"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world." - John 16:33

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Homemade Sunbutter Bars

Towards the end of this past week, the headlines I kept noticing read: "Brown Rice Syrup puts Arsenic in Organic Food!" (Food Safety News), "Organic Brown Rice Syrup: A Hidden Arsenic Source."  (ABC News), "Study: Organic Rice Syrup Linked to  High-Arsenic Baby Formula." (Environmental Leader).

Organic Brown Rice Syrup?!  Isn't that in a TON of Gluten Free food?!  Agh!  Lately I've been thinking about how we need to go the next step and start making everything we feed out kids (nothing out of the box.), and this was just what I needed to push me to start.  

One thing my kids love and eat weekly, is Sunbutter bars.  They are nice little individually wrapped bars that are free of the top 8 major allergens including gluten, casein and soy.  I've always been hesitant to buy them because they are not organic.  My first project towards "making everything ourselves was to find a nice substitute for my childrens beloved Sunbutter Bars.

I found a wonderful recipe for gluten free energy bars that I was able to adapt to fit all of our needs.  I found the recipe on About.com, Gluten Free Cooking.  Here were my modifications:
  • I used Organic Sunbutter.
  • I used 1/2 cup of Honey and 1/4 cup of Agave (both organic)
  • I used 2 1/2 cups of a combination of organic , raw pecans, almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.
  • I used 10 pitted organic dates.
  • Instead of brown rice cereal (seeing as the issue is brown rice syrup) I used 3 cups of Organic quinoa flakes.

I used a small square pyrex glass pan so they came out a little thicker.  Not only did they actually stay together, but they tasted good! (I like them better than the ones we were buying!)


I wanted to wrap them each individually so that we could take them with us "on the go".  I wrapped each one with brown unbleached paper and I sealed them with a cute monkey sticker to make it a little more fun for the kids.  I put a few in the fridge and the rest in the freezer.  I figure I can pull some more out on Sundays.  

Here is the final product:

God Bless!

Mommy Provost

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Autism Safety

This week the National Autism Association offered a free Big Red Safety Box for families with children on the spectrum.  We were fortunate enough receive one the last time they were giving out these wonderful safety tool boxes.  This year they had 1000 boxes to offer for free and they were gone before the day was out.  This got me thinking...I haven't done a post about safety but it is the number one concern on our list.  Autism is tough for many reasons and one of those reasons is the potential lack of safety awareness.  Our Peanut is one of those children who struggle with safety awareness.  We didn't even realize that we may have to teach our child how to be safe until about a year into his diagnosis.

Autism safety and wandering:
According to Science Daily, the Interactive Autism Network (IAN) did a survey about wandering and elopement.  The results showed that approximately 50% of families report their children with Autism elopes "with the behavior peaking at the age of four."

Along with elopement, children with Autism may not have appropriate safety awareness.  They may not realize that if they step into the road they could be hit by a car, or that certain strangers are not safe to go with.  Even more frightening, there are children on the spectrum that are attracted to water, and if they elope and wander towards a body of water that could (and has) end in tragedy.

Another concern is safety and awareness during an emergency.  If a child with Autism is caught in a burning home with a loud fire alarm, they are unlikely to respond when firefighters call for them and they may even run away and hide from them.  If there is a medical emergency in your home, the paramedics or police may rush in to help, not realizing that there is a child with Autism in the home.  Such a scary situation can cause unpredictable behaviors and reactions from the child.  If the emergency workers are more aware, the situation has the potential to go much smoother.

According to the NH DHHS Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorders (page 27), people with ASD are four times more likely to come in contact with police services.  Some behaviors (lack of eye contact, difficulty with communication, and certain behaviors) can be misunderstood by Police and emergency responders.  It is important that personal are trained and made aware.

Safety in the home is another consideration.  We have watched our children to find what their major difficulties are, and have addressed them in a way that works best for our family.

A few things we have done inside and outside our home:
  • At our home we put up a fence as soon as it was possible.  Now when the children are outside playing they can run around and I can have fun with them instead of constantly being in fear of them running out into the street.
  • When ever we leave our home, our children wear an ID bracelet with all of our information and their food allergies.
  • We have locks on all cabinets that are accessible to our children.  Our knives have been stored in a cabinet high above the heads of any child.  We use Tot Lok's in our kitchen and Peanut has yet to be able to get into them!
  • We found that our children did not understand that they needed to stay away from the stove and dishwasher when they were on.  After we tried multiple different solutions we finally found one that worked.  Our children need visuals that are concrete.  I took blue painters tape and used it to put a line from the refrigerator to the counter to block off the major "danger area" in the kitchen.  I then showed them the line and told them, "No crossing the line or timeout."  After a few timeouts they got it!  The line has been with us for about a year and a half and still works. 
  • We took was to add a stop sign to the dishwasher and a PEC's picture to "not touch" on the oven.
Our "danger zone"
  •  Peanut has issues with elopement and has walked right out of the door without hesitation.  We added stop signs to every exit of the house to remind our little angels not to go any further.  We got these signs from our Big Red Safety Box. Signs like this could easily be made at home on a computer and then laminated.
  • Peanut is good at figuring out how things work, and once he was tall enough he not only mastered door knobs but also deadbolts.  We ended up going to a local hardware store and purchased a chain for the top of the door, and it sure has come in handy!
  • Another precaution we have on our doors is door chimes and alarms.  We have a security alarm in our home and so we enabled the option for the door chimes.  Whenever the door is opened it beeps.  Each door has it's own noise so you can easily identify which door was opened.  During the spring and summer time we leave the door open and keep a screen door closed.  Each screen door has a lock, which Peanut mastered this past year.  There were door chimes/alarms included in the Big Red Safety Box.  We attached these to our screen doors.  It makes a louder, higher pitched noise that Peanut can not stand and is VERY effective.
Our main doorway for "Fort Knoxx" aka: our home.
How we have prepared for an emergency:
  • There is an Autism 911 program in the state of NH, which we have signed both our children into.  They have you fill out information about your child and they take your child's picture and attach it to their information (they give you multiple copies).  A copy is given to the local police.  They also have you fill out information and a consent to include the information in the 911 operator system.  If you call 911 from my home, the operator immediately knows that 2 children with Autism live in our home, and what their major struggles may be when an emergency worker enters our home.  The operator can then relay this information as appropriate.  Emergency responders have be educated and trained about ASD.  I have heard a few stories from families who were enrolled into the program and I was happy to hear how amazingly wonderful and aware the emergency worker were!
  • Once enrolled into this program, you are given a window cling for your car and copies of the information about your child.  We took the information and put it in an envelope in the glove box labeled, "911 info".  The window cling states, " Alert.  Person with Autism in the Car.  Please see the glove box from more instructions."  If we are in a car accident and I am unable to communicate, at least my children's medical and behavioral information is available.  This is also good to have for wandering.  If one of my children go missing, I already have their information and picture ready.
  • On our front door of our home we have a window cling we got from the Autism Society of America.  It alerts emergency personal that our children may runaway, hide, or resist help.
Our window cling for the front door.
  • The final thing we have done is we created an emergency binder.  It is by the front door and the binder is labeled "911" in bold red numbers.  
Our binder
  • The binder is separated into 3 sections.  One section is for Peanuts information, one section for Sassy's information and one section for information about Autism (in case we encouter someone who is uneducated about Autism.  The last thing I want to do when my child is missing is spend precious minutes to educate). We have included the information sheet we acquired through the Autism 911 program in our state and we also included our "plan of action" in case of wandering.  We got this from the National Autism Association's,  AWAARE program.

What else can you do?
  • Research and prepare for emergency situations.
  • If you haven't already, add safety goals into your child's IEP (if they have one) or behavioral program.
  • Practice in play.  We pretend to safely cross the street or use the stove when pretend playing.
  • Point it out at every opportunity.  Every time we need to cross a street or parking lot we stop, prompt them to look, and ask them if it's safe, and why or why not.  It's now becoming a habit for them and I'm making sure they understand why it is or isn't safe.
  • The Autism Society has a nice overview of things to be sure of in your home.
  • You can write a social story for your child about whatever you may have a concern about.  You can read about social stories HERE.   
  • Research your area to find local Autism safety programs.
    • For information in NH visit Gateways Community Services: Autism 911 or Easter Seals NH: Autism 911
  • Just because the NAA ran out of Safety Boxes, doesn't mean you can't make your own!  Here are a few links to get you started:
Other resources:
God Bless!
Mommy Provost

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Autism Sunday

Today is Autism Sunday, the international day of prayer for Autism. Lets be sure to take some time today to spread a little extra awareness and pray for all of those effected by Autism. For all of you out there struggling remember God is with you and we are praying for you.

" Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Josh 1:9

Friday, February 10, 2012

Holding back the tears

Yesterday began as a rough day.  I began my morning with a migraine.  I was able to get it down to a dull irritating pain, but I was never really able to get rid of it completely.   We had a Naturopath appointment and as I was running around the house trying to get ready, Sassy managed to find her way into some metal folding chairs that ended up falling on top of her before I could get to her.  Once I unburied her from under the pile of chairs, I held her and rocked her to calm her down and make sure she wasn't injured in some way.  As I rocked with her, I found it hard to hold back my tears.  Tears from fear of her getting hurt, and tears of strain.  The stressed feeling I know all to well is starting to return to my life a bit and it wears on me quickly.
We were now running late for the appointment.  As I was getting the kids into the car, I received a call from the natropaths office.  The doctor was stuck in traffic and was going to be a little late.  "Thank you Lord." I muttered, thankful for the extra few minutes.  I took a deep breath and off we went.
Our appointment went well.  I had promised the kids they could go to an indoor playground after the appointment.  We had a wonderful time running and playing.  They love climbing in the huge, netted in climbing structure.  Peanut is now a professional at navigating his little body through the tunnels and obstacles, and down the slides.
One of the sections has a hole in a netted floor.  Peanut and Sassy love climbing to the upper level through this hole.  It has taken them some time to figure it out but they have.  A little girl who looked to be about Peanuts age was trying over and over to climb up through the hole Peanut and Sassy have gotten so good at.
I watched in amazement as Peanut walked up to her and offered to help.

"Do you need some help?" Asked Peanut
"Yes!" She said
"Okay, hold my hand." He said as he reached out to her.
She grabbed his hand and he helped pull her up through the hole.  Sassy stooped and watched, and then ran by them.
"Whats your name?" Peanut asked.
At this point I can feel the tears well up.  The little girl told him her name.
"My name is Peanut.  Do you wanna play?" He said
And off they ran.  They played together for a good half an hour before going on on their way to another distraction.  I stood there watching this occur almost in disbelief.  "Thank you Jesus!  Thank-you Jesus!" is what ran through my head as I watched.  My body shook as I fought back the tears.

I suddenly didn't feel that stress as badly any more.  Even if I did, at this point I wouldn't care.  THIS is why I deal with the daily stress.  THIS is why we work so hard. Yesterday was proof to me we are headed in the right direction.  We are doing the right thing!  Peanut is 4 years old and when he was diagnosed with Classic Autism 2 years ago, it was a hope that he would someday make friends of his own.    Now, it's a reality.  I never ever thought, that I would be the happiest mother in the world...holding back the tears.

God Bless,
Mommy Provost

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Autism Webinar offer.

Just a reminder that tonight is another wonderful webinar given by Anna Cromer  through Currclick!  Tonights webinar is called, "Understanding and Reducing Self-Stimulation : Autism Spectrum Disorders".  The webinar starts tonight at 8pm Eastern time.

Currclick was kind enough to offer a coupon code to our readers to view one of Anna Cromer's Autism webinars for free!  

Just use the coupon code AutismParent at checkout and get the webinar free!  (This offer expires once the webinar date has passed.  One coupon code per person.)

Check it out HERE on the currclick website.  To register!

A big thanks to Currclick and Anna Cromer for this offer! 

God Bless!
Mommy Provost

Monday, February 6, 2012

Back to business...

We are officially back to our crazy busy lives.  For a short time I started to forget that we led a crazy life.  Today we went back to a very familiar schedule with 3 therapy appointments, homeschool and running errands.  I'm honestly glad we are getting back on track.  We are in the process of setting a new ABA plan so I can do the therapy with both children.  We are also in the process of having Sassy evaluated by the public school system to find out what educational level she is at and also to have a second set of eyes to evaluate her skills. (A second opinion is never a terrible thing right?) Back to reality! (finally!)

"Praise the LORD.  Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever."
Psalm 106:1

God Bless!

Mommy Provost

Friday, February 3, 2012

Weekly Wrap-up: A little of this, a little of that.

Over the last 2 weeks we have been working on getting ourselves back on some sort of a schedule.  I've also been working on Sassy's transition out of Early Intervention and starting up a comprehensive ABA plan/program for both children.  Needless to say...busy as usual.  

Sassy's meltdowns have decreased to almost non existent.  I honestly believe is has to do with B6.  We started giving her an additional Magnesium supplement that also contains B6, and as soon as we did that the meltdowns began to dramatically decrease.  We have an appointment with our Naturopath next week so we can discuss the best course of action then.  In the mean time...she stays on the B6!

We have had 2 HUGE blessings in the past 2 week.  My husband was honored as a MVP through work (he works in IT), and won a free trip for 2 for a long weekend in San Diego in the end of March.  All I can say is, what a huge answer to prayer!  This will be a MUCH needed getaway for the 2 of us for sure!  Our second blessing is for our children.  We had been trying to figure out how we were going to afford ABA Therapy for both children.  I love the online program we are using but I feel I need more guidance and I need a professional to come in and help.  A family member recently offered to help to pay for ABA for the kids!  What another awesome blessing!  We were able to hire "Miss Cool" (Sassy's nick name for her...it just stuck).  Miss Cool was Sassy's ABA therapist through Early Intervention.  She is a talented ABA therapist and has also become a wonderful friend as well.  I'm honestly reeling from all of our recent blessings.  I am so thankful to God for all of the blessings he has givien us.

I have been MIA recently because I have been completing Sassy's extensive behavioral evaluation and updating Peanuts.  We still plan to use the Skills program, in conjunction with Miss Cool's visits.  She is going to help me figure out how to implement the goals into our lives.  As I was doing the assessments I noticed multiple updates to the program and have decided to work some of the goals into our homeschool curriculum....which means a new curriculum plan.  (More on that latter).  In the meantime I am continuing with our current homeschool plans.  

The last 2 weeks week we finished up on the letter W and began the letter P.
Peanut did a great job coloring, cutting and pasting for this memory verse activity!
We did a nice memory verse activity from 1+1+1=1 Raising Rock Stars Preschool.  You can find it HERE.

Peanut had a few days where he was in a wonderfully silly mood and kept playing little jokes on me!  Here he is with his undies on his head.  Speaking of undies, he has started to ask to use the potty!!!!!! (fingers and toes crossed!)
My little jokester!
The kids have been pretty disappointed with the lack of snow this winter so we took some time this week to do some winter crafts for our calender wall.  We made shaving cream paint (you can find the link for that HERE ).  The kids painted and made snowmen.  Then they decided that the pain should become finger paint.  A word of warning...this is 1/2 glue so if you let your kids dig in like I did...I would suggest a scraper for your table and an immediate bath after they are done!  All I can say is, oh my sensory activity!!!

I really liked how the pain dries soft and puffy.  We will definitely do this activity again!
Our finished snowmen.
 We also cut out snowflakes and painted them with colored glitter glue and added them to our calender wall.
Our snowflakes above the calender.
I am preparing to go back to a crazy schedule next week, by organizing our home some more.  I'll share that next week.  All in all, another great 2 weeks.  I FINALLY feel recovered from the Christmas/New Years season and I'm ready for us to get back to work!  I hope you all had a great couple of weeks as well!

God Bless!!!!
Mommy Provost

Where we have linked up this week:
Fun Stuff Fridays    For the Kids Friday