Thursday, December 16, 2010

Help With Rules

Yesterday my husband and I had an appointment with Elijah's Autism therapist to set up a behavior plan. Although we have house rules, we have never set up something explicit, and she suggested making an actual rules chart, and posting it around the house. So I need YOUR help! What rules do you have at home? How do you phrase them (positively, negatively?)? What consequences do you have if a rule is broken? What do you do it a rule is followed (success!)? Do you use pictures along with words? Tell me all about your rules system and how it's implemented! I need your help!

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Chewelry Winner!

The following commenter was chosen via as the winner of the Kid Companion chewable necklace:

Stephanie said...
We love the Chewelry too! My daughter is 4 1/2 and loves to chew pencils, her nails, whatever... We'd love the yellow heart necklace.

Congrats, Stephanie!

If you weren't chosen, don't fret, you can still purchase one here!

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Giveaway Reminder--Chewelry

Just a friendly reminder for those who have not yet entered my giveaway for a Kid Companion Chewable necklace. These necklaces are perfect for any child who chews their shirts, toys, hands, fingers, etc. Only two more days, so be sure to head over HERE for more details and to enter!

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Friday, December 10, 2010

New look, hope you like it!

A few months back I had the opportunity to create a blog layout for a blogging friend of mine. I created a new background (now featured on my blog!), which I loved, but as sometimes happens my blogging friend wasn't really feeling it. Well, I thought to myself, "I'm going to save that background for myself!"--and I did. This weekend, I finally had a free second (okay more like a few hours!) and decided to quickly put together a new look using my newish background. I hope you all like it! I still have a few more things that I want to add, and some kinks to work out, but for the most part it's done!

DIY Nativity

Can't take credit for this lovely printable, but my kids sure enjoyed this one! You can find the original idea over at Catholic Icing. I modified it in that I just cut out the pictures and taped them into tube shapes. I didn't have a single toilet paper tube, let alone 13 to complete the set. The I used an old graham cracker box for the stable, and just pasted it on. This is Little Bean's set. Miss O takes her sweet time when she colors, so hers isn't finished. Both of them were quite enchanted with this set! AND, it's free and low prep, so I liked it too! :)

Review: Good Morning, God


Apologia Press sent me a sweet little children's book entitled Good Morning, God for review. Good Morning, God is a high-quality, hard back, children's book designed for children one to eight years old. Each page features a day of the week, and includes a sweet little prayer. The back of the book has discussion questions that you can use to expand dialogue with your child about the reading, and enhance their prayer life. Each book is $14.00.

From their website:

"Good Morning, God is a story about a four-year-old boy as he goes through a week with his family. Ideally, this book will help your child fall in love with our heavenly Father by thinking about Him from sunrise to sunset. The hope is that this book will introduce children to the simple and wonderful ways we can worship God daily and inspire them to enjoy the Lord with their entire being all through the day. The prayers for each day are meant to encourage your child to consider his or her relationship with Jesus and respond with childlike faith."

This is a very sweet little book, and I adore the idea behind such a book--that even those who are small can have a big faith, and that it's up to us as parents to foster that excitement and love for God. You can read more about this book here. Apologia offers many products for homeschoolers, including a broad selection of curriculum.

Note: I received this product for free in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any way, and all opinions are mine.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Review AND Giveaway--Kid Companions Chewelry

*Stay tuned for a giveaway of this wonderful product at the end of this post!*

Many children seem to crave oral stimulation and they often meet this need in any way that they can--chewing their shirt sleeves or collar, mouthing toys, or biting their fingers or hands. Little Bean, my five year old, is one such child. After recognizing that his need to chew wasn't just a bad habit, but an actual sensory need, I began the search for something more sanitary for him to chew on.

A little research landed me on the website for Kid Companions, a family-owned company that markets safe, bpa, phthalate, pvc, lead and latex-free chewable jewelry and fidgets for children who chew. Kid Companion chewelry is great for children with Sensory Processing Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorders or related issues. They are also appropriate for any child who has a need to chew.

Each necklace comes with a colorful lanyard made of 100% organic cotton (or choose an un-dyed lanyard), and a built in "break away" chain, making it very safe for your child. The lanyards come in both 18 inch or 20 inch lengths to accommodate the size of your child. For children who prefer it, Kid Companions also sells their fidgets in a clip on variety rather than as a necklace.

Each fidget comes in either or a heart or circle shape and in a variety of colors to suit your child's preferences. Designed for children and teens, these attractive necklaces are very discreet and stylish, and yet very functional at the same time.

Kid Companions also offers labeling. You can list your child's name/contact information on the lanyard, allergy information, or any other important information for a small fee. You can also add cute logos to the lanyard, like a butterfly or a soccer ball. One necklace sells for $17.49 (Canadian dollars).
I contacted Kid Companions and they were gracious enough to send me one of their chewable necklaces for review. Little Bean chose a blue circle, and I chose to get the un-dyed lanyard, since he does tend to chew fabric. The necklace arrived very quickly and had his name fused to the lanyard.

We were very pleased with this product. Little Bean is able to take it on and off by himself, and it has almost completely eliminated his habit of chewing on his hands, toys, and clothing. The times that I have seen him chewing on other things, I am able to easily redirect him to the necklace. We couldn't be more satisfied with this product. It makes me feel good to know that the Kid Companion chewelry is completely non-toxic and safe for him to chew on. A bonus is that his necklace is stylish and discreet, so he can wear it in public and not draw attention to himself. Often, he slips it into his shirt and only takes it out when in use, but it does look like just a piece of jewelry, so this isn't necessary. I highly recommend this product and most likely will be buying more in the future.

Now for the exciting part! Kid Companions has agreed to a giveaway of one of their great products! YOU get to choose the color and style yourself--either a necklace or clip-on fidget, and your desired color and shape!

Here's how to enter:

1) Mandatory entry: Visit the Kid Companion website and decide which color and style you would choose if you were to win this giveaway. Come back and leave a comment telling what features you would choose. Be sure to leave your contact information (email) in your comment.

2) For a second optional entry, blog about this giveaway, directing your readers back to this post. Come back and leave the direct url to your post about this giveaway. If you do not blog, but want a second entry, post about this giveaway on a message board that you frequent, directing them to this post. Then come back and leave a comment with the direct link to the post you have made about my giveaway. If you do not know how to do this, contact me and I will help you! Be sure to leave your contact information in this entry as well.

This giveaway will run from December 8th, 2010 to December 15th, 2010. Up to 2 entries per person. I will close the comments on the night of the 15th and choose a random winner the following day. I will contact you if you won the giveaway and then send your order and address information directly to Kid Companions who will ship directly to you. I will also post on my blog about the winner. If you fail to leave contact information in your comment, I will choose a different winner. If you fail to respond to me within 3 days of my contacting you, I will choose a different winner. If you do not leave a direct link (link to your exact post) for your second entry to either your blog post or message board post, I will not include that entry in the giveaway.

Good luck!

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are mine.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Little Bean and ASD update

First I just want to say that I know this blog has taken a different direction lately with a) all the stuff about Autism, and b) all the reviews, and I know some of that may not be of interest to my long time readers, who probably came here more for the homeschooling and crafty stuff. Have no fear, this is only a stage that my blog and my family are going through, so it dominates my blog right now. But once we get into a routine with these new changes, most likely this blog will return to a more crafty/homeschooling state! :)

Things are moving right along with Little Bean's new diagnosis. We visited an Occupational Therapist last week to talk a bit about his sensory issues. Little Bean's sensory issues are fairly mild, but the ones that concern me the most are the auditory ones (repetitive speech, easily distractable and aversion to loud noises) and the tactile ones (toe-walking, pulling away from hugs and physical touch unless it's on his terms). The OT suggested that I keep a log of all the sensory issues as they come up to see if there is a pattern. She also gave him a "sensory diet"; basically activities I can try with him to help make him less sensory defensive. One was to put on calming music to help with distractability. After a particularly exciting meeting, Little Bean was in sensory overload in the car--tons of repetitive speech, humming, singing, just a bit hyper over all. I put in a quiet CD and I mean, it was like instant silence. It was so weird. I am going to try using ear phones and classical during school time because he is highly distractable by any tiny noise while working. In any case, I am finding that he is very in tune with his auditory sense.

We visited his social skills group last week as well to just learn more about the program and see how he did with the other kids. There were only two others his age this time (well actually a bit older), but honestly, it was like seeing three Little Bean's playing together. It totally confirmed his diagnosis to me because these other kids were so much like him, it was uncanny. The therapists are all trained in ABA (basically behaviorism), and they will do an assessment on him and create goals for him like eye contact, greeting others, sharing, etc. He was apprehensive at first to join in, but quickly realized that it was a safe environment and had so much fun there. It was so good to see him have fun, and I know with the therapist's help he is going to learn so much about social interaction as well. I can tell already that this particular group is going to be good for him!

He will go for a 1:1 social skills training session next week, and then the following we will be doing IQ testing on him. Why IQ? Well, normally the school district would do an IQ test to kind of gage how he learns, but since he is homeschooled, we will do it through our insurance. It will be helpful to me I think, to know how he learns and I can better present lessons to him this way. Both his IQ stuff and his social skills training will be with the same therapist who diagnosed him, so I am really thankful for that because Little Bean seemed comfortable with her, and I personally think that she understood him very well.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The grumpy pie watched a mug.

We got this Silly Rhymes game for Little Bean last Christmas, and now at 5.5 he is just starting to get into it. We picked this game up at the bookstore for around $8 to 10 dollars. On of the things I like about this particular set is that the parts of speech are color coded AND will only fit together when correct grammar is used. Each part of speech has particularly shaped edges to make this happen.
Little Bean has had a lot of fun making silly sentences up with this game and loves the rhyming aspect. Recently he did a huge run on sentence that stretched across the living room floor using the game pieces. We haven't actually played by the rules yet, but it does come with different variations of playing a turn-taking style game with the cards. This game would be great not only for beginning readers, but for teaching rhyming and parts of speech.
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