In Memoriam

My Papa died tonight.  He was an amazing man and I was lucky enough to call him my grandfather.  I will always remember his wit and charm, his love of family and sports, as well as his perfectly coiffed hair 🙂

I was fortunate enough to visit with him this morning before his failing lungs and the morphine took his voice.  He told me I was a wonderful mother, and I told him it was because I had great role models.

As I looked into my son’s eyes tonight I was filled with both sadness and hope.  Sadness that my son will not remember his Papa.  But hope that a new generation will continue on and grow into a man as equally amazing as my Papa was.  It’s corny, but as I look at Trevor and grieve the loss of my Papa, I’m reminded of the “Lion King” and the great circle of life.  If it wasn’t for death we wouldn’t have life.  I hope that if I remember that then the sadness won’t overcome me.  And I know too that he is at peace now.  He can breathe again and is looking down at his family and smiling.

I love you Papa.

Christmas 2011 - So lucky we could spend it with Papa and Nan

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Therapy Thursday: Bubble Wrap!

Here’s a new post, just in time for the holidays.  You know all the bubble wrap that your packages get shipped in or your new gifts are wrapped in?  Well don’t throw it out!  Reuse it.  Your child will benefit from the fine motor therapy and the planet will benefit from some recycling.  Well, at least until all of the bubbles are popped and it goes into the trash anyway 🙂  Popping bubble wrap is a great activity to help strengthen the hand muscles.  Also, it’s a lot of fun and very satisfying to hear that bubble go “POP!”

Tasty Tuesday: Goldfish Cracker Crumb Chicken Strips

This is for all the moms out there who have a kid who LOVES something one day, and the next day could care less about it.  For awhile Trevor was really into Goldfish crackers as his go-to snack food, so I bought a giant container of them.  Of course once you buy the value-size package of anything your kid is bound to go on a strike of that food/toy/activity.  Since the goldfish crackers were reaching their expiration date I searched online and found this great recipe using crushed goldfish crackers.  And the bonus of using soon-to-be-stale food is that this recipe only has 3 ingredients.  Now that’s my kind of meal 🙂

What you need:

  • Goldfish crackers (about 2 cups crushed)
  • Ranch dressing
  • Chicken breasts (or chicken tenders)

How to make it:

  1. Pour ranch dressing into a shallow dish.
  2. Crush goldfish crackers and put those in another shallow dish.
  3. Cut chicken breasts into strips (if you’re using tenders you can obviously skip this step).
  4. Coat a chicken strip in the ranch dressing, shaking off the excess.
  5. Coat the dressing-covered strip with the goldfish cracker crumbs.
  6. Place chicken in a greased baking dish.
  7. Repeat steps 4 -6 until all chicken has been used.
  8. Put baking dish in a preheated 400 degree oven for 20 – 25 minutes, or until done.

These chicken strips were so delicious.  I usually take  pictures of what I’m cooking if I’m going to blog about the recipe, but Trevor was distracting me while I was cooking, and there were no leftovers to take pictures of.  You’ll just have to trust that I made this recipe without photo evidence, haha.  They were super yummy 🙂

Make-It Monday: Styrofoam Christmas Tree and Paper Plate Wreath

We made several more Christmas crafts over the last couple of weeks.  I thought I’d share 2 of our favorite ones with you 🙂

Styrofoam Christmas Tree

What you need:

For the tree:

  • Styrofoam cone
  • Green paint
  • Pine needles (optional)
  • Green glitter

For the star:

  • Foil
  • Cardboard
  • Glue
  • Toothpick

For the skirt:

  • Felt (or paper)
  • Stickers

How to make it:

The tree:

  1. Paint Styrofoam cone with green paint (we used our hands and some cut Christmas tree branches to do this)
  2. Add the pine needles and glitter while paint is still wet.
  3. When dry, add star and set on tree skirt.

The star:

  1. Draw a star shape on cardboard.
  2. Cut out.
  3. Wrap and glue foil around toothpick.
  4. Add glue to one side of cardboard star and stick to foil sheet.
  5. Put foil-covered toothpick on top of the other side of the cardboard star.
  6. Add glue to second side of star/toothpick and top with foil.
  7. Cut out finished star shape.

Tree skirt:

  1. Cut a circle out of felt (or use paper).
  2. Decorate with stickers, or whatever else you wish to use.

It makes a great centerpiece!

—–

Paper Plate Wreath

What you need:

  • Paper plate
  • Glue
  • Green tissue paper, torn into pieces
  • Stickers
  • Glitter
  • Ribbon

How to make it:

  1. Cut the inner part of the paper plate out, leaving the outer ring intact.
  2. Spread some glue on the paper plate ring.
  3. Press the green tissue paper pieces into the glue (you can do this one at a time, or follow Trevor’s lead and dump the container of tissue paper pieces on your plate and cover it in one fell swoop).
  4. Once the tissue paper has been glued down, add your stickers (or any other decorations you’d like.  Trevor was only interested in stickers the day we did this.  I also set out pom poms and tinsel, but he wasn’t interested in those).
  5. Add some more glue over the top of your decorated wreath, and sprinkle glitter over the top.
  6. Once dry, hang with a ribbon.

Therapy Thursday: Wheelbarrow Walk

As I’ve said before, one of Trevor’s biggest obstacles in gaining new gross motor skills is his lack of core strength.  His poor trunk control even affects gaining new fine motor skills, because when he’s sitting his body is working so hard just to sit that he has a hard time being precise with his hands.  One of the exercises we are doing to help strengthen his trunk is the Wheelbarrow Walk.  The Wheelbarrow Walk is also helpful for kids with sensory issues, as it helps stimulate the vestibular and proprioceptive senses.  I hold Trevor at his hips to do this, as his trunk control is so poor.  But as he gets stronger (or if your child has better core strength than mine), you can support him  further down the legs – at the thighs, knees, shins, ankles, and eventually feet, as control improves.

Tasty Tuesday: Peppermint Bark

With Christmas less than 2 weeks away I was looking for a yummy recipe to make holiday gifts for all of Trevor’s teachers and therapists.  They work hard and are so helpful that I wanted to show my appreciation.  I found this recipe for peppermint bark and decided it would make a great gift.

What You Need:

  • 1 bag chocolate chips (I used a bag each of dark and white chocolate)
  • 5 candy canes, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. peppermint extract

How to Make It:

  1. Melt the chocolate chips according to package directions.
  2. Stir in the peppermint extract.
  3. Spread the melted chocolate onto a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper.
  4. Crush the candy canes (I put them in 2 Ziploc baggies and pounded them with an ice cream scoop.  Great therapy, BTW!)
  5. Sprinkle the crushed candy on top.
  6. Place in freezer for 5 minutes, or until hardened.
  7. Break into pieces.

Melted chocolate…yum!

Chocolate spread, candy canes sprinkled, and ready to go in the freezer:

The chocolate has hardened and it’s ready to be broken into bark:

All broken up and ready to be devoured, I mean boxed up and given away 🙂

Don’t forget about the white chocolate peppermint bark too:

I also made peanut butter bark by melting Reese’s peanut butter chips and sprinkling crushed Reese’s on top:

I boxed the bark up into those reusable plastic containers that lunch meat comes in.  I separated the layers of bark with more waxed paper.

And remember those Cinnamon Dough Ornaments we made?  Well I painted the backs of some of them with red acrylic paint and wrote thank you messages on them with silver pen for all 6 of the people on Trevor’s team that I wanted to thank (those are his PT, OT, SLP, teacher, swim teacher, and FRC).

Then I wrapped the boxed bark in plastic tissue paper (that Trevor picked out) and attached the cinnamon dough ornaments with ribbon.

Everyone loved their gifts and they were fairly simple to make.  The peppermint bark was so delicious.  I’m definitely going to make more so that we can enjoy some before the holidays are over!

Sensational Saturday: Cinnamon Dough Ornaments

You gotta love when you get fun therapy assignments, and from 2 different therapists to boot!  Trevor is supposed to work with different types of dough to help build up his fine motor strength as well as improve hand-eye coordination and work on sensory integration.  Since Christmas is almost here and he loved making the Salt Dough Ornaments, we decided to make Cinnamon Dough Ornaments as well.  Trevor loved this project!  And he ate so much dough, he smelled like cinnamon for hours afterward, lol 🙂

What you need:

  • Cinnamon
  • Applesauce

Yep, 2 ingredients is really all you need!

How to Make It:

  1. Mix together equal parts applesauce and cinnamon until a dough forms.
  2. Roll or pat the dough flat.
  3. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters.
  4. Poke a hole in the top of each one so that you can hang them.
  5. Place on a cookie sheet and let dry.  (Ours took a few days to dry)

These are so easy to make!  To make one cookie sheet full of ornaments we used one cup of applesauce and one cup of cinnamon.

Tasting the applesauce:

Watching the cinnamon get measured out:

Tasting the cinnamon:

Playing with the dough:

Smelling the dough (it smells soooo yummy!):

Making ornaments:

Enjoying making a mess with the dough:

After adding some sprinkles, we let them dry:

When they were dry I added ornaments hooks and hung them on the tree with Trevor’s salt dough ornaments:

Trevor had so much fun doing this, we might even make more before Christmas is here!