Tasty Tuesdays: Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Pork

Before I became a mom, my idea of cooking dinner was microwaving a Lean Cuisine, lol 🙂  But now I realize how important having family meals are.  Over the last year I’ve really grown to like cooking for my family.  I thought I’d share some of the yummy recipes I make.  Tonight I made Crock Pot BBQ Pulled Pork for sandwiches.  They are super tender and delicious.  Even Trevor likes this!

What you need:

  • Pork Roast
  • Root Beer (the secret ingredient!)
  • BBQ Rub (or any spices you desire)
  • BBQ Sauce

Put the roast in the Crock Pot and rub with your spices.  I use a smoky BBQ rub.

Then pour in the Root Beer.

Cover and cook on low all day.

When the roast is fork tender, remove and let rest on a cutting board.  Drain the Root Beer from the Crock Pot.

Shred the roast with two forks.

Put the shredded pork back into the Crock Pot and add the BBQ Sauce.

Stir it all together and cook on low for another hour or two.

Serve on toasted buns.  Top with cheese, and if you want, some spinach leaves.

Enjoy!

Make-It Monday: Let it Snow and Reindeer Magnet

Since Trevor enjoyed making Our Fall Tree so much, we decided to to a winter project with contact paper.

What you need:

  • contact paper
  • snowflakes
  • glitter

First I cut a piece of contact paper off the roll and taped it to our back sliding door (sticky side out).  Then I emptied some big foam snowflake coasters and small foam snowflake table scatter onto a chair.

The next step is to “Let it Snow” – stick those snowflakes on the paper!

When Trevor decided he was done adding snowflakes to the project, we went to the table and got out the glitter:

Shake, Shake Shake!

Trevor actually took the cap off of the tube of glitter and dumped it all over the contact paper:

Whoa, Look at This Mess!

I think the one good thing about being a kid with developmental delays is that when you take the cap off the glitter and dump it all over the table, yourself, and the floor is that you don’t get in trouble.  Instead your mom applauds your amazing fine motor skills!  🙂

When he used up all of the glitter I put another piece of contact paper on top so that all of the glitter and snowflakes would stay on.  Then I cut a piece of ribbon, added a couple clothes pins, and hung it up in our window with a suction cup.

Let it Snow

As usual, the finished product turned out great!

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The other Christmas art project we did this weekend was to make a Reindeer magnet out of Trevor’s handprints and footprint.  This project isn’t as interactive as a lot of the ones we do since Trevor obviously can’t trace with a crayon or cut with scissors yet.  But there’s something about handprint art that makes a Mama happy 🙂  We did this last year and it’s neat to see when you look at last year’s magnet how much he’s grown.

What you need:

  • Hands and a foot 😉
  • Crayon
  • Paper
  • Felt (you could just use the paper, but this is more fun!)
  • Permanent marker
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Googly eyes
  • Glitter pen
  • Magnet

First, trace both of your child’s hands (for the antlers) and one of his feet (for the reindeer’s head)

Then cut out the tracings of the hands and feet.  These will be your templates.  (If you’re using just paper instead of felt you can skip this next step and simply use the paper cut-outs for the reindeer’s antlers and head.)

Lay the templates on the felt and trace them with a permanent marker.  To make the reindeer’s nose, trace a circle onto some felt (I used a quarter as my template for this)

Once everything has been traced, cut all your pieces out.  Then glue the antlers to the top of the head piece (where your child’s toes would be), and glue the nose to the bottom of the head piece (where your child’s heal would be).  Also, glue on the googly eyes.  Then, using a glitter pen, write your child’s name on one antler and the year on the other.

Finally, glue a flat magnet to the back of the reindeer and display proudly on your fridge.

I put this year’s reindeer magnet next to the one I made last year.  I can’t believe how much he’s grown in just one year!  I’m planning to do this project for many more years to come so I’ll be able to watch his growth through this fun Christmas project. Hopefully in a few years he’ll be able to help me cut the pieces out and be more involved in making his reindeer magnets.

Sensational Saturday: Christmas Sensory Bin

As I’ve said before, sensory bins are a great teaching tool.  They also really help kids focus.  After some guided sensory play Trevor’s balance is better and his words are clearer.  It’s amazing how much a good sensory diet can help a kid!

Sensory bins full of beans and rice are great, but they can get old after awhile.  So since the Christmas season is upon us, we decided to create a Christmas sensory bin 🙂

First, you need to assemble some supplies:

For the “snow” I used a couple bags each of iridescent tinsel and white paper shreds.  Then I added in some Christmas trinkets:  Christmas-themed erasers; small bows; plastic snowman and penguin; jingle bells; round, plastic ornaments; shiny, present ornaments, pom-poms, plastic candy canes and a cup for filling/dumping/pretend play.  I love that these things are all different sizes and textures and that some reflect light and make noise.  I added everything to an under-the-bed storage container, and there you have it, a Christmas sensory bin:

What’s the next step?  Oh yeah, have fun!

This was Trevor’s favorite sensory bin to date.  He loved it so much, he wanted to get in it:

I am Thankful

We all have things in our lives we wish we could change.  But life isn’t that easy and there are some things that just are.  I truly believe that it’s how you respond to the ups and downs of life that determines your happiness.  Like the Jimmy Buffett song says, “some of it’s magic, some of it’s tragic, but I had a good life all the way”.  Do I like that my son has to struggle?  Of course not.  I would move heaven and earth if it meant he wouldn’t have to work so hard to do simple tasks.  But just because I wish things were different, doesn’t mean I can’t be grateful for all of the things this journey has given me.

I am thankful that developmental delays have changed my perspective on what achievement is.  If Trevor was typically developing I’d probably only get really thrilled about those first steps and first words.  Now I get that same sense of pride for every little inchstone.  When he makes a new sound, or a new facial expression, or removes a sock, or stands up.  I know how hard he works, and that makes everything he does even more amazing.

I am thankful that his SPD has given me the opportunity to discover what really makes him tick.  I am more in tune with his wants and needs than I would be if he didn’t have trouble with sensory integration because I have to be.

I am thankful for all of the friends I’ve had the pleasure of making as a direct result of this journey.

I am thankful for my son’s therapists and that they have his best interest in mind all of the time.  Because of the extra challenges he faces, he has more people who truly love and care for him.

I am thankful that my husband is in this journey with me.  You can choose to let developmental delays tear your marriage apart, or you can choose to let it bring you closer together.  You can choose to fight for your child as a united front, and to come out stronger because of it.

But mostly I am thankful for my son.  His smile lights up my life, just as it lights up his face.  I am one lucky mama, no matter if he catches up to his peers or will always have to struggle.  Do I wish his life were easier?  Of course.  But I wouldn’t change him for anything.  Because he is mine and he is perfect, just they way he is.

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And it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a handprint turkey placemat…

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Make-It Monday: Our Fall Tree and Leaf Painting

Trevor and I do a lot of fun crafts, especially around the holidays.  Most of the ideas for the crafts we do I come up with on my own.  However, this latest project was inspired by the blog Play At Home Mom.

On the Play At Home Mom site this tree was done a little differently, but this is what worked for us.  I put fake leaves (thank you Dollar Tree!) in a bowl, taped a tree cut out of brown construction paper to the backside of some clear contact paper, and then taped the contact paper (sticky side out) to our back sliding glass door.  Then I let Trevor go to town and stick the leaves on the contact paper.

Trevor had a lot of fun doing this project.  He loves playing with stickers, so this was kind of like that.  Sadie came into the kitchen to check things out, and Trevor decided that she should have fun doing this craft too.  He kept trying to put the leaves in her mouth, lol 🙂

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Keeping with this fall crafting theme, Trevor and I also did another project involving leaves.  We went out by our trees and collected some real leaves.  Trevor loves putting things in his pumpkin pail he used to trick-or-treat with, so we used that as our collection bucket.

Then we brought the leaves inside, dried them, and pressed them.  I put some paint on a paper plate, and let Trevor use the leaves as his paint brush.  He thought it was great!  He really enjoyed using a different object to paint with.

His picture turned out beautifully of course 🙂

Sensational Saturday: Foamtastic Fun!

Sensory play is important for all kids, not just kids who have trouble with sensory integration like Trevor does.  The best way for kids to learn new things is by exploring their environment and using all of their senses.  Experiencing new sensations helps build those synaptic connections in their brains.  We do a lot of sensory play, and I thought I’d share some of the fun things we do.

This activity helps develop the tactile sense.  You can do this with shaving cream, or if you have sensitivities to fragrances like I do, foam soap is a great alternative.  We use Mr. Bubble foam soap.  Since it’s designed with kids in mind the fragrance is a lot less overpowering than shaving cream.

Trevor had a blast doing this!  He was a little unsure about the new texture at first, so I brought out his Little People toys to put in the foam.  When we do a new activity I always try to incorporate something he’s already comfortable with into it.

His smiles say it all!  He loved vroom-vrooming his cars through the foam, rolling the animals around in it, and having me squirt the foam on top of his toys.  You should definitely try this activity with your little ones 🙂

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things: Morning Edition

To say that I am not a morning person is the understatement of the century.  I do miss being able to sleep in, but since I became a mom, mornings aren’t as bad as they used to be.  They still come way too early, but there are just so many wonderful things about them now that it’s hard to be too grumpy.

Like when you go into his room and see this smiling face 🙂  He is the polar opposite of his mama – he is always happy when he wakes up!

Or how can you be grumpy when nearly every morning, as soon as I undress him from his PJs, he trots his little naked booty over to his bookshelf to find the 2 bedtime stories we read the night before.  It makes me feel like he enjoyed listening to those stories so much that he can’t wait to relieve that experience.  Melts my heart everytime.

He’s pointing to Max, of “Where the Wild Things Are” fame.  He loves that book!  Maybe because he relates to being a Wild Thing, haha 😉

And I love those mornings where we don’t have to run out the door in a hurry, and we can go outside and enjoy the swingset.   One of Trevor’s favorite activities is swinging.  I love that I can sit on the swing next to him in my sweats, drinking my coffee, all the while making him the happiest boy alive by pushing him on his swing.

What is your favorite part of the morning?