home, and/or donating. Toys R Us, T.J. Maxx, Joe's Crab Shack and Dollar General have all supported autism awareness in years past. Whenever you see the Autism Speaks logo, consider donating. Your money will go to a much needed cause!

To learn more about autism and the Light It Up Blue campaign, please watch the video below.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Disability Etiquette Quiz

I took a Disability Etiquette Quiz and got 100%. That, in itself, is not surprising. I suppose I would have been alarmed had I missed a few questions after being around Cody and other people with disabilities for over 32 years.

I think it's a good idea for everyone to take the short quiz. It's informative and may come in handy down the road. In fact, I will GIVE you the answer to one of the questions, because it's something I often see people do incorrect. Here it is...

True or False: I should tell the person who I am before speaking to a person who is blind.

The answer is True and here is an example why.

When approaching Cody, whether it is extended family, friends, or acquaintances, so many find it entertaining to have him guess who they are. While they may be entertained by withholding their names, it's not fun for Cody. Imagine yourself blindfolded and attending a function where there is a large group of people (church, family reunion, etc.) and being expected to play "Guess Who?" over and over. I realize people mean well. They really do and I am very grateful when others want to approach Cody and visit with him, but I know that Cody is very grateful to individuals who state their name right away.

Disability Etiquette is something we should become familiar and comfortable with. If you wish, click on the link below to take the short quiz and come back to let us know how you did in the comment section. And it's OKAY if you do not get 100% the first go-round, because as we say in Kindergarten... "We're just learning!"   :)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

How to Make THE Best Deviled Eggs

There are a couple of different occasions when our family enjoys eating deviled eggs. The obvious one is Easter and the other, maybe not so obvious, is when sloppy joes are on the menu for dinner. Like peanut butter and jelly, chips and dip or cake and ice cream, deviled eggs and sloppy joes are just two foods that Cody (my son with autism) insists go hand in hand.

There are two key ingredients in my deviled eggs that make them "the best"...

#1- Miracle Whip (along with Mayo) 

You may use any brand of mayonnaise that you'd like, but do not substitute
salad dressing for Miracle Whip. It will not taste as good. Trust me on this.

#2- Sweet Pickle Juice

Any brand of sweet pickles will do. Remember, you are only using the juice.

Deviled Eggs   

14 eggs- hard boiled, cooled and shelled 
1/3 cup Miracle Whip
1/3 cup Mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon mustard
2 Tablespoons Sweet Pickle juice
1/2 teaspoon salt (no more or they will be too salty)
pepper- dash
yellow food coloring- optional
paprika- for garnish

Remove yolks from hard boiled eggs and place in food processor with all ingredients except paprika. Mix until smooth and fluffy. 

Discard the whites of two eggs, but fill remaining 24 egg halves with  mixture. Garnish with paprika and keep refrigerated. 

I spooned the yolk mixture into the egg whites for quick eating.
However, if you would like to make the eggs look prettier, use your
favorite icing tool and pipe the yolk mixture into the egg whites.

Yields: 2 dozen 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

This was my day yesterday...

The button came off my pants and I didn't have time to sew it back on or change before work, so I safety pinned them (which was a hassle every time I had to go to the bathroom).

When blow drying my hair, I knocked a dried flower arrangement off of the wall. I couldn't vacuum up the damn mess, but I made sure to throw what was left of the stupid thing in the trash.

I dropped Cody's Twinkie Minion Valentines on the floor. Some of them came apart, but repairing them would have to wait.

While teaching a group of kids during work circle, the secretary, via the florist, delivered these roses to me...

They were from my husband. The children loved it. So did I!

I couldn't drive all over town  holding a beautiful flower arrangement, so I had to leave work 15 minutes early to drop off the flowers at home before going to my hair appointment. 

Once I was home, I threw together half a sandwich and a Diet Coke to inhale on the way to the salon.

While sitting under the dryer, I received a text from Katelyn and Casey saying they were at my house waiting for me. Katelyn had forgotten I told her the day before that I wouldn't be home.

I ran late at the salon and had to ask Casey to stay at the house and get Cody off of his day program van. 

I had barely been home 15 minutes when Chase dropped off my grandsons (whom I love dearly) for me to babysit.

Doing me a favor, Casey closed all the doors in the hallway to keep the toddlers out of mischief, then he went home and left me alone with the two little boys and Cody.

I fixed and fed them grilled cheese sandwiches and popsicles for dinner.

I decided to attempt to start Cody's bath, but found his bedroom door locked...from the inside. I had to wait for Don to come home from work and help me unlock it. 

A mutual friend called to let me know Mrs. B. was in the hospital and we would be having a sub for Valentine's Day. 

Once the grand kids went home, I finished fixing Cody's valentines, vented via text to my mom and sister and got into bed by 9:15 without shedding a single tear!

I tossed and turned and when I was finally able to sleep, I had nightmares about Kindergarten and substitute teachers.

The morning, however, has come and gone and somehow I survived. 

That's the GOOD and BAD. In case you are wondering what the UGLY is, it's my attitude sometimes. I really am blessed. I have a good job and great family and friends. 

THIS makes it all worth while...

Treats from the Students

A Coke Calendar from Casey/
A Pie and Turtles (My Favorite Candy in the Whole World) from Chase and Talitha

...and a Thoughtful "I Love You" from My Husband of Thirty- One Years. :)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Minion Valentines

If you follow my blog, you have read all about Cody's passion for Twinkies. (If not, click here and here.) That's why I decided to make minion valentines for him to hand out to his friends at the day program.

I found free printables at HALEGRAFX. There are two minions to choose from...

They were simple to make, using double sided tape...

...and I think they turned out rather cute. :)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Cheeseburger Chowder

1 lb. lean ground beef
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 cup sliced baby carrots
3/4 cup diced celery
1 tea. dried basil
1 tea. parsley flakes
6 Tablespoons butter, divided
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups diced potatoes (peeled)
1/4 cup flour
8 ounces Velveeta, cubed
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tea. salt
1/2 tea. pepper
1/2 cup sour cream

In a large saucepan, brown ground beef. Drain and set aside. In the same pan, saute onion, celery, carrots, basil and parsley in 2 tablespoons of butter until tender. Add broth, potatoes and beef. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered for about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are tender when pierced with fork. 

Meanwhile, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan. Stir in flour. Gradually whisk in milk and cook until thick. Add cheese and continue cooking until melted. 

Gently combine both mixtures. Stir in sour cream before serving.

Serves 6
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