Menu - Week of 8/27

Summer's winding down and we are gearing up for school in our casa!  C heads to First Grade next Monday, while M has a couple more weeks to chill before starting the 3-Day Three's at her preschool.  I am still hammering out the girls' Fall extra-curriculars, which will obviously factor into how much time I have to cook.  I do try hard to put a home-cooked meal on the table 3 days a week (and then we plug in the usual well-chosen convenience and faster options dishes, like pre-marinated meats, scrambled eggs, pastas, etc.).  My slow cooker, which has been collecting dust in a cabinet since May, is about to see the light of day again!  Here's what I am thinking for next week: 

Monday:  Chicken Roll-ups with Goat Cheese and Arugula with a light salad

This dish is only five ingredients, but it takes a bit longer to prep.  Monday is a half day of school for C, which means I will have a bit more time to pull everything together.

Tuesday:  Crockpot Honey Sesame Chicken with steamed brown rice and veggies

I'm thinking slow cooker for Tuesday since we have karate for C and gymnastics for M!  So nice to come home to the work already done for you!

Wednesday:  Easy Garlic Chicken with steamed baby carrots and potatoes

This looks like it will pull together quickly, but we will be packing for a family trip to a wedding in Lexington, KY over the weekend, so it may fall by the wayside.  We shall see!

Thanks to Pinterest for all the new, fabulous ideas for quick dinners!


Toy Clean-Up: Attempting to Turn a Nightmare into a Dream :)

I hate toys.

Well, let me clarify:  I hate storing them, sorting them, getting my kids to clean them up.  It seems the bigger the girls get, the smaller the toys get.  Our house is a world of Polly Pockets and all their little tiny rubber clothes, Squinkies (which are just as tiny and rubbery), small plastic animals and Disney princesses, and most recently, Legos have been added to the fray.  We've always had the big Duplo ones and MegaBlox, which the girls have loved, but we have moved into the teensy-weensy kind that are oh-so-pleasant to step on/clean up.  Her new favorite is this - good for you, Lego, for coming up with a "girly" version!

I shouldn't complain - after all, all these tiny little toys are actually great therapy tools for C, and M gets the added benefits of developing all these fine motor skills without us having to fork over thousands of dollars to the OT (heehee).  Getting Polly dressed requires quite a bit of pinching and tugging - all the while working out their little fingers, and locking those little Legos into place is great for working on fine motor skills and proprioception.  Yes, this is what happens to your brain when your child has SPD (or any of the other stuff we are dealing with) - you start to look at EVERYTHING as a potential therapeutic activity.

But storing all this crap stuff is another ball of wax entirely.  We have bins and shelves in our basement.  We also have clear plastic shoe boxes that are labeled with photos of what goes inside on our first and second floors.  We have baskets and book cases upstairs, too.  No matter what the little stuff never really gets sorted, and ends up dumped into one of these with a lid.  Out of sight, for sure, but not so much organized!

We have known for awhile that, with her sensory and attentional issues, C literally has trouble seeing "the forest for the trees." She can't visually sort things and gets very easily overwhelmed at the prospect of finding her stuff, or strategizing how to get it put away when it's time to clean up.  Breaking this process down into singular tasks is the best thing for her - you can't just tell her to go clean up the sun room; you have to tell her to go pick up the Pollys, then when that's done, tell her to go pick up the princesses, and so on.  That's why figuring out a system that works for her AND the rest of the family is so crucial.

The Lego situation, in particular, has spurred me to see if I could find something even better, even if it's just for the small stuff.  My aunt used to have this awesome drawstring bag for hers.  While my cousins or we played, the bag laid flat, like a play mat.  When it was time to clean up, all we had to do was shove the Legos onto the mat and pull the drawstring.  I think she made the bag herself or something.  If I tried to do that, it would be stapled and glued together.

Thank goodness for Google.  Look what I found on one of my new favorite websites, The Daily Grommet:

Absolutely BRILLIANT.


Wow.  It has been quite awhile since I posted.  Almost a year, in fact.  Life has obviously been busy.  The school year was filled with car pools, activities, and play dates for both girls.  Summer transitioned to camp, more activities, swim team, and more play.  I feel at times like I am driving a shuttle bus! 

OT graduation day - May 2012

We've also been on quite a ride with C, especially recently.  She "graduated" from OT in May (with an extensive home program in hand, as well as the idea that we will pop in for "tune-ups" if/when life throws new sensory-motor challenges her way), and was also evaluated by a psychologist to look at some lingering attentional issues we continue to struggle with in school.  In addition to confirming that C is a very bright, personable, kind, and curious little girl, we also got the additional diagnosis of ADHD - both inattentive and hyperactive types, as well as some mild anxiety, in May. 

None of this came as a surprise to us - I think both S and I have always suspected that there was more to what was going on with C than her Sensory Processing Disorder diagnosis, and read long ago that this is a common co-morbidity with SPD, ADHD, and anxiety issues - but it's never fun to "officially" realize that your child is facing yet another challenge in her young life.  We've taken time to work with her school to come up with a formal plan for the upcoming school year (they were amazing at accommodating and working with her in Kindergarten, but it was never written in a formal fashion), as well as research our options to help better support her (ie - social skills groups, learning about medications should we decide to go that route, etc.).  I've spent time talking to other moms and older students who have similar diagnoses to learn more about the implications of these additional challenges, which has been great. 

We aren't sure where all of this is headed yet, but in some ways, having yet another "name" for what we've kind of known all along gives us another stepping stone to point our family and child in the right direction, and that helps!