Weekly Meal Plan!

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The kids and I are going camping this weekend, so I’m only meal planning through Thursday! We’ll be going to a Society for Creative Anachronism Event, Potrero War. The kids are looking forward to playing with friends, making s’mores, doing crafts, and the big kid is really looking forward to participating in Thrown Weapons with his Grandpa.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

This weeks meal planning goal is to eat up what we’ve got on hand that will spoil first. I’m not going to the grocery store to buy anything but milk and butter (oh no, we’re almost out!).

You may notice a lot of plant-based meals- We are not vegetarian, but I am trying to get more veggies into our diet. I do a lot of cooking from scratch- I find it easier to get veggies and fruit into recipes that I can have 100% control over.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day:

Breakfast: Coffee with heavy cream for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids.  I also keep sandwich Ziploc bags of other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular.

Lunches are leftovers, salads, or soups for me and the Little Bit, and The Big Kid has a specially packed lunch of whatever he’s into at the time (which changes frequently).

For dinner, when we’ve got busy days (like Mondays), I’ll try and put something in the crockpot in the morning, or pull something I’ve already prepped out that can be quickly cooked.

  • Monday: Leftover homemade pizza and strawberries
  • Tuesday: Spaghetti (I’ve been buying this kind because it’s high in protein) with red sauce loaded with veggies
  • Wednesday: Madras Lentils, white rice, and steamed veggies
  • Thursday: Grilled cheese sandwiches and soup (I’ve got a couple batches of soup in the freezer, so I’ll grab one and defrost it the night before. It’ll probably be Veggie Tuscan Soup).

When Life Gets Crazy…

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Oh, God.. I won’t lie. I had this entire post written, hit save, and it disappeared. Further proof that life is totally crazy right now.

I’ve got 3 weeks left of school, then (fingers crossed), I will graduate from college after a 17-year hiatus. So, I’ve got a lot of stress right now, between my regular responsibilities, studying, and getting ready for a huge almost weeklong camping event with my friends and a lot of my family.

I wanted to share some tips for how I keep it together when life is just crazy. These may not all apply to you, but they definitely help me.

Ask for help. I’ve been relying a lot on family, friends, and our respite hours through San Diego Regional Center so I can get out of the house without the kids to get stuff done. I love them, but sometimes shopping without them is just easier. Having a few hours alone to study in the library is nice. It’s hard to study when Legos are being played with right next to you.

Keeping to our schedule. Granted, there have been some changes to accommodate my schooling, but we are trying to get the kids to bed at night on time (sometimes that doesn’t happen), and out the door in the morning for school.  This includes my visits to the YMCA 4-5 times a week. I really believe that exercise helps me maintain a positive attitude and helps me manage my stress. I also have been continuing to meal plan, even though I sometimes forget to post it.

Be Flexible. This is a tough one for some of us (myself included). Sometimes life gets crazy, and you need to go with the flow. Sometimes that means cereal for dinner, sometimes it means going to bed the same time the kids do because everyone is tired.

Give Yourself Grace. Remember that this portion of your life won’t last forever. It won’t always be stressful, busy, or this hard.

Do What is Right for Your Family. This one can be hard, especially since we live in the era of Pinterest worthy, social media one-upmanship. I’m a fucking hot mess and I’ll admit it. As long as my family is loved and cared for- that’s all that matters. And sometimes that means cereal for dinner!

 

Talk Back: What do you do when life gets busy/crazy/unpredictable? 

 

Detective Pikachu Review

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Henry enjoying the movie stand-up in the lobby

My Big Guy LOVES Pokémon. The cartoons, the card game, and when he found out there was going to be a live-action movie he begged me (and his dad) to take him. Thanks to my awesome PR friend Risa, we were able to check out a sneak preview on Monday.

 

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Pika Pika!!

So my review comes from the angle of a mom with an autistic kid who doesn’t do well with lots of fast movement, loud sounds (like explosions) in movies.

IT WAS PERFECT! Visually, the insertion of the Pokémon was seamless, it wasn’t ever too loud, too fast, and the special effects were just enough. Kiddo watched in fascination for the entire movie! The movie run time is 1 hour, 44 minutes. A great length for a kids movie (although it is rated PG- Pikachu says “hell” at one point).

For those not in the know… The story begins when ace detective Harry Goodman goes mysteriously missing, prompting his 21-year-old son Tim to find out what happened. Aiding in the investigation is Harry’s former Pokémon partner, Detective Pikachu: a hilariously wise-cracking, adorable super-sleuth who is a puzzlement even to himself. Finding that they are uniquely equipped to work together, as Tim is the only human who can talk with Detective Pikachu, they join forces on a thrilling adventure to unravel the tangled mystery. Chasing clues together through the neon-lit streets of Ryme City—a sprawling, modern metropolis where humans and Pokémon live side by side in a hyper-realistic live-action world—they encounter a diverse cast of Pokémon and uncover a shocking plot that could destroy this peaceful co-existence and threaten the whole Pokémon universe.

Oh, and Ryan Reynolds voices Pikachu. So there is that too. There is really something for everyone.

Did you know that the creator of Pokémon, Satoshi Taiji is autistic? It’s true! The Art of Autism has a really great article about him and Pokémon.

We didn’t take the Itty Bitty kiddo, but she’s not really into going to the movies (except for the snacks). If your littler kiddos like going to the movies, I’d recommend it for them too.

Detective Pikachu opens on Friday, May 10th.

 

Talk Back: Do your kids love Pokémon? Who is their favorite? 

 

 

#DetectivePikachu

Family Recipe: Abasitas

I haven’t done a family recipe in a while. My mom made a batch of these recently and sent me home with a few.

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na na na na na na na na na- Bat Plate!

Turnovers, hand pies, pasties, kolaches, whatever you call them, I love them. Eating with your hands is done in almost every other culture on earth, but us westerners tend to frown on it.

 

My mom invented these rich, savory turnovers based on the flavors that I loved as a kid (and still love). It’s a pastry or yeast dough exterior, filled with cheese, chicken, breakfast sausage, and green chilis.

The batch she made last week used crescent dough that was rolled out. You may be able to see the remaining perforation in one of the photos.

In the past, I’ve used my pizza crust recipe (found here). It’s really up to you what kind of dough you use for exterior. Crescent dough is rich and buttery, and I think it works well for this recipe, so it’s what I’m going with. You can get the crescent dough in one large sheet if you want and cut it up, or, we used the regular rolls, and just did 2 crescents per hand pie.

Abasitas 

(Makes 16-20 depending on type of dough used)

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped up (You can also use 1.5 cups of chopped up rotisserie chicken meat)
  • 1/2 lb of Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sausage, cooked, crumbled, and drained of fat
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 4 oz. can Ortega Chilis, chopped 
  • 1 batch pizza dough (recipe linked above), or 4 tubes crescent roll dough

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix first five ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Roll out/unroll dough; Separate into 4 rectangles. Pinch together perforations to seal up.  If you are using another type of dough, roll out on a floured surface and use a sharp knife to cut the dough into approx. 8×5 rectangles.
  4. Place approx. 1/4c of filling in the middle of each piece of dough. Fold over, and seal edges of the dough by pinching edges together, you can also crimp the edges with a fork.
  5. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet (I always use parchment paper– it makes clean up easier) for approx 12-15 minutes until the dough is golden brown.
  6. Remove cookie sheets from the oven and allow hand pies to rest for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Allow to rest a few more minutes before devouring.
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Yummy cheesy filling!

I serve these with a green salad. They are good cold the next day too. They make a great picnic addition.

After they have cooled completely, store them in the fridge or the freezer. You can reheat them in the toaster oven!

They are a great food to batch cook.

April is Autism Awareness Month: How You Can Help & Support Those in Your Life Touched by ASD!

ribbon-large.jpgIt’s been 3 years since our big guy was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. We work hard each day to spread awareness and acceptance in our local community and circle of family/friends.

You or someone you know is effected by Autism, whether you know it or not.

If you are looking for more information about Autism support for you or family/friends, I recommend:

The Autism Society- They have links to local branches, where you can find local support groups for moms, dads, and siblings. Most branches have monthly meet ups and events. It’s a great way to meet parents who are in the same boat you are!

National Federation for Autism Research- Based in San Diego NFAR has many great resources, including monthly Mom and Dad meet ups, where you can have a hot meal, network with other Autism parents, and listen to a speaker. They also have a fun program for kids 2-8 called Engage & Connect at Kid Ventures in San Diego.

Screen Shot 2019-03-29 at 11.56.08 AM.pngIf you are looking for a fun way to meet other special needs families and do a fun activity, iFly has a great All Ability Night. The San Diego location has it’s all Ability night on June 2, 2019.

Easterseals also offers assistance to families with kids on the spectrum, including respite, and help for caregivers.

Finally, here is my post: 5 Ways you can Help a Special Needs Mom.

 

STORM BOY Opens Nationwide on Friday, 4/5/19!

Have you or your kids read Storm Boy? We started reading it about a week ago, and both kids are hooked. It’s really best suited for ages 10+, but my 8 year old loves stories featuring animals. It’s now a movie- starring Jai Courtney, Geoffrey Rush & Finn Little.

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Check out the trailer here

The movie is a beautiful and contemporary retelling of Colin Thiele’s classic Australian tale. ‘Storm Boy’ has grown up to be Michael Kingley, a successful retired businessman and grandfather. When Kingley starts to see images from his past that he can’t explain, he is forced to remember his long-forgotten childhood, growing up on an isolated coastline with his father. He recounts to his grand-daughter the story of how, as a boy, he rescued and raised an extraordinary orphaned pelican, Mr. Percival. Their remarkable adventures and very special bond has a profound effect on all their lives. Based on the beloved book, Storm Boy is a timeless story of an unusual and unconditional friendship.

The Storm Boy is a wonderful book and movie about selflessness, courage, perseverance, and love. I cant wait to finish the book so we can go see the movie in theatres. In addition to the book (for sale on Amazon here), there are printables available for download to help continue the message from the book, including:

Talk Back: Have you Heard of Storm Boy? Do you think it’s a movie your kids would enjoy?

Making Plans for Spring Break? Visit the Nat!

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Microorganisms add red and yellow hues to Yellowstone’s Grand Prismatic Spring.

My kids love the Nat! The Natural History Museum in Balboa Park is a fun place for kids (and adults) to explore.  The San Diego Natural History Museum (The Nat) is one of California’s oldest and most respected cultural and science institutions. Founded in 1874 by a small group of citizen scientists, today the Museum studies and works to preserve the incredible diversity of life in this amazing region we call home. The Museum is located at 1788 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101 in Balboa Park and is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. For more information, call 877.946.7797, or visit sdnat.org.

I am looking forward to taking the kids to check out the new photography exhibit: Photography Exhibitions Bring Nature to Life this Spring and Summer National Geographic’s 50 Greatest Landscapes, which opened on March 9, serves as a virtual tour of the world’s most stunning landscapes, from underwater vantages to the expansive countryside to dominating mountain peaks. The exhibition, inspired by the book “National Geographic Greatest Landscapes: Stunning Photographs That Inspire and Astonish,” illuminates the beauty of our planet through its exquisite collection of 50 images shot by some of the world’s finest photographers.

The kids love the 3-d movies at the Nat too! Did you know that Paid general admission to The Nat also includes access to the Subaru 3D Experience in the Charmaine & Maurice Kaplan Theater? The Theatre features the recently opened Flight of the Butterflies 3D showcasing the extraordinary migration of the monarch butterfly. National Parks Adventure 3D is also currently playing, and will be replaced by Conquest of the Skies 3D on July 1. The film invites visitors to travel through time to unravel the 320-million-year story of how flying animals first appeared and then evolved into the huge variety of aeronauts that fill our skies today—from nectar-drinking hummingbirds to armored airborne beetles to bats hunting in the dead of night. Ocean Oasis, a 2D, 40-minute film produced by the Museum, continues to screen daily. The theater schedule is available at sdnat.org/giantscreentheater. I love the theatre because it’s totally kid friendly, the seats are comfy, and the movies are always so well done, even my three- year old will sit mesmerized (and quiet). 

If your kiddos need to get their wiggles out and play, don’t forget to stop by The Backyard, a fun place for littles to play and parents to relax.

The Nat participates in the Free Tuesday in the Park program, which gives locals free access to museums in Balboa Park on Tuesdays. For the complete schedule of free museums, click here.