Emmalee’s Art-Abration was a Blast!

Emma and Vivian were blessed enough to be invited by a friend to Emmalee’s Art-Abration, hosted by Sherry’s Craftastic Cottage, this Art-Abration is an annual celebration event for families of children with special needs.  The goal was for the children to enjoy the gift of art and to build friendships in an inclusive environment and is a part of  Art-Ability, an inclusive art program for children of all abilities in grades K-12. 

Who is this Emmalee you ask?  Well, Emmalee is the daughter of Wayne and Tina, the founders of the Ability Tree, Florida.  And this day is to honor her and the gift from God from she is along with every single other child that He blesses us with, no matter their ability level!!!

Dad took Emma and Vivi this time to the event, so I missed out on the art fun and am telling the story second hand.  But apparently, it was loads and loads of fun!  Emma, Vivian, and all the kiddos there got to make their own paintings, and my girls came home with absolutely gorgeous snowman paintings(as you can see below)!  They must have had a good time because Vivi had enough paint on her in various places that she needed to take a quick shower to get all cleaned up before meeting up with Grandma and Grandpa for lunch (don’t worry, it washes of the kiddos and the clothes!).  Emma said she fun paining too, of course! 

A great BIG THANK YOU to Sherry’s Craftastic Cottage and Ability Tree for a wonderful event that my little girls thoroughly enjoyed and my hubby got to have some Daddy — Daughter time at!!!


We Visited Santa’s Workshop!

Over the weekend we were able to visit the 4th Annual Santa’s Workshop, sponsored by The Inspire Foundation, whose mission is to bring music and the arts into the lives of those with special needs, hosted by Trinity New Life Church, visit lots of fun activity tables that the children thoroughly enjoyed, and see Santa himself!

Sponsored by The Inspire Foundation, whose mission is to bring music and the arts into the lives of those with special needs, we were able to go to the 4th Annual Santa’s Workshop hosted by Trinity New Life Church, visit lots of fun activity tables that the children thoroughly enjoyed, and see Santa himself!

The activity tables areas included “sensory snow,” which actually felt cool to the touch, and we all enjoyed touching and feeling the “snow,” trying to figure out what it was made out of; a station where you made your own snowglobe in a plastic sandwhich baggie; a pipecleaner station where the kids were encouraged to use their imagination and make shapes with the pipcleaners; a fun playdough station; a station where you made a snowman our of construction paper; and more.  There were even GFCF (gluten free casein free) snacks there, a popular diet that helps many ASD children! 

…And then, of course, there was Sensitive Santa!  He and his team of elves were awesome!  Very patient with our entire family, allowing the children a few moments to get comfortable with Santa before the picture taking began.  We all high-fived Santa, and told him what we wanted for Christmas, and Emma told him she wanted a live pig!!!  Oh my goodness, girl!!! The first picture the look a little shocked, but I think the second one came out absolutely perfectly! And I love it!  Thank you, Santa, and the Inspire Foundation for a frameable moment to remember for years to come!!!

A Thanks and Giving American Indian Heritage Month

Thanks and Giving during American Indian Heritage Month – a Personal View

My View on November

November is traditionally, as most people know it, the month of the year, where we remember to be Thankful for the blessings in our lives, when all too often, we forget that we are blessed with so much.  November is also American Indian Heritage Month.  And as we close the chapter on this November of Two Thousand Eighteen, I would like to offer a different, yet poignant view on Thanksgiving than what you are accustomed to.

American Indian Heritage Month

November was first declared American Indian Heritage Month by President George H. W. Bush back in August 1990, and it was a landmark Bill honoring America’s Tribal people.  The Bill and the month aim to provide a platform for the Native peoples in America to share their culture, traditions, music, ways, and lifestyle.  Further, the goal is to Native people the opportunity to express to their community current concerns.

It seems so odd to me that someone would choose to make November American Indian Heritage Month. Although I celebrate Thanksgiving, I celebrate it in terms of being thankful for what my family and I have, not the traditional Thanksgiving holiday.  Especially because what we have come to know as the story of Thanksgiving does not include factual Native American history.  Thanksgiving, has become a period of remembering and mourning for Native Americans, of how a gift of generosity to strangers became theft of land, corn, and the death of so many Native people from disease.

My American Indian Heritage

Since it is American Indian Heritage Month, I’d like to take a moment a share a little about my heritage and how my family keeps the culture and traditions alive.  I am a descendant of the Oglala Lakota Sioux tribe, which are located in the plains of the North and South Dakota.  I can remember as a very small girl going to Pow Wows going to Pow Wows with my parents, listening to the colorfully dressed men singing and chanting and the deep sound of the beating drum.  The sound was magical, calming to me, even as a child.  The fancy dancers would be walking around or dancing in their competitions – their costumes were amazing and perfectly made, the perfect lines of beads, fringe, feathers, shades of leather and suede.  To this day I still visit Pow Wows and watch the fancy dancers in awe of their costumes and incredible footwork. I enjoy walking from stand to stand, looking and perusing the handmade crafts, jewelry, clothing, knick knacks, art, sculptures, and other items for sale from peoples of various tribes.
 


Butterscotch Cinnamon Pie!

Jenny’s
Butterscotch Cinnamon Pie!

…that Butterscotch Cinnamon Pie that Jennifer made was quite good, so I thought I would share the recipe….

Ingredients

  • pie crust (I used a graham crust)
  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup salted butter
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 ½ cups whole milk
  • ½ cup butterscotch chips

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks together until smooth.  Then whisk in milk and stir until smooth.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat, then add the dark brown sugar.  Bring mixture to a boil, whisking constantly for 3 minutes.
  3. Add cream to the saucepan mixture, whisking thoroughly. 
  4. Slowly whisk in egg mixture.
  5. Add cinnamon and bring to boil, whisking constantly.
  6. Once thickened, remove from heat and add butterscotch chips.
  7. Pour the filling into the shell and smooth the top.
  8. Place the pie on a cooling rack for an hour and then put into the refrigerator to cool completely.
  9. Serve in slices and garnish with whipped cream.

Wishing you a Very Blessed Thanksgiving!

From our table to yours, I’d like to wish you a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving, surrounded by those you love most.  This Thanksgiving, we kept things more simple than we usually do, as the kids have been sick, and I spent the majority of the day yesterday in the Emergency Room yesterday with flank pain from a passing kidney stone a kidney infection.  Nonetheless, I still wanted to put forth the effort and try to make Thanksgiving dinner for my family.

For our Thanksgiving Dinner this year, I made a spiral baked honey ham, creamy mashed potatoes, honey butter glazed carrots, brown sugar basted brussel sprouts, and homemade rolls.  For dessert, Jennifer made for the most part on her own a butterscotch cinnamon pie and vanilla frosted cupcakes.  Everything came out very yummy!  I was impressed, but my body was quite sore afterward.

That’s our table, all set, with our Thanks and Giving Tree in the middle.  I’ll be writing about this tree at the end of November when all the leaves are filled in!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Poppy Children’s Craft for Veteran’s Day

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For the upcoming Veteran’s Day, I came up with this simple, easy and fun craft you can do with your kids, and give to local veterans as a token of your appreciation!

These red poppies akin those found in the official poster for Veterans Day and the infamous poem Flanders Field by John McRae, written during World War I.

Red Poppy Craft Supplies:

  • Red Cupcake Liners
  • Black Craft Paper (or construction paper) circles
  • Green Pipestems
  • Green or Yellow Brads, alternatively, Green Buttons
  • Red Markers
  • Scissors
  • Nail to make hole through paper for brad

Step 1:  Take two Red Cupcake Liners (the ones shown here are mini cupcake liners).  First liner, outline the edge of the liner with red marker (I used a Sharpie).  Second liner, cut about half an inch off the edge, and then outline the edge with red marker, the same way as the first.

Step 2:  Cut a piece of the black craft paper in a circular shape (not perfect) so that it is just a bit smaller than the inside edge of the bottom part of the liner.

Step 3: Stack your pieces – Whole liner, trimmed liner, black circle.

Step 4: Pierce with nail. Then add decorative brad and/or green button.

Step 6:  Fold a Pipe Stem in half and twist around back of brad.

And your finished red field poppy! Very pretty!

Here are a few of our poppies. We plan on passing them out at a local nursing home to the resident veterans tomorrow afternoon!

i hope you enjoy this fun and patriot craft.

A Little Veteran’s Day History

“During National Veterans and Military Families, we salute the brave and dedicated patriots who have worn the uniform of the United States, and celebrate the extraordinary military families who selfless service and sacrifice make our military the finest in the world.”  President Donald J. Trump

As we kick off the second annual Veterans and Military Families month,  and Veteran’s Day approaches, I think it would be appropriate to look at the history behind Veteran’s Day.

What is Veteran’s Day?

18poster_lowresVeteran’s Day, which is a Federal Holiday always held on November November 11th, is a day set to honor the all the men and women who are serving or have served honorably in the military, during war or peacetime..   This year, it will be observed on Monday, November 12th since the 11th falls on a Sunday.  2018 commemorates the centenntial of Armistice Day (originating from the word armistice, or when warring parties agree to stop fighting), recognizing the end of World War I when the hostilities ceased at 11am on November 11th, 1918 (better known as  the 11th hour of the 11th day, of the 11th month).

In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson prolaimed November 11th to be called “Armistice Day” and Armistice Day Day was declared national holiday in 1938 and it was a dedicated only to honor World War I veterans. vetday

In 1947, Raymond Weeks, a World War II veteran organized a National Veterans Day parade in Birmingham, Alabama to honor and recognize all veterans of all wars.  This is the celebration that led Congress to change Armistice Day to Veterans Days in 1954 and to recogize all U.S. veterans.

However, Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill in 1968, moving the holiday to the fourth Monday in October, and the law went into effect in 1971.  President Gerald Ford later returned Veterans Day to November 11th due to the important historical significance of the date in 1975.

Our Veterans Today

Here are some facts about the Veteran population of the U.S:

  • 16.1M living veterans served during at least one war.
  • 5.2M Veterans served during peacetime.
  • 2M Veterans are women.
  • 5.5M Veterans served during the Vietnam War.
  • Of the 16M Americans who served during World War II, about 558,00 are still alive.
  • 2M Veterans served during the Korean War.
  • 6M Veterans served during peacetime.
  • In 2014, three states have more than 1M veterans among their population: California (1.8M), Florida (1.6M) and Texas (1.7M)
  • In 1930, the VA health care sytem included 54 hospitals.  Today it has 171 medical centers; over 350 outpatient, community and outreach clinics; 126 nursing home units; and 35 live-in care facilities.

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Halloween at Our House This Year

We have a tradition at our house of coming home that on Halloween, we get everyone home from school, get pizzas, then go trick or treating!  However, this year ended up ittle different than year’s past…

45288717_1163301887161933_8676536963936813056_oWe had a funky cough going through the house, but it was never a full cold or sickness for anyone, just a funky cough…. well, until Shawn seeemed to get sick.  Emma and Vivi already had it for  days, so they were no longer contagious. But poor Shawn got sick and got ssiicckk.  So Wednesday morning I took him to the pediatrician, and it was confirmed, yep…RSV and an ear infection.  He spent the majority of the night in bed with me with a fever and a ratchety cough.  And I was to be prepared for it to get worse, I was told?  Aww, I felt so bad for my poor little man.

So, since I had to take my sick little dude to the pediatrician, Shawn took off work and took Emma and Vivian to school.  I was a bit bummed because I was going to try to see Vivi in her Good Character Parade at school.  But as I was told, Vivi refused to let her teacher put her costume on her anyway.  Ah, my strong willed children, at it again.  We had no problem getting that costume on her at home though, so…?

After getting my Baby Shawn home from the pediatrician, I had a few minutes, and since Shawn was home to pick up Emma and Vivi from school, I desperately wanted to finish my little project for Vivi.  I wanted to make little cards for her to give in exchange for treats, since she is unable to speak.  The benefit to the cards, hopefully, is bifold – it reforces the use of cards in exchange for a preferred item (in this case, candy) and it will hopefully spread the public awareness about autism.  The card reads “Happy Halloween, I have Autism which can make it hard to speak.  Please accept this card as a Thank You for the Treat!” If you are interested in using these cards for your little one, please contact me and I can send you the template!

Since Baby Shawn was sick, he stayed home with me and Jenny, who decided to dress up a little herself in cosplay as Undertale Sans.  Dad took Emma, who dressed up as a very cute bee and Vivi the good fairy to a Trunk of Treat.  Good thing I had backup to help me answer the door at home, I don’t know what I would have done if I was by byself, the whopping two times the door bell rang.

We had pizza that night, but not order out, I got some from the grocery store and baked them in oven.  I actually prefer that over the delivery, as its not nearly as greasy, and you can add a few toppings if you want, and the best reason, its cheaper!

Happy Halloween!

 

Halloween Party at the Y!

We love our love our Hernando YMCA.  Of course it’s a great place to go if you want to workout or join a group exercise class, but really the YMCA is so much more.  Our local Y has a great Kid Zone that our little ones enjoy playing in, and that actually gives us a little bit of respite if needed, if we’re not in the mood to workout or hang by the pool that day.  But the Y also has a TON of other stuff too — a variety of classes from arts and crafts to nutrition classes to special events for teens on Friday Nights.

But this was a special Halloween Party for the kiddos, with lots of activities, a haunted house, and fun, fun, fun.  Even though I wasn’t able to attend with my littles, the report I heard back from Dad and the children was that it was a fun, fun time and definently worth the experience!  Here’s the “best” pic before they left for their Hallowen at Y adventure! (yes, that was the best one..)

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