Monthly Archives: October 2012

A Moment of Gratitude

Today’s courage quote is one that is very close to my heart…

“God never leaves us alone, never leaves us unaided in the challenges that we face.  I ask everyone within the sound of my voice to take heart, be filled with faith, and remember the Lord has said He ‘would fight our battles, our children’s battles, and the battles of our children’s children.’ D&C 98:37” – from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Ensign, November 2008.

I have felt this help and closeness today.  It was my first 504 meeting in behalf of my TeaRose; and I was so nervous- ok, Scared- that I didn’t sleep all night, and had to ask my hubby for priesthood help at o-dark-thirty this morning.  It was sweet and empowering to know that the Lord was standing watch for me today, and all went very well;  My natural shyness was smoothed out, and I felt calm and strong and easy.  Thanks.

Categories: Courage quotes, LDS Mom of Autism | Leave a comment

Halloween Fun and Surprises

You know, I think some years were designed to make up for others.  Ward Trunk-or-Treat was such a success this year!  My engineer hubby helped me make a giant pumpkin out of our van- way cool.  And I was even handed a complete surprise when I won 3rd place in the chili contest!   (here I thought I was only bringing my own chili because I have a family full of sensory kids, who don’t like the hot spices that are so popular down here, and I wanted them to have something to eat too.) Funny huh?

And with all my kids old enough for the first time to let them take off on their own, it gave me the time and space to sit, hand out candy, and watch my kids and think.

There’s been a lot of buzz the last couple days about how to photo Autistic kids for church publications, so I took the time to look;  you know, to see if there were photographic moments.  Can YOU tell which ones have Autism by the photos?

This last photo shows it much better—-

Here you have my youngest- totally up to her knees in the fun and adventure of life, learning with a zest.   Her sister, HFA was also taking it all in with pleasure, but suddenly got distracted by something small on the beach, and brother,  also HFA, who stood in this spot almost an hour while he struggled within himself to overcome his fear of water before he won, and joined in the fun.

So, even though I could personally tell last night– I mean, I spotted my youngest boy wandering the trunks collecting candy alone, I noticed when the oldest left,  gave permission for the other older teen to ditch, and I saw that only my youngest was with a pile of girls– I still did not manage to figure out how to get photos of these things.  I may even have to get them to buy into the project and actually pose, for anything to come out that shows it effectively.

But musings aside, it was a great night.  Kudo’s to the activities committee, they did a great job!

Categories: LDS Mom of Autism, Midnight musings | Leave a comment

How to tell if you’re a Mom of Autistic kids

Sometimes I sit with the phrase “how to tell if you’re a Mom of Autistic kids” in my head.

Some things are obvious

– like the list of doctors and school specialists that are not only in her planner, but also in her phone.

-like the weird and rude comments she hears behind her back about how she should do a better job teaching her kids better behavior;  or that the child “should just grow up.”

-like her constant reminder all thru’ the store (when there is no other option but to bring them with) to keep hands in the pockets, and always, always paying attention to where they are at all moments.

-like the hug therapy, and the biofeedback sessions, and the constant questions thru a movie of “what is he/she thinking now, Mom?”

Some things took me by surprise

-like a 14 year old suddenly feeling completely overwhelmed by the steps involved in a shower, and asking, near tears, “pleeeeease” if you’ll help her wash her hair, “then I’ll do the rest.”

-like the total and complete lack of sleep in anything more than 2 to 4 hour chunks- for decades.

-like how many years it takes for family and friends to wonder if the mom is right,  and start to ask honest questions.

-like the loneliness.

-like discovering that it takes a strong woman indeed to survive loving these incredible, special people; but I’m glad to have had the chance (usually).

Categories: LDS Mom of Autism, Midnight musings | 1 Comment

Gluten Free Halloween

So, I was thinking about a friend’s little Celiac girl this week.   As I started thinking about a what I would need to know, I thought about writing a post on having a small stash at trunk-or-treat this year, and at home, so she and others like her would be safe.   When I asked around to see if anyone was interested, I got two comments.  1-“Isn’t most candy gluten free?” and 2- “Yes, I think that is a great idea! It spreads awareness thru and thru.”  It really set me back; but I have decided that all the cool the stuff I found was well worth sharing.

Gluten is an amazing substance. it is versatile, stretchy, in fact it makes the world go ’round, so to speak– and is used in the most amazing places, from our vitamins to imitation crab meat, binding and thickening foods, and finding it’s way into many more things– but it is mean and nasty for those who can’t tolerate it.  On the other hand, I there are many more options and better labeling than ever before.  So kids big and small can have just as much fun, with a little bit of attention to details.

I found some great ideas, and recipes- some of which I’ll include here– but I was also happy to find that not everything has to be mail ordered or home-made.  In fact, here’s a list of some of the more popular (and easy to find!) treats for your special little Trick-or-Treaters.

* Swedish Fish
* Runts
* Fun Dip
* Pixy Stix
* Sweetarts
* Nerds
* Sour Patch Kids
* Super Bubble Gum
* Trolli Gummi Bears
* Jujyfruits, Jujubes
* Brach’s Candy Corn
* Lemonheads
* Jolly Rancher Hard Candy
* Jelly Belly, Jelly Beans
* Dum Dums Lolly Pops
* Dots
* Starburst
* Skittles
* Lifesavers Hard Candy
* Lifesavers Gummies
* Bottlecaps
* Everlasting Gobstoppers
* Spree
* Annie’s Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks
* York Peppermint Patties


Easy Party Snacks——-

1. Gluten-Free Chex Party Mix. Thanks to clear labeling on all Chex cereals, this classic is easy to prepare. The recipe is almost identical to the original. The exceptions for a gluten-free batch are to skip the wheat cereal and substitute the pretzels with a gluten-free brand or simply leave them out.

2. Caramel apples. This traditional fall treat that’s naturally gluten-free is almost too good to be true! (Just be certain to check the labels on the caramel just to be certain.) Whether the apples are skewered on a stick and the caramel is set or if the apples are wedged and caramel is provided for dipping, this treat is always a crowd pleaser. They’re messy, but a favorite!

3. Rice Krispy Treats. Kellogg’s has begun labeling and ensuring that their rice cereals are gluten free. This recipe is a traditional favorite at costume parties, and now it can continue to be served even if there are gluten allergies to be wary of. They’re also fun to dye, and you can use cookie cutters to make Halloween shapes like ghosts or pumpkins.

4. Popcorn hands. With these you’ll have a craft and a treat for your party! Using clear food handlers’ gloves, gluten-free candy corn and plain popcorn, a festive and relatively healthy snack becomes a hit at the party. Use just 5 pieces of candy corn as “fingernails” and place them at the tips of the glove fingers and then fill the gloves with the popcorn, and you’ve created a ghoulish hand to share with guests.

6. Crustless Pumpkin Pie. There’s nothing more traditional than pumpkin pie in the fall. When there’s a gluten allergy you can still enjoy it with a crustless pie. One of the greatest things about pumpkin pie is that all the delicious filling is completely gluten free. And when the middle is so wonderful, the crust will not be missed. Many recipes allow for the dessert to be sliced and served like any other pie, making it very simple to dish out at any party.

7. Apple cider. It’s just not a fall celebration without warm apple cider to sip. It’s simple, and many brands are guaranteed to be gluten free. Kids will surely enjoy this special treat as they celebrate with their classmates.

(from  7 Gluten-Free Halloween Party Snacks for Kids (and Kidults!)

and for baking fun——————

Gluten Free Pumpkin cookies

Gluten-free pumpkin cookies are filled with a cinnamon-flavored cream cheese filling in this special treat.

30 min.prep time 1:05total time
2 dozen sandwich cookies


2 cups Gluten-Free Flour Blend (see below)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice**
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla


1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter softened
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
Powdered sugar


Heat oven to 350°F. Combine flour blend, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.Combine brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter in large bowl; beat at medium speed until creamy. Add pumpkin, milk, egg and vanilla; beat until well mixed. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture. Beat until well mixed.Drop batter by level measuring tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 9 to 10 minutes or until set and lightly browned around edges. Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheets; remove to cooling rack. Cool completely.Combine all filling ingredients except powdered sugar in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until smooth. Gradually add 4 cups powdered sugar, beating well after each addition until creamy.

Spread 2 teaspoons filling onto bottom-side of 1 cookie. Top with another cookie, bottom-side down. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. Sprinkle filled cookies with powdered sugar.

**Substitute 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves.

Gluten-Free Flour Blend: To make flour blend, combine 2 cups rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch, 1/3 cup tapioca flour and 1 teaspoon xanthan gum. Use appropriate amount for recipe; store remainder in container with tight-fitting lid. Stir before using.

Gluten Free Scary Spiders

Make sure the licorice laces are cut and ready so they can be inserted into cookies as soon as they are baked.

60 min.prep time 1:45total time
4 dozen cookies


1 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups Gluten-Free Flour Blend (see below)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Black decorator sugar


Gluten-free red or black licorice laces (string),cut into 192 (1 1/2 to 2 inch) pieces, if desired
Decorator gel or frosting
Decorator candies (candy eyes, red cinnamon candies, mini chocolate-covered candy pieces, candy sprinkles, etc.), if desired–* always check candy labels to be sure it’s gluten free


Heat oven to 375°F. Combine sugar, butter, egg and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Add flour blend, baking powder and salt. Continue beating, scraping bowl often, until well mixed.Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in black sugar to coat entire ball. Place onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 6 to 10 minutes or until set.Immediately insert 4licorice pieces into each cookie to form legs. Move cookies to cooling rack. Cool completely.To add eyes, place a tiny dab of decorator gel or frosting onto cookie; gently press on candy.

Store between sheets of waxed paper in containers with tight-fitting lid.

Gluten-Free Flour Blend: To make flour blend, combine 2 cups rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch, 1/3 cup tapioca flour and 1 teaspoon xanthan gum. Use appropriate amount for recipe; store remainder in container with tight-fitting lid. Stir before using.

Recipe Tip

– If necessary, poke toothpick or skewer into cookies so licorice pieces can easily be inserted for legs.

– Place black decorator sugar in a clean, dry, glass bowl. This prevents sugar from getting too greasy and allows it to stick to the dough. You may need to occasionally start with fresh sugar if sugar isn’t sticking. Do not let the sugar get wet or it will dissolve.

– Use any color decorator sugar to roll the dough balls to create a variety of bugs.

– Cute candy eyes can be found at cake decorating stores. They are inexpensive, easy to use and add the perfect touch to these cookies.

Gluten Free Sparkling Candy Corn Cookies

These bite-sized treats resemble candy corn and have a hint of orange flavor.

45 min.prep time 3:25total time
15 dozen miniature cookies


1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups Gluten-Free Flour Blend (see below)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Orange paste or gel food color
Yellow paste or gel food color
1/2 cup sugar


Line bottom and sides of 9×5-inch loaf pan with waxed paper or plastic food wrap. Set aside.Combine butter and 1 cup sugar in large bowl; beat at medium speed until creamy. Add egg, orange juice, orange zest and salt. Continue beating until well mixed. Reduce speed to low; add flour blend and baking soda. Beat until well mixed.Divide dough into thirds. Press one-third of white dough evenly onto bottom of prepared pan. Place another one-third of dough back into same bowl. Add small amount of orange food color; mix until color is well blended. Press orange dough evenly over white dough in pan. Place remaining one-third of dough into another medium bowl. Add small amount of yellow food color; mix until color is well blended. Press yellow dough evenly over orange dough in pan. Cover with plastic food wrap; refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours or overnight).Place 1/2 cup sugar in large bowl; set aside.

Heat oven to 375°F. Invert loaf pan to remove dough. Peel off waxed paper. Place layered dough onto cutting surface. Cut loaf crosswise into 1/4-inch slices using sharp knife, trimming edges to make even, if necessary. Cut each slice into 6 wedges. Place 1-inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are very lightly browned. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets. Immediately place warm cookies in bowl with sugar; roll in sugar to coat. Place cookies onto wire cooling rack. Cool completely.

Store in loosely covered container.

Gluten-Free Flour Blend: To make flour blend, combine 2 cups rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch, 1/3 cup tapioca flour and 1 teaspoon xanthan gum. Use appropriate amount for recipe; store remainder in container with tight-fitting lid. Stir before using.

Chocolate Candy Corn: Prepare as directed except stir 1 (1-ounce) square melted semi-sweet baking chocolate into one-third of white dough. Tint one-third of dough orange and one-third yellow. Place chocolate dough into prepared pan; layer with orange and yellow dough. Bake as directed.

Recipe Tip

– Fill cellophane gift bags with cookies and give as Halloween treats.

– Gel or paste food color is found in the baking isle of many supermarkets or cake decorating stores.

– These cookies can be made ahead and stored in the freezer up to 1 month. Store in container with tight-fitting lid.

(all recipes from

(note- this post is meant as a guide only- always read the labels and check with your physician if you have any questions)

Categories: LDS Mom of Autism, recipes, resourses | 1 Comment

Strength Scriptures Again

I posted these scriptures once before- but this particular week seems to be drawing on my reserves hard, and I needed to fill them up again.

Ezekiel 3:8

  Behold, I have made thy face strong against their faces, and thy forehead strong against their foreheads.

Daniel 10:19

   And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me.

JST, Psalms 24:7

   Lift up your heads, O ye generations of Jacob; and be ye lifted up; and the Lord strong and mighty; the Lord mighty in battle, who is the king of glory, shall establish you forever.

Categories: Courage quotes | Leave a comment

So it starts

Well- the time of the new school year has officially come for the Mother bear to have to stand strong again– time for the emails and more…

This is today’s–

“Could you please schedule a 504 meeting for me… there have been some specific needs come up that need to be addressed.  Among them, one, is  that only half of my daughter’s teachers have responded to my emails, and I need to know if the other half are too overwhelmed to take on the needs of my sweet daughter, or what.

Another is that she is becoming a bully victim at lunch, and I need to address her safety as well as abuse.

Today she was shoved around by a group of boys, and ended up with a keychain ornament stolen off her backpack.  While this may seem like a small theft to boys feeling their oats- it was her personal link to helping her with her Autistic needs- the loss was much more traumatic than outside appearances; and  I am in the process of writing an essay that I would like put into the next school newsletter; and I am exploring other possibilities as well.

If I need to contact a different person at the school, please let me know.”
So— if anyone even reads this– say some prayers for me, cause I need to be smart and strong this week.


Categories: LDS Mom of Autism | 3 Comments

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

What a week!

Last weekend,  My mom told me that they had to finish their job (remodel of a Chapel) in Texas by Tuesday, and then show up for meet-and-greet startup meetings on the next job on Thursday– in San Francisco.  I just knew in my heart that my dad could not drive that far, by himself, in 2 days… so I volunteered our family to help.  When they passed thru Arizona, I had him pick up my hubby, and I took my mom with me  in the van with my kids.  Course then I had to pack.

The Bad–

When I finally had the nerve to tell my boys- Ryan blew-up.  I told him that he needed to be calm and talk this out with me– and bless his heart, he did!  Turns out he absolutely could not take the thought of the claustrophobia of another road trip with his siblings, and pulls out the trump card that all 19 year olds think they hold;  “I’m old enough to take care of myself for 4 days, Mom.”    My heart is still not sure I’m up to this stage of my life!

But time waits for no Mom—many prayers, and a couple of blessings from the Lord later,   off we go.

The Good–

Well; I’m very proud of myself,  I drove the entire way up and over to San Francisco.  The other 4 kids came with (I told them they had no choice) and they handled the drive very well.  And I’m very grateful we were able to help my folks.   Dad made his meeting, and after a bit of sleep,  Friday was all ours!   I had sooooooo much fun!

Then Mark gave me the gift of something I’ve always dreamed of– stepping aboard a sailing ship!  This one has been turned into a museum, and that was totally fine by me- I got to be in learning and exploring mode right along with my kids!  🙂

Mark had a chance to have fun too– as we revisited spots from his youth (he grew up in the Bay Area) and found places he had never been able to find before, and shared the whole thing with our kids…

Then on down highway one to Half Moon Bay.  For me- the peace was incredible.  Friday afternoon on a huge, gorgeous beach- almost empty.   My heart did a lot of healing.  And as a mom, I had a lot of fun watching what the experience did for all my kids.   Brand soaked in the peace with me…

The girls were a matched set.  As the sound of the surf and the cold water brought out the full little kid, without any Autistic inhibitions in my TeaRose; and she was able to play with complete joy with her vivacious little sister.

Dk was another matter.  He stood for a long time on the brink between total peace with the sound of the waves, desire to try what his sisters were doing, and his ancient fear of water.  I’m pleased to say, the adventure won.  🙂

It was the perfect day- the kids loved it.  And it was totally worth all the ugly of trying to find a place to sleep after dark. (bleah!)

So, even tho tomorrow has to bring back reality,  I’m very glad for the Lord’s gift of this special spot in time.  🙂

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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