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?

Ready for MommyCon 2019?

Screen Shot 2019-03-29 at 12.20.20 PM.pngJoin me at the largest natural parenting convention EVER!

I can’t wait for MommyCon San Diego on November 23rd. MommyCon is being held at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley.

This multi-day event features amazing shopping, interactive workshops, inspirational speakers and so much more. I loved the goody bag that I got last year! And of course, no event for moms (and dads) is complete without a snack station with all kinds of tasty snacks and drinks from some of the sponsors.

To view the schedule, buy tickets and get more info go to MommyCon.com and use code “MTAH19” for 10% off!

Are you or a family member in the military? Check out their Military Ticket  Program.

Would you like to attend but need a discounted ticket? Please learn about their Complimentary Scholarship Ticket Program.
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I’ll be posting more about MommyCon over the next few months, with more details and fun stuff!
Talk Back: With MommyCon all over the US, which one is closest to you? IF you have kids, will you be attending?

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.

Live in California & Buy Milk?

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Thanks to my friend Jessica for the heads up on this awesome program! The CA Milk Processor Board has started a new program called “Moo Money”. Through April 28, 2019, “Moo Money” will reward milk-loving California consumers for purchasing real, wholesome dairy milk at any participating retail outlet, as well as online.

It’s easy:

  1. Sign up here.
  2. When you buy Dairy Milk, upload your receipt here.
  3. Earn Points that can be redeemed for gift cards!

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Two gallons of milk scored me 328 points. Since we buy milk several times a week (seriously, my kids are at least 50% milk), I have a feeling we’ll be cashing out for a gift card in no time! I’ll be using our gift card(s) to buy Amazon Gift cards. Perfect for those things that I buy regularly (like PBFit, Malted Milk Powder, and GoGo Squeez).

To learn more about this program, check out this press release.

Chipotle Reading Rewards: Rewarding the Little Readers in Your Life!

Disclosure: I received a free meal for four as compensation for writing this post, but honestly, reading/literacy is super important to me and the fam….

Chipotle is passionate about more than just perfectly rolled burritos, it is also committed to cultivating nourished minds and communities, and one of the best ways to do that is through Chipotle Reading Rewards – the annual program that rewards book smarts with delicious food crafted from real, whole ingredients.

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Now through Feb. 28, Chipotle is accepting educators’ and librarians’ applications for its Reading Rewards program, which can be added to an existing reading program, or Chipotle can provide schools with turnkey resources to kickstart their own.

The program is designed to help students develop a love of reading by rewarding them with free Chipotle when they reach their reading goals.

One of the reasons I love Chipotle as a family dining choice is there is someone for everyone, even the big kid, who is super picky (he has texture/sensory issues as part of his ASD). Chipotle is committed to making real food from wholesome ingredients without any added colors, flavors or additives. Chipotle has always prepared and used real ingredients that everyone can both recognize and pronounce.

The big kid likes that his food is made in front of him and he is in control of what gets added (no meat- he is a recently self declared vegetarian). I like that there are a lot of good options- freshly chopped veggies, salsas and guac made in the restaurant.

Chipotle’s craveable food is freshly prepared by hand each day using classical cooking techniques in its 2,500 restaurants.

Chipotle is committed to making its food more accessible to everyone. Ordering through the Chipotle app or website is easier than ever before, and now you can get your food faster with delivery from DoorDash.

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To learn more about the Chipotle Reading Rewards Program, click here.

 

Recipe: Chocolate Chunk Cookies (Made with Olive Oil)

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So chewy and fluffy!

I posted on Instagram yesterday about my adventures in baking. I promised the kids cookies, but after consultation with my pantry and fridge, I lacked butter, coconut oil, or Crisco. I quickly searched the google machine and found a bunch of different recipes for chocolate chip cookies with olive oil!

 

Looking over the various recipes, combined with what we had on hand, and I cobbled together a pretty decent batch of cookies. This recipe made 3 1/2 dozen decent sized cookies.

They are fluffy, chewy, and soft. They can burn easily, due to the amount of sugars used. Remember to take them out of the oven before they look done. They will continue to cook on the cookie sheet after they are removed from the oven.

Screen Shot 2019-01-08 at 9.03.10 PM.pngIngredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups AP Flour
  • 2 t. Salt
  • 1 t. Baking soda
  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil
  • 3/4 cup Brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup White sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T. Milk (whatever kind you use, non-dairy is cool)
  • 2 4oz bars of Semi-sweet chocolate, rough chopped

 

 

Directions:Screen Shot 2019-01-08 at 8.52.08 PM.png

  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, and soda. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix oil and sugars together, until mixture is fluffy. I use an electric mixer.
  3. Add eggs one at a time until well combined.
  4. Slowly add flour mixture until well incorporated, add milk as needed to give dough desired texture.
  5. Stir in chopped chocolate pieces.
  6. Drop rounded teaspoons onto a greased cookie sheet (or use Silicone baking pads like I do).  Bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes.

The kids were so happy they got cookies, and I was happy to be able to make them!My 2019 motto: Use it up, improvise, make do!

 

Talk Back: What is your motto or mantra for 2019?