Friday, April 17, 2015

Maybe we should be paying more attention to this

Thanks to MommyGreenest for the heads up on this!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

To Be or Not to be (Tested)

                Well, Easter has come and gone.  The sugar/chocolate/ham express has made its way too big, way too full of sugar and junk delivery.  The children have been shaken out of their Willy Wonka stupor, been dusted off and sent back to school and work and lives.  We are about to rush headlong into warmer weather (bleah) and (GASP) IEP season. For the uninitiated, that's when schools and parents hunker down like disgruntled warriors at a peace treaty signing, umm err, I mean sit down and discuss what goals need to be met in the upcoming year.  Not that I am expecting any major skirmishes there.    Feisty Pants is in a good placement for her.  But disabled kids bring out the wonky in everyone and it's always a bit frazzling to have to compromise like a real grown up when it comes to your kid's future.  And, I, apparently, am a giant pain in the ass, um er, a strong advocate for my kid.  Seriously, I have been told that has been written in some of FP's medical records. ("Mother is a strong, vocal advocate."  I guess bitch didn't seem like real medical terminology. )    
                So, no, I am really not expecting any battles.  We are all on the same side here and I am "strong and vocal" when I have to be.  No, my dilemma this year is a little more esoteric.  The test or not to test.  I am very unsure about the new common core testing.  We do need some testing you see.  We need to know our schools are working for our kids.  We especially need to know how the disabled students are faring.  Their education and their futures depend on good goals in their IEP's.  BUT this new emphasis on testing in New York (where we live) seems out of line with how far it should be taken.  We seem to be moving from testing for educational purposes to educating for testing purposes.  And Governor Cuomo's desire to slash public education and replace it with more charter schools is abhorrent.  Trust me on this, all charter schools do is create more of a caste system where the disabled, the different, the poor, the minorities are left out in record numbers. It is the opposite of the American ideals of equality and opportunity for all.  And my baby, my youngest child, will be the first to take the hit.  Profit has no business in certain areas of life.  We shouldn't sell our vote.  We shouldn't sell our organs.  We shouldn't sell slaves.  We shouldn't sell dangerous drugs. Even though it all would be immensely proftable. We know this already. Yet then why do we think we should sell our children's futures to the lowest bidders?  Which is why many parents are opting out of the testing as a way to show that we will not have this dismantling our of children's schools and futures.  They are doing so to show the powers that be in Albany that we all are truly displeased with the idea of ruining public education.
                But.  But.  But -Feisty Pants needs to have good tests so we know where she is progressing and where we need to focus our efforts with her.  Education is so important for all children.  It is more important for my kid who already has a million strikes against her.  But I fear these tests my kid so needs to ensure her education is sound will be the very weapon used to dismantle her entire future.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Hippity Hoppity

         Well, now, with Peter Cottontail breathing his chocolate coated breath right down the back of our necks, and Feisty Pants officially bored to death about 5pm today- really it's two days into vacation already, I thought I would post my last (I think) Easter themed post with some actual chocolate goodies.   I am still trying to post these with a reference to age because that is still easier than being organized in my house. (and still counts. Shut up. It does too.)  Although, let's face it, chocolate is a blessing with no age limits.  No one has to know if they were easy. I won't fink. I promise.
1) Peanut Butter Eggs (preschool with help. Seriously, it's easy!)
2 cups peanut butter
½ cup unsalted butter (softened)
2 cups powdered sugar (or 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 cup graham cracker crumbs)
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 oz chocolate chips (melted) OR  a couple of bottles magic shell chocolate (easier)
     Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper (or spray with pam) and set aside. Mix all the ingredients  except chocolate together.  Roll the peanut butter dough into small (or big , whatevs) egg shapes and lay on cookie sheet. (A little olive oil on the hands will keep the dough from sticking) Refrigerate the eggs.  Then simply dip in the chocolate OR pour the magic shell on cold eggs.  You can sprinkle with candy sprinkles if you want to look fancy.  Refrigerate until chocolate hardens.

 2) Easter Bark (elementary- some stove work)
Bag of white chocolate discs (or squares)
1 bag flaked coconut
Jelly Beans
     Grease a cookie sheet or rectangular cake pan.  Set aside.  Melt white chocolate discs in microwave or on stovetop. Stir in coconut flakes.  Pour into cookie sheet.  When the chocolate begins to solidify, sprinkle the top with the jelly beans (haphazardly).  Allow to cool, break into pieces.

3)  Bird's Nests (slightly older on their own or younger with supervision)
2 cups chocolate chips (I like dark but any will do)
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups chow mein noodles OR potato sticks
peanuts (or malted milk eggs or cadbury eggs or jellybeans)
      Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper.  Place chocolate chips and peanut butter in microwave safe bowl.  Cook on 50% power for one minute.  Stir. Repeat until chocolate is melted.  Stir in chow mein noodles until fully covered.  Drop by tablespoonful onto waxed paper.  Shape with fingers into nest shape.  Add a few peanuts for the eggs.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Three more hops towards Easter

       Well, the weekend is here.  If you are reading this as soon as I post it, there is a free Epix weekend for this weekend.  That might keep the kinderla entertained for a little bit.  If you don't, or are wondering what to do other than allow the little ones to become zombified by the tv perhaps the next three Easter themed crafts can help while away the time until Peter Cottontail brings the annual sugar rush express back into our lives to celebrate spring.  I have tried to keep  it organized by age again.  I am trying to be more organized in general.  (What? It beats actually cleaning or being neat in real life.  Besides, this counts as organized. It does too.)
1)Wooly Lambs Garland- (preschoolers with some help- glue)
You will need paper plates (or stiff paper), cotton balls, some dark paint or crayons, glue, one long strip of paper or string or ribbon.
Remember those Thanksgiving turkeys you made with a traced handprint?  Same idea.  Have the kiddoes trace their hands and carefully cut them out.  Turn upside down, and voila! a sheep template. Color the four fingers dark (for the legs).  The thumb is the lamb's face. Help them glue cotton balls to the sheep's body and now you have fluffy lambs.  Glue to the string in a row and you have an adorable Easter garland.

2)Peep Wreath (elementary age - especially if you use a glue gun)
You will need- wreath form (twig, styrofoam, even one cut out of cardboard would work), ribbon (in a pretty color.) Several boxes of peeps, glue dots or glue gun.
Make (obtain) a wreath form.  Basically any circle will do, make one out of twigs, buy one at a dollar store, cut one out of cardboard.  Wrap the wreath in a pretty colored ribbon and glue the ends down.  Then simple glue the Peeps to one side of the wreath (think like paper dolls standing hand to hand.) Cute and those suckers last forever.

3)Giant Peep (older kids only with this one)
You will need big piece of styrofoam or florist foam, ribbon, spray paint (or craft paint), Sharpie marker.
Get a big piece of styrofoam or florist foam.  Draw a large Peep rabbit shape.  Carve out with a bread knife (I did say older kids) Spray (or paint) in a bright Easter color.  Draw on two black dots for the eyes and give it a smile (with the sharpie).  Tie the ribbon around its neck.  This is a great one for right inside the entryway.:)



Monday, March 23, 2015

AHHHH Spring

             I'm sure you read that title up there as "Ahhh (contented sigh) Spring".  You would be wrong. Read that as AHHHHHHHH (frightened gasp) Spring.  (Or, alternatively, as ahhh(choo) spring - that works around here too.)   A long, somewhat blissful winter, followed by what seemed like an eon in the hospital has thrown me off my game and I haven't quite gotten back into the swing of things.  And now, holy cannoli, Batman, I have just found out that Feisty Pants' Easter break is the week BEFORE Easter.  (WHAAAAAATTTTT??  Whoever decided that has obviously never had to come back from Grandma's for Easter before.  I bet a lot of kids don't make into school the Monday after.) So, now I am scrambling what do with FP next week when she is bored and it will probably be too cold to hang out outside for long periods of time.
          So, to that end. I have been scouring the interwebs for easy Easter crafts.  I am going to try make the next few posts about that.  I have decided to try to post them for different age groups too.   ('Cause I'm just so darn helpful, you see. You're welcome!)  Here are the first three ideas.  Hope they keep your feisty ones busy and happy too.

1) For the pre-school set (Although, don't lie, you will totally play with these too.)-
Funny Bunny Masks:
 You will need craft sticks (popsicle sticks, tongue depressors, or the ilk), pipe cleaners (either 3 or 6 for each mask) and pompoms (one for each), glue.
Simply twist the pipe cleaners into bunny whiskers (three twisted in the middle or six twisted at the end, depending on how long you want them to be.)
Glue a pompom to one end of the craft stick. 
Glue the whiskers (at the middle where they join) right underneath the pompom.
Voila, instant bunny face. 
Points if you wear them at Easter Dinner.  Bonus points if you go out for Easter dinner.

2)Grade schoolers-
 Sock Bunnies:
  You will need colorful socks, rice, ribbon, rubber bands (two for each bunny) sharpie markers, pompom (optional) scissors.
Simply take colorful socks. (You KNOW you have tons of odd socks.)  Fill up to the heel with rice. Secure shut with a rubber band. Add a second rubber band two thirds of the way up the filled part and tie over rubber band with ribbon.  (This makes the body and the head.)  Cut the top into two parts for the ears.  You can be as simple or as creative as you want here.  Draw on a face and tail with sharpies. (A little pompom would make a totes adorable tail.)

3)Older kids (all ages with an older one's help, really)
   Candy Terrarium:
   You will need: small jars, easter grass, ribbon, small candy figures such as small chocolate bunnies, peeps, etc.,  Perhaps paint or labels, if you really want to go all Martha Stewart on this.
Place a little Easter grass in the bottom of the jar. You could paint something spring like on the outside beforehand if you like.  Add some colorful candies- jellybeans, m and m's or the like,.  Place one candy figure- a small chocolate  bunny, a single peep, etc.  Place lid on jar.  If you add a ribbon and label for each dinner guest, these would make cute place cards.  (We just throw the food on the floor here and make them all wrestle for it.)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Hey Honey

            So now that we have survived the flupocalyopse of 2015, I came across about a billion articles on how honey can beat a flu shot.  (My first thought was "Great! NOW they tell me...")  Seriously, though, I don't know if that's true or not.  I am definitely the opposite of an anti-vaxxer.  (I would give Feisty Pants a prostate cancer vaccine)  But in the interest of "Hey whatever works", I've looked up some decent honey remedies and am presenting the most interesting ones here.  Honey is naturally antibacterial and antifungal, so it could work. I am a firm believer in throw everything at the kids and see what sticks.  If they don't work for you, well, at least we all have learned something, and it's made with honey so it will be a tasty failure.  Btw- These are not for babies, little tummies under a year cannot always handle honey.  There is sometimes a bit of botulism in honey.  Not enough to make a kid or grown up sick but the very little guys should stay clear.

 Honey Immune booster-
1 fresh lemon- juiced
3-5 cloves crushed garlic
3/4 teaspoon grated ginger
pinch cayenne
pinch turmeric
1 TBS honey (raw is best)
Add ingredients to 1 cup water.  Mix well, makes about a cup of juice.  Take daily for flu.

 Honey/Cinnamon Paste- (sore throat/coughs)
1 Tsp Honey
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
Mix to form paste.  Take two to three times a day for sore throat and coughs. (Man, I wish I knew this one when Hippie Pants was little.  Giving her medicine was like feeding poison to a tasmanian devil when she was a toddler.)

Raw Honey (insomnia/allergies)
2 tsp of raw LOCAL honey
That's it- just make it local and raw and swallow before bedtime.  taken over time it is said to help with allergies and insomnia.

You can also add honey to your bath (1/4 to 1/2 cup) to moisturize skin.  You can slather some on scrapes and cuts to stave off infection and help skin heal faster.  You can even mix some honey and lemon juice into yogurt, and when you get bored eating it, apply the rest to your face for a rejuvenating mask. (Just leave on for ten minutes and then rinse.)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Can't we just hit the snooze button?

           Well, I am feeling quite cranky today.  I shouldn't be, but I am.  I should be really zen right now.   We are home safe and sound from the hospital. Feisty Pants is getting feistier by the day.  The house is slowly coming back into some semblance of order. We always rip it apart when we get transferred out of town.  I can pack efficiently and quickly OR I can do it neatly.  Take your pick.  And then we wreck it again when we get home by unpacking.  We are getting all the crazy stuff done that we have to do to get FP's life back into shape.   Restarting  routines, restarting standing appointments, getting the medication regimen back on track.   Filling out all the "Why, yes, she can go back to school, therapies, life" paperwork.  Notifying all the very patient care givers in Feisty Pants' life to put her back on all their schedules.   It's a minor pain, but not an unhappy chore.  It means things are going right for the moment.  We are even oh so slowly catching our collective breath and not feeling like we have to stare at her every single effing second.  And she has only pulled her g-tube once since we have been home.  (That is a good record for a bored FP . She is having a little mercy on us.)
            She even found her birthday cake flavored birthday cake mix at the store for her small b-day dinner tomorrow. (The big grandparents/birthday/shopping/pizzapalooza weekend comes later in between both girls' birthdays) And it is too birthday cake flavored.  It says birthday cake right on the box where other boxes say vanilla or devil's food. 
            So all in all, this week has turned out to be pretty good.  We are all home.  My kid is well and truly on the mend.  We have caught up on most of the stuff around here.  So, why then do I feel cranky?  I would like to tell you why.  A little bit is leftover stress.  Sort of an emotional detox from all the worry when she was sick.  The flu sucks when you are a typical healthy person.  It is DANGEROUS when you have health issues.  She was sicker than we have seen her in a long time.  This will simply take a while to work its way out of our systems.  But that we are used to.  The thing that really getting on my last nerve is frigging Daylight Savings Time.  I hate it. Sleep deprivation is a constant companion when you have a disabled kid.    A hospital stay really ups the ante on sleep loss too.   And now, just as we have the chance to get back to the insanity that passes for normal around here, society wants to take away that most precious of commodities, a whole frigging hour of sleep.  And for no real good reason.  It does not save energy.  We are no longer fighting the Kaiser.  Why do we continue this silly farce?  I think some like it simply because it reminds them summer is coming.  I don't want to be reminded that my favorite time of year is almost over. You people all run around acting like losing sleep is worth it.  It's not. I just want to hit the snooze button and have a few more weeks of starlit bliss. Daylight savings  is awful, terrible, no good, and mean.  It is the drunk who picks a fight at the party.  It is a toddler with chicken pox having a temper tantrum.  It is an EMPTY coffee maker. It is a cold sore on prom night. It bites. I hate it. And the next person who says, "Isn't this nice? It's light later now" is getting a giant wedgie. You have all been warned.