Five Ways to Help a Special Needs Mom

158b3ea47eb4b5467a381bf7aa1d910b.jpgAs much as love and tolerance for others is taught these days, sometimes the first reaction when someone sees a special needs kid in public having issues (read: meltdown or stimming/self soothing) can be to stare wide eyed, make offhand or rude comments, or just bristle at “the weird kid”.

Please remember that the parents are doing the best they can, and that just like your neuro-typical kids, their kids have bad days too. Here are my five tips for how anyone can help a special needs mom.

  1. Offer to Help:  Offer to carry a bag or box they may be struggling with, especially if they are trying to remove their kiddo from public. I remember a few years ago, we were at Chick-Fil-A and Our big guy was done. He was tired, there were 15-20 kids in the little sound-proof kids area, so it was crazy loud in there and he was over stimulated. He just broke down and started crying and was wailing like a banshee. Two moms at the next table helped us pack up our leftovers, got our drinks refilled, and helped us carry everything out to the car, so I could carry both kids out. No shame, no dirty looks. Just compassion for a situation that every mom faces: THE PUBLIC MELTDOWN.
  2. Be a Friend:  It can be very isolating to have a special needs kid, trust me. Text your friend. Offer to get together at a park or some place that her kiddo(s) can play, so you can spend time together. Some special needs parents have hectic schedules with therapy appointments or doctors visits sometimes weekly. Keeping in contact with your friend can really help “normalize” her life.  I so seldom see other moms, that texting and Facebook are two of the ways I am able to keep up friendships.
  3. Starbucks Run: Ok, so it doesn’t have to be Starbucks, but if you know she’s having a rough day, bring her a coffee or a treat. I had someone (and to this day it’s a mystery), send flowers to me after a really rough week.
  4. Expect to hear NO- and be OK with it: As much as you want to see your friend, hang out, go to the movies, get a pedicure, or just gossip over coffee, it can be hard for special needs moms to get away. Not everyone has family that can handle their kiddo, and special needs respite/care can be expensive. Sometimes, even the offer to hang out is better than being left out completely.
  5. Give Your Friend Grace, and Pray for them: Recognize that your friend may have a harder road to hoe that you and your family, and that’s ok. If you aren’t religious, think of them or send them good thoughts, dedicate your meditation or yoga session to them.

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about a time when you helped another person!

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San Diego Kids Expo & Fair- Win 5 Free Tickets!

resized logo.jpgIt’s back!! I can’t wait to take the kids. The San Diego Kids Expo and Fair is a two day event catering to kids and families, on October 20th and 21st ant the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

This event contains two parts. There is an Indoor expo portion housing a large variety of businesses showcasing products and services that cater to kids, babies and families. You can expect many FREE activities, specials appearances and performances.

San Diego Kids Expo Pic.pngThe second portion is the Outdoor fair with a Rock n’ Roll stage and rides like a zip-line, pedal kart race cars, zorbing balls, euro bungees and more! There is also an Inflatable Playland for children 8 and younger that features bounce houses and jumpies. Outdoor fair attractions can be accessed with either an All Access Wristband or Playland Wristband purchase. If you are looking for an affordable fun weekend with something for the whole family, the San Diego Kids Expo & Fair at the Del Mar Fairgrounds is the place to be!

And you can enter to win 5 tickets to the event! Entering is easy:

  1. Head over to the event page on Facebook here.
  2. Invite 10 friends to it and share the event in order to be eligible to win.
  3. Leave a comment on this post that you’ve done steps one and two.  Winners will be chosen October 15th and need to respond to the notification by Tuesday, October 16th.

Tickets are good for either day.

*Kids 12 and under admission is FREE. Most indoor activities are FREE. An All Access Wristband or Playland Wristband purchase is required for participation in outdoor fair activities. All vendors, activities and attractions subject to change.

Parking is $14 cash per vehicle at the Fairgrounds entrance.

For more information please visit www.sandiegokidsexpo.com

Meal Plan Monday 9/24/18

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Hey, did you know that today is National Punctuation Day? To celebrate, let’s use some exclamation points, and get started with our meal plan for the week!

I’ve gotta goto the grocery store this week, so this is based on what little we have on hand. I’ll be buying more meat, fresh fruit, and veg, and some pantry staples that have dwindled. The menu may changed based on what I find while I’m out shopping.  I’ve been doing a lot of shopping at 99 Cents Only, Grocery Outlet, and Aldi’s lately.

Breakfasts are usually the same for us: Protein shakes for grown ups, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids. We have plenty of protein shake fixins’- I buy the over ripe bananas, peel and slice them pop them into ziploc bags, and freeze them for smoothies and protein shakes. 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 a protein shake for me and the Mister, and The Big Kid has a specially packed lunch of whatever he’s into at the time (which changes frequently). Bitty Bird eats whatever I’ll feed her.

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: Homemade frozen pizza, carrots with yogurt dip, and green grapes

Tuesday: Cheese enchiladas, beans and Cauliflower Rice (99 Cents only has had Bird’s Eye brand lately and it’s really good!)

Wednesday:  We are going to an event and dinner is included- I’m not sure what it will be

Thursday: Egg scramble with veggies, bacon and cheese (I’m hoping to use up whatever veggies we’ve got on hand- usually bell pepper, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and shallots).

Friday: I really want soup, so I’m thinking Colonial Chowder and I’ll make biscuits to go with it.

Saturday: I’ve got a corned beef in the freezer, so I’m thinking I’ll pop it into the crockpot Friday night and let it cook all night (recipe here), and I’ll make corned beef sandwiches for us to take along with us when we head up to Brick or Treat at Legoland.

Sunday: There is a mother and Son bowling event that evening, so hubs and Bitty Bird have to fend for themselves, that means: Leftover night!

Talk Back: What are you having this week for dinner?

Smart Games & Tryazon: Enjoying STEM with Friends!

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Getting the gang back together!

On Friday afternoon, the kids and I, along with some friends and their moms got together at a local park to explore some fun STEM based games from Smart Games.

I invited my home schooling friends, along with other moms that are like me: always looking for educational and fun games and opportunities for kids.  What I love about the games from Smart Games is that they are fun- the kids didn’t realize that the games were educational. The kids took turns playing Penguins on Ice, which was the overall kid favorite. The moms liked Quadrillion the most, and we all took turns playing it with the kids and each other.

While the games are one player, the kids all worked together, which was great to see. There are no batteries needed, none of the games make sounds or have flashing lights, so it’s all about imagination and working it out. The Younger kids gravitated towards Trucky 3, which is a great visual puzzle game with larger block and little trucks.

The other crowd pleaser was Color Code, which quickly was also popular with the moms.

Color Code was also the game that we gave away- I love that Tryazon and Smart Games sent us 4 games to try out and keep, and I love sharing with friends- So I try and give away at least 1 item at each party I have.

It was a perfect, educational afternoon! There was a lot of giggling, play time, and learning.

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Working hard on making a pattern.

If you want to learn more about Smart Games, their website is full of great information.

And if you want to learn more about Tryazon, their website has tons of information about all of the cool campaigns and parties they have coming up!

I received the games free in order to facilitate a group party with friends and their kids. All opinions are my own. I was not financially compensated, however, we do get to keep the games!

 

Free Upcoming Positive Parenting Classes in San Diego!

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Parents and caregivers: It’s ok to say that you don’t have all the answers, and it’s ok to look for help.  Jewish Family Services has a Positive Parenting Program and it’s coming to Santee next month! It’s a free class, and all you have to do to attend is call Meredith Riffel at 619-258-2345 to RSVP.

From their website, “The Positive Parenting Program (PPP) provides free parenting workshops throughout San Diego County in Head Start preschools, elementary schools, and other community sites to help parents and professionals learn how to use simple, practical, and powerful strategies to strengthen families.

Throughout our five-year history, we have served more than 5,000 families, helping 10,000 low-income preschool children communicate better, cooperate more, and show greater respect toward their parents, teachers, peers, and themselves. Nearly 97% of parents surveyed report seeing improvements in their children’s behavior!”

The best part is that childcare is provided for those of us with littles that are not in school yet!

Kid K’Nex- Creative Play for Smaller Hands!

Screen Shot 2018-08-08 at 5.33.36 PMWOW! We were lucky enough to be selected for a Tryazon Kids K’Nex Play Time Party, and today was the day!

The kids had a blast! It was hot already at 10 am at the park, but there were a few kids out, in addition to our guests who came over to check out these awesome toys and play.

38804508_10106054182526514_4093103128713363456_nAnd for those who couldn’t attend, but want to check out all the fun of Kid K’nex, here is a sweet coupon code TRYAZONKK. It will allow your friends to purchase the Budding Builders Tub for 70% off here.

 

About K’Nex: Founded in 1992, K’NEX, part of the Basic Fun! Family of brands, wanted to show kids that the only limit to building was the size of their imagination! 25 years later, K’NEX prides itself on connecting Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math with imagination. STEAMagination can be found in every K’NEX set and with it building dreams become a fun-powered, 3-D reality! Winner of over 390 awards and recognitions, the K’NEX product line has building toys specially designed for every age group and skill level.

In addition all this fun play, the kids and I gave away two of the KID K’NEX Zoo Friends Construction Toy Sets.  Recommended for Ages 3-5 , each set includes eyes, ears, paws, and more! It comes with 30 building ideas in a cool handout, and includes 55 colorful parts!

Here are a few of our creations:

If, you’ve never heard of Tryazon (pronounced Try-uh-zon ☺), Tryazon is a service dedicated to getting innovative products into people’s hands and mouths, in fun settings like the party we had today. They offer excellent product samples and savings for all who participate.

We had a great time and can’t wait to party again soon with Tryazon! We received free items to facilitate this event, however we were not financial compensated to hold this event. All opinions are mine solely. Please review our Disclosure Page for more information.

6 Tips for Getting Ready for Back to School!

back-to-school.jpgIt’s coming… For some of us, back to school is NEXT WEEK! For others it’s later in August, and some lucky folks, have until Labor Day in September. Regardless of when your kids go back, it’s nice to be prepared and save money.

 

Here are a few ideas to help you prepare and stay on budget!

Packing an Awesome School Lunch.

Shop Online to Save Big-  I love shopping online, especially at JCPenney and Kohls. Lots of great deals to be had, coupons, and ship to store to save even more!

There is a backpack and school supply giveaway in Santee on August 19th. More info here.  If you need school supplies sooner, Assemblywoman Dr. Shirley Weber is sponsoring a Back to School Kick off and Community Health Fair on 8/11/18.

If you are worried about being able to provide a nutritious, healthy lunch for your kiddos, The San Diego Food Bank sponsors Neighborhood Distributions throughout the month all over the county. You can go and get free, fresh produce- usually between 10-30 lbs. per family.  No proof of need- Just grab your reusable shopping bags and go!

a72904da152a0795ba05aaecba3a28bc.jpgAdjusting back to the school-year schedule can be a little tough- That’s why we start to get the kids back to bed at their regular time starting the beginning of August. For our kiddos, keeping them busy and active all day, really helps. Trips to the playground, beach, zoo, and pool really help.

We’ll be hitting up the night time zoo this week!

And one last back to school tip: Let your kids play and hang out with friends as much as possible before they go back, especially if they aren’t able to see some of their friends at school. We’re hosting a K’Nex Play Time Party with Tryazon this Wednesday at Shadow Hill Park in Santee! If you and your gang will be in the area, please stop by! There will bea chance to win prizes, yummy snacks, and cool toys!