Posted by J.L. BOSTICK at 9:35 PM
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
I am so bad about getting everything I need to do done in one day. And I am talking about the basics here, from not having a hectic shower in the morning to getting to bed at a decent hour. A while ago I made myself a small little task chart to help me keep chores done. This was a chart for myself and myself only and it worked great. But as time went on, I think due to nobody else doing their part I just fell off the page and went back into my same old unorganized daily routine. At the time I made the chart I did not realize that EVERYONE in this house was unorganized!
Now that I am trying to get in better shape and lose weight I decided that it was time we all bucked up and got our stuff together. It was time to go to bed at a good time, wake up at a good time and get all of our chores done but not just done, done DAILY. No more saying , well, maybe tomorrow. One thing I know is that if I am going to change my eating habits the rest has to change as well. Chaos leads to bad eating choices for me and that cannot happen anymore. I am 112 pounds overweight because of this crazy home we created. It is all going to stop from the organization to the kids who think they can scream all day long. My kids are generally well behaved but we have one kid going into the wild 2's and another who just started the crazy 3's, it's a madhouse here these days! I cannot even talk on the phone without scolding someone for something. What this craziness means for me: I get stressed - I eat, I see clutter - I eat, I hear yelling - I eat, I eat, eat, eat, eat! WE need an entire lifestyle change from head to toe , inside and out.
Which is why I decided to make a daily Schedule for ALL of us. I color coded the chart and put it on the fridge. Tom is blue, I am red and the girls are in pink. Of course Tom doesn't have much on there because he is gone at work most of the day and the weekends will be slightly different. Kind of like, instead of school Saturday I will be alone in the room putting together lesson plans for the ENTIRE week coming instead of doing them daily until the wee hours of the morning like I do now. And the girls will be focusing on CLEANING their bedroom and it is also time to teach them how to wipe down their bathroom counters and potty. We all need to be active members of this house from now on. We have too many plans for the future to be so unorganized.
On another note, please remember to follow my weightloss blog & if you know anyone on a weight loss path please send them my way. I could totally use all the support I can get and I try to post things that will help others as well. This 112 pounds is going to be one looooooong journey. I post healthy but yummy recipes daily so all have some benefit. :)
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Here are a few worksheets I made that I have been meaning to share. On the counting worksheets I use puff paint and add dots to the items that need counting. Works great!
This is the template we used for our tree arts and craft activity. We cut out the tree, pasted it onto construction paper then used ripped construction paper to fill in the tree with color. It was a great tactile/sensory activity.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Hi all, I know I have not posted in a few days, believe me I do have several recipes I am dying to share but I have been so busy. I wanted to let everyone know really quick though that I have a new weight loss blog and would love it if you would all stop by to show your support and to follow me on my journey.
The Purposely Losing Mama!
It only has one post but starting tomorrow I will be adding my first healthy recipe. I might even be updating our meal plan later on. So stop by, if anything you will get some really great recipes out of the deal. Be sure to leave a comment and say hello. ;-)
Monday, September 20, 2010
It's that time again, time to share in the delicious pleasure that is chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! This chocolate Tuesday I made for you my very own recipe "Truffle Fudge". It is rich, smooth and oh so easy to make!
1 15 oz can - sweetened condensed milk. (or 1 cup of homemade)
2 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbs Cocoa powder
1/2 tbs butter
dash of cinnamon
1. Lightly Butter a small square pan and set aside.
2. Place all ingredients (except topping) in a double broiler on medium heat. Stirring non stop until smooth and thick.
3. Pour out of broiler into buttered pan.
4. Place chocolate in fridge to chill.
5. Mix an equal amount of powdered sugar and cocoa together in a small bowl (just a few TBS of each).
6. Once firm remove from fridge and lightly dust the top with sugar & cocoa.
7. Cut into squares and enjoy!
Hint: Line the pan in plastic wrap then butter the wrap. You can then pull the wrap and chocolate out of the pan with ease once it is set!
IDEA: For some crunch add crushed nuts to the top of the truffle fudge. Adding the nuts to the top instead of into the chocolate once in the pan will keep the nice creamy truffle like texture.
Want to join our Chocolate Tuesday Blog Hop?
It is oh so simple and just takes a few easy steps!
1. Friend our blog (I will friend you back if you leave a comment).
2. Grab our chocolate Tuesday button for your chocolate Tuesday post which links back to us.
3. Either share the official Chocolate Tuesday recipe above, your favorite Chocolate recipe or your favorite chocolate related memory. It is up to you!
4. Post the link to your CHOCOLATE TUESDAY recipe in the linky!
Very seldom I make a dish that is not 100% homemade, this Jambalaya recipe is one of those dishes. Jambalaya is one of those foods that takes time, I am a mother of 3 kids, one is disabled, time is not something I have much of. So in my need to cure my Jambalaya addiction I took a box Of Zatarain's and turned it into Jambalaya yummy goodness. Thus was our tasty dinner this evening!
Cheater's Beef & Sausage Jambalaya
1 Family Size box of Zatarain's Jambalaya mix
1 pound hamburger meat (not lean)
1 pound cooked Garlic sausage (sliced)
1 tbs garlic powder
1/2 tbs onion powder
1 large onion diced
2 tbs bacon grease (the grease from 2 strips of bacon put in the microwave to cook off)
1/2 tbs black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cups water
1. Add bacon grease, peppers and onions to a large skillet on med. heat. Cook Onions/peppers until tender.
2. Add hamburger and mash with a potato masher until cooked through (works better if mashed fine).
3. Add all other ingredients except sausage then bring to a boil.
4. Place sausage on top of mixture, cover and reduce heat.
5. About half way through cooking stir the sausage into the rice and recover with the lid.
6. Cook until rice is tender.
Serve with Southern Cornbread recipe below!
2 cups cornmeal
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tbs sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 cup margarine, melted
4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup Vegetable oil
1. In a large bowl mix together all ingredients.
3. Coat a 12 inch cast iron skillet in Oleo then heat for about 5 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and sprinkle a very light layer of cornmeal into the bottom of the pan.
5. Pour the cornbread batter into the skillet and cook in a preheated 375 degree oven until brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
Today we made a BIG decision for our family which seems to be a trend with us. Our goal for the past 6 months has been to get to Oregon next year but financially and job wise that is looking more and more impossible. Our goal is still to eventually move our kids to Oregon but we feel it is going to take us longer to achieve that goal. In the meantime we have decided to leave the small towns and move to my hometown which is Austin.
1. Tom is very happy in his job and there have even been talks about a promotion. Tom has never been this happy working for a company before and we both see him being there for a very long time. He will still be the same distance to work.
2. There are homeschool Co-ops and groups in Austin, TONS of them that we could join. And I REALLY want to be involved in a group homeschooling environment.
3. There are so many more opportunities for socialization in Austin. The parks always have other children to play with, there are events and there are places like Gymboree to take the girls to.
4. There are more job opportunities for me to work in the evenings. It is my goal to get a job while the girls are sleeping. I am an insomniac which I have been since I was 13 years old. I do not sleep much and am usually just wasting time alone on the computer. It would be nice to utilize that time better & have some extra money coming in to SAVE for our Oregon move.
5. There are more things for us to do as a FAMILY in Austin.
6. I know Austin very well because I grew up in Austin.
7. There is a decent public transportation system which means no matter what our vehicle situation the girls and I would always have a way about town.
8. The city is blind safe with beep lights and braille throughout. And because it is home to the largest school for the blind in the US people are used to seeing blind people about town.
We plan on moving within the next couple months. Starting this weekend Tom is going to work on getting his truck mobile. It has been inoperable for a while, it will be running and inspected in the next few weeks. Once that is done we are going start looking for a place. The one thing we know is that we want is 3 bedrooms with some kind of storage (or a garage) and we would like to live in South Austin. Tom says he always dreamed of living near the hike trail so we are going to shoot for the Barton Springs area. The nice thing about moving is that Tom's work hours are perfect to avoid traffic. He has to be at work by 6am and leaves at 2:30 so the commute traffic wise is not going to be a big deal. The commute will be the exact same amount of time he drives here.
So, in 2 months we will be living back in my hometown and will be city folk again. It seems kind of weird to think about it because I have not been a city girl since I left Los Angeles 8 years ago. And who knows, maybe we will end up enjoying city life so much we stay in Texas. Tom really wants his own shop and I want my own restaurant/thrift store, maybe we will be business owners as well. You never know, time can only tell.
All I do know is the second we step foot in Austin I am joining the Daughters of the republic. My great great grandfather Sion Bostick's picture stands in the capital of Texas, my family were some of the first colonist in Texas AND Austin, with land given to them by my great great grandfathers friend the infamous Stephen F. Austin himself. My grandfather was one of only 6 men who were sent to capture and imprison Santa Ana during the Revolution. They helped make Texas and Austin what it is and I plan on making sure everyone knows who my children are so they can have a better life than my lazy parents gave me. I want my girls to know the great men they came from. I should have joined sooner but I thought we were moving and I don't join things like this unless I give it all I have to give.
Austin, here we come!
Sunday, September 19, 2010
This weekend we had the pleasure of taking our family, including our blind 6 year old to a wonderful theme park which opened this year called Morgan's Wonderland.
The park was inspired by a young women by the name of Morgan Hartman who has a severe cognitive delay, at 16 years old Morgan was already an incredible 6 foot 4 inches tall! Her father and local real estate developer Gordan Hartman wanted to build a park dedicated to the world of Special needs. A park where all children can come together and enjoy all the amenities of theme parks and local parks, where a disability does not call for a challenge, where we can all be as one in the world. Fund-raising for the park began in 2007 when Morgan was only 16 years old with total completion in 2010 the park opened it's doors to the world of Special needs.
The park is situated on 8 acres which includes a lake, train, off road vehicle ride, Beautiful wheel chair accessible Carousel, wheel chair accessible playscapes , swings for all special needs including wheelchair swings, fishing (you can't keep the fish) and various other Sensory related activities.
Come with us on as we review every inch of this park through the eyes of a blind child!
The park is conveniently located off of Interstate 35 a main highway going through most of Texas. The only downfall is that the street is new and is not yet available on GPS and online maps. In order to get accurate directions you must call or visit the websites map. You also must be prepared for park TRAFFIC, not because the park is packed but because the park shares it's location with "Star Field" a local soccer complex.
There is tons of parking for Morgan's wonderland and even though the park shares the lot with Star Field they do have their own designated parking. If you call ahead you can reserve up front handicap parking. However there is plenty of handicap parking available within close walking range without making a reservation.
Upon entry my family was greeted by nice, warm, welcoming people. A nice lady even opened the door for us! The person at the counter asked my mommy about our reservations then put special band on each of our wrists. I did have to ask them to take mine off my arm, you see blind people are sometimes pretty sensitive when it comes to their hands and since I also have sensory integration disorder the band made me very uncomfortable. But they were very nice about it and put it on my ankle which was perfect! The lady then explained that we all must wear the bands because they are VERY special. If any of us were lost we could swipe the bands in front of one of several "location stations" throughout the park. Upon swiping we would be greeted by name and shown actual pictures of where our lost loved ones were located making it super easy to find them!
The Butterfly playground is an AMAZING covered playground which is named such because it is built in the shape of a butterfly. It is designed with double wheelchair ramps, textured & regular slides, musical play, tactile play, a wobble boat, spin seats, climbing equipment, various teeter totters and a really cool spinning swing.
Pros: The park is really amazing with all the tactile and sensory equipment. I especially loved playing on all the different size teeter totters, the spinning swing, the wobble boat and the rolling slide. And because the park was covered it was cool and didn't get hot like the playgrounds at home which means I didn't have to worry so much about getting burned by burning hot playground equipment.!
Cons: I would have liked to have played tic tac toe with my sister when she asked me to play. You see they have a tick tac toe game built into the park equipment which for most kids would be loads of fun. But for me because the game is not textured and has no braille I couldn't see it to play. I also wish they had more than ONE spin swing. Other than that, this was the perfect park!
A few feet away from butterfly park sits one of the most amazing carousels ever made. It is 100% custom with seating for all special needs. There are seats for wheelchairs, regular animals and animals with high backs. Each animal is complete with seat belts!
Pros: I loved everything about this carousel! I loved the animals, the up and down movement, the music playing overhead, the seat belts which made me feel safe and above all I love that they didn't make me get off. I got to ride again and again!
Cons: The only con is that it started raining before I had a chance to ride again. For safety they had to stop the ride.
Off Road Adventure:
A really neat off road vehicle ride which is wheelchair accessible.
Pros: I really love being able to drive a car for the first time in my life. It was so much fun turning the wheel!
Cons: About half way through the ride it got a little boring for me. The ride is very slow and long. A sighted child might enjoy it more because there are neat pictures and things to look at along the way. Because I am blind there is nothing to see. The ride might benefit from moving a little faster and/or having some ups and downs along the way to make it more fun for visually impaired people.
There are 2 swing area at Morgan's wonderland. There are specialty swings for wheelchairs and other special needs as well as regular and baby swings. I love everything about the swing areas, especially being able to swing with my sisters on the tire swings which are my favorite swings at the park.
Event Center and / Gymnasium
A full indoor sports gym which seconds as a banquet hall with a full size kitchen.
I didn't get to enjoy the gym this visit because they were setting up for a benefit event. I was a little disappointed that I didn't get to go play with my family because I was very much looking forward to it!
A beautifully constructed interactive water play station.
Pros: This was my second favorite attraction at Morgan's wonderland. Playing in water is one of my favorite activities and this was the most fun I have ever had doing that. There were all sorts of buttons and levers to push to make water shoot out in so many different ways. I could even hear the water flowing which was really neat!
Cons: I really wish there was a special place where I could have put my feet in the water. I so desperately wanted to climb into the pools of water. Maybe building a wading area with mini waterfalls and water shoots might be a nice addition in the future? Blind people really love feeling things like water with their feet!
Again, another attraction I did not get to experience as there was nothing scheduled for our day. I would have really liked hearing a play or some music. Perhaps when the amphitheater is not being used Morgan's wonderland can open it up to the visitors to put on their own plays or maybe have some fun kids music playing so that we can enjoy the stage and sing along?
A beautiful garden complete with 9 different fun instruments to play!
Pros: Music is my favorite thing in the entire world so this was the perfect place for me to create my very own music. So many different instruments from xylophone's to drums!
Cons: There was one instrument that was way too high for me to reach. I don't know what it was called but I sure would have liked to have played it!
A sand circle with several different sand stations designed to fit wheelchairs.
Pros: It was messy and I love messy!
Cons: I would have loved to have found neat textures in the sand, it would have made it even more fun.
Wonderland Express Train:
A 1930's locomotive train complete with wheelchair access which travels around the lake.
Pros: How can I not love being on a train. I especially loved it when the conductor blew the whistle!
Cons: The trip was a little boring at times with the conductor pointing out various areas of the park for everyone to look at. I sure wish he would have taken the blind into consideration and described them a little bit more or maybe incorporated some music into the ride so that blind people could get something more out of it than just a train ride.
The Sensory village is a group of various buildings that provide various Sensory activities.
I really didn't enjoy much of the Sensory village because it is VERY sight oriented. There is a room full of light play, a place to create your own car on a computer, a pretend grocery store, a stable with a few horses made out of textured materials and a place to watch and be on TV. The only thing that I could get anything out of was the horses. I cannot see the lights, the TV's or the computers and shopping for play groceries isn't very interesting to me. I felt pretty left out as my sisters played.
There are a few things that would have made Sensory village more enjoyable like perhaps a music room with music playing, a wind tunnel or a place to bounce like an in ground trampoline, a tactile wall with different things to feel or even a bounce house.
A wheelchair accessible pirate themed island with a playground.
Pros: I loved playing on the play equipment!
Cons: The playground equipment was the same as the butterfly park, it would have been nice to have had a different experience. There were some neat statues that my sisters enjoyed , other than feeling them I didn't get much out of it. I would have LOVED to have had a few buttons to press for each statue , perhaps the pirate & parrot could have spoke to me or the pirate chest could have "creaked" open when a button was pressed.
A lake-view pier where you can go fishing , play with remote control boats and shoot water cannons.
Pros: I really loved feeling the wind blow through the covered pier!
Cons: This was another attraction I could not enjoy. Fishing is simply not an enjoyable pass time for me as a blind child, I cannot see to shoot the water cannons at the target and I have no idea what is going on as I maneuver the boats.
Maybe Morgans wonderland could add different sounds to each boat (so there was no confusion which one belonged to who) and bells to the targets so I could tell if I was hitting something?
A beautifully decorated garden with beautiful statues.
The only thing I could have done in this garden I could not do which was touch the statues. There was a garden rule to stay off the landscaping and since the statues are part of the landscape I didn't get to see them. I would have liked to have heard some soft music while I felt the statues my mother was describing to me.
While there is no place for hot food @ Morgans wonderland they do have various vending machines around the park as well as a small store at the entrance. At the store you can purchase drinks, snacks and various sandwiches. We were pretty impressed at the quality of the sandwiches besides the fact that the peanut butter and jelly was very dry. My daddy's burrito, my moms foccacia with Turkey and my ham and cheese were restaurant quality and very tasty.
Where to eat: There are many different picnic areas throughout the park to enjoy your lunch. All picnic tables have room for wheelchairs. The chairs at the tables are a bit far from the tables and a bit high for small children to reach.
You can also reserve various pavilions around the park for large parties. But we enjoyed having our lunch at Picnic place because it has a swing area for us to play at while mommy and daddy finished their lunch.
Overall I really loved my visit to Morgan's Wonderland. I only hope that the park can work a little harder to accommodate the interests of the blind as I do think they left us out when it came to the brainstorming for many of the attractions. There isn't enough braille throughout the park and I couldn't participate in half of the park attractions because there was simply nothing for me to do. But what I did enjoy is enough to bring me back again and again. Hopefully my mommy and daddy will take me for another visit again real soon. Maybe by then Morgan's Wonderland will be an even better place for blind children everywhere!
Thank you!!! Love Miriam :)
Note: Small pics from the Morgans wonderland website www.morganswonderland.com.
Yesterday our family had the pleasure of taking our 3 daughters to a beautiful and wonderful new special needs based theme park in San Antonio, TX called Morgan's wonderland. We didn't know what o expect but we were so happy with what we got. Miriam and her sisters loved every second at the park, they played, rode rides and Miriam exclaimed to us for the first time in her life "I am having fun!". She tells us all the time when she is happy but has never used the words fun so we take that to mean she was literally having the time of her little life! I am going to be doing a review from the eyes of a blind child a little later. For now , please enjoy the pictures from our very own adventures in Wonderland! :)
(right click to open in a new tab!)
Saturday, September 18, 2010
We are going out of town tomorrow morning to take our girls to the Special needs theme park Morgans wonderland and I wanted to leave you all with a little bit for culinary inspiration. My FAVORITE recipe for buttermilk pie, my own..lol!
* 1/2 cup butter (REAL butter)
* 1 1/2 cups white sugar
* 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* 3 eggs
* 1 cup buttermilk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/2 brick cream cheese
* 1 9 inch unbaked pie crust (see crust recipe below!)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Blend in the flour, eggs, buttermilk, cream-cheese and vanilla until smooth.
3.Pour filling into pie shell.
4.Sprinkle top with nutmeg.
5. Bake until golden brown and toothpick pulls clean. (about an hour)
Butter Pie crust
* 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 tbs Sugar
* 1/2 cup cold butter - diced
* 1/4 cup ice water
1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt.
2. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
3. A TBS @ a time stir in water until mixture forms a ball.
4. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
5. Roll out when needed and add to 9 inch pie plate.
Have a great Saturday, God Bless!
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Friday, September 17, 2010
This is not only a recipe and a money saver post but it is one of the main ingredients in our next Chocolate Tuesday recipe which will be posted Monday night for your chocolaty Tuesday enjoyment!
Sweetened condensed milk can get expensive so here is a foul proof way to make your own which means more money to double up on those yummy recipes that require this sweet and tasty milk! Now you REALLY can say "homemade". ;-)
Homemade Sweetened Condensed milk
1/3 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup dry milk powder
3 tablespoons butter
Heat water in the microwave until steaming hot.
Add remaining ingredients into a large bowl, add hot water and carefully whisk or blend until smooth.
Store in air tight container until you are ready to use.
HINT: Want to make it especially yummy? Add 1/2 tsp of vanilla to the milk for a light vanilla flavor!
This milk is great in recipes, tea and even coffee. Enjoy!
My oldest daughter Miriam has some serious issues with fine motor skills as do many blind children and others with various special needs. Throughout the years we have been doing all kinds of activities with her, ideas we came up with on our own, ideas we found online or ideas we were showed by someone else. Next weeks blog focus is going to be on sensory and motor skills and the various activities we can do as parents to help our children with their sensory and motor issues. I decided to go ahead and kick off the week early with my list of "fine" Motor activities which work great for not only blind but other children as well.
55 Fine Motor Activities
1. Threading beads/noodles with string or shoestrings
2. Rolling newspaper into screws
3. Putting golf tee's into the pegs pf a peg board
4. Using peg board games
5. Sewing on embroidery canvas
6. Sewing fabrics
7. Screwing screws into wood with a screwdriver (pre-drill holes)
8. Make and playing with finger puppets
9. Roll Chinese balls or shooter marbles in each hand and between fingers
10. Shred paper or newspaper
11. Play the game of Jacks
12. Use tweezers or chop sticks tied off with a rubber band to pick up small items such as rice or noodles
13. Rolling/tearing play-doh or clay
14. Tying & untying shoes or shoe activities
15. Buckling & unbuckling belts
16. Cutting with scissors (fabric, paper, etc...)
17. Drawing, painting & coloring (you can buy raised line coloring pages or make your own with puff paint)
18. Unbuttoning buttons & snaps
19. Opening and closing various objects
20. Playing instruments such as a piano or guitar.
21. Spinning coins on a table.
22. Spinning "tops".
23. Doing puzzles
24. Using theraputty
25. Pop bubble wrap
26. Rolling on large balls
27. Using a Hula Hoop
28. Stacking random objects (cans, coins, blocks, etc...)
29. Screw and unscrew nuts and bolts
30. Uncap jars
31. Stick small items in play-doh for your child to remove
32. Using a a spoon move various objects from one space to another. (marbles are great for this)
33. Unlock doors with keys
34. Pencil sharpening with a hand sharpener
35. Put clothespins on a box, heavy paper or line
36. Use a stapler & remove staples with remover
37. Use wikki sticks or play-doh to make ABC's letters and numbers.
38. Do rub drawings of various items around your house or outside
39. Sorting textured fabrics or shapes
40. Cooking (kids love to bake / cook, let them help prepare)
41. Pre drill holes in wood and have your child hammer in nails
42. Making hole cards with a hole punch and threading them.
43. Rolling up paper
44. Making paper airplanes
45. Dropping coins into glass soda bottles
46. Using a brailler (they gotta learn somehow)
47. Turning the pages of a book.
48. Pulling/tugging stretchy fabric of all kinds.
49. Pulling up grass. (my daughter loves feeling and smelling grass)
50. Planting seeds in pots.
51. Rolling a ball.
52. Shooting Marbles into a cup.
53. Brushing hair.
53. Washing hair (the entire process)
54. Roll a marble through a side ways towel tube and try to keep it inside.
55. Tying & untying knots in rope.
On the same note I found this wonderful website that has so many wonderful toys for the mobility challenged child. They have beading toys, sewing toys, stacking toys, toys galore! And the prices are very affordable! Blueberry Forest Toys
PS. We have a new facebook page, come check it out and "Like" us! Sugar, Spice & Monkey Tales! Or you can just click the "like" button for our facebook page in the right sidebar at the top of our blog. :)