I’ve had some recent motivation for blog posts with my best friend’s upcoming nuptials! This weekend we had her bridal shower and I was excited to try out the “Mimosa Bar” idea I had seen on Pinterest. It was a success; however, I highly recommend having more champagne than juice
May 20, 2013 by Breanna
April 24, 2013 by Breanna
Are you looking for motivation to exercise and get off the couch? Perhaps you’re already an athlete and are looking for something fun and exciting. Within the last few years there has been a large growth in racing. Apparently, people got tired of running for sport and decided to add some flair! I’ve recently discovered my love for obstacle course races and completed my first “Hard Charge” Race. These races are anywhere from 4-6 miles and include obstacles like swimming across a creek, climbing walls, and crawling in mud!
www.spartanrace.com (multiple distances to choose from)
http://thesurvivalrace.com (family friendly)
www.toughmudder.com (10-12 miles)
www.hardcharge.com (4-6 miles)
Themed Obstacle Courses:
April 23, 2013 by Breanna
My husband and I have been working on eating less processed food and are actively seeking healthy, natural eating choices. For a few weeks, my local grocery had ripe avocados on sale so I had stocked up. During the week, I can easily chop up an avocado with a little sea salt and use it as a dip for fresh veggies; however, I’ve just introduced my husband to the wonderful world of guacamole and didn’t want to ruin it’s wonder by giving him plain avocado. I decided to whip up a two serving dish of guacamole using things I had in my pantry and fridge. Result? A husband who claimed “Best guacamole ever!” Here’s what I did.
- For two people, cut up one large avocado. If you have more, you can do the math to make an appropriate serving size!
- Add a spoon FULL of your favorite salsa. I used a homemade salsa courtesy of my mother in law but you can experiment to your liking.
- Add a spoon FULL of chopped red onions (I usually have a small container from other recipes I use during the week). You can substitute with dried onions or onion salt if you’re in a hurry.
- Season with salt and garlic salt or powder until you reach your desired flavor.
This is a simple guac recipe. You can easily add chopped tomatoes, fresh garlic, and fresh onions; however, most often we are just wanting something quick and this hits the spot. We’ve been substituting tortilla chips for fresh veggies and it makes a perfect side for any summer grilling!
March 24, 2013 by Breanna
Finally, I’m back to cooking again! I guess all this snow motivated me to try a new hot meal. Once again I was inspired by www.graciouspantry.com, my current favorite “clean eating” website. You can find the direct link at http://www.thegraciouspantry.com/clean-eating-chicken-dumplings/
March 14, 2013 by Breanna
I’m on a speech therapy kick, and I’ll be honest, my speech schedule is officially full and I don’t have time for my typical posts of yummy desserts or fun DIY projects. I’m in full on work mode and ready to share the ideas!
Let’s be honest, the game Operation will make a sweet old lady utter explicatives that would make a sailor flinch. I know my OT friends love it for fine motor control but my anxiety simply cannot take it.
Enter an Operation game that has been modified into something enjoyable for those with limited dexterity and far more exciting for our kiddos! OPERATION BRAIN SURGERY! The basic rules are that children draw cards and have to find the object in the head before the buzzer beeps. The best part is, this game can be modified to entertain (and educate) kids 2 to 10!
- Although I have yet to gather the materials necessary for this suggestion, you could find small items that represent speech sounds and hide them in the brain to find!
- My artic kids HAVE tolerated just speech pictures in the brain, but usually only for one or two rounds before they admit it isn’t quite as fun as objects.
- Matching: I’ve used this at it’s most basic level. I turn off the timer, have kids reach in, we act excited about what it is, then we find the “matching” card. This is a great way to work on object/picture representation, especially if you are gearing toward picture communication
- Following directions: This could be as simple as “put in” “take out” and “match.” For kids who require a little more of a challenge, explain the rules and have them repeat them back to a new person.
- Memory: Tell the child what you want them to find. Can they remember “train” after they’ve already pulled out 1, 2, 3 objects? Can they remember two items or three? What if they’re required to get them in a special order?
- Concepts: Provide a description of the object they have to get (e.g. it’s an animal, it lives on a farm, it likes to roll in the mud)
- Yes/No: I have several low verbal kids who are working on this skill. Children on the autism spectrum often repeat questions rather than answer. This is a great way to work on yes/no. ”Is this the pig?!….NO!!!….Is THIS the pig?!…NO!!!….Is THIS….YES!!!)
- This is a great game to introduce basic game rules. You can start by just pulling pieces out to match…then choosing a picture that has to be matched…then adding a timer…then adding turn taking.
- This is also a great game to introduce for those kiddos who don’t quite understand the fun in “winning.” If you’ve tried Candyland and your kiddo can’t understand why you won’t just let his character eat the candy castle…this may be the game for you!
- For peer play you can introduce competition by turn taking and seeing which player got the most by the end of the game. If your kiddo doesn’t handle competition yet, you can simply turn take trying to find your own picture match.
March 10, 2013 by Breanna
As I mentioned in my previous post, I recently purchased some new toys and games for my speech room and am excited to share all the fun ways to help your child increase speech and language skills!
Many of you are familiar with the “Angry Birds” game on iPhones and iPads. When I ran across the Matchbox “Angry Birds Slingshot Launch” I couldn’t be more excited to find a way for my kiddos to move away from the technology and into a more engaging and interactive game! Keep in mind that the same activities I recommend can be used with any “race” type car activity.
- As always, fun games can be used as a reward to saying ___ number of speech sounds.
- This track has three “Pigs” that you can knock off when you launch the car. Instead of the pigs, you can place artic cards to crash!
- Other Matchbox brand cars will fit on this track. Place a variety of cars in a container that you have control of and wait for your child to communicate they need “more” “cars,” etc. You can also withhold cars to wait for non-verbal communication such as eye contact and pointing
- Give them choices around language concepts such as “Do you want a big or little car” Often they will choose “big,” but then they are working on problem solving because the “big” cars do not fit on the track
- Problem Solving: There are a few steps required for this game to be fun. You have to be able to pull back on the launcher to get it ready for the car and set up the pigs to knock down. Most of my kiddos cannot do this alone so it provides a good opportunity for them to ask for help or for you to have them follow directions (e.g. pull on the yellow button)
Pragmatic Language/Play Skills:
- If you are working on shared attention and engagement, this is just a fun game for you to play WITH your child. If your child is known to play independently, this game can provide opportunities for your child to interact with you to get the game going.
- This game is also a great way for you to use affect to help your child engage and interact with you. It should be more fun to watch mommy or daddy say “Wow!” “Look out” “Crash!” then to play the game independently
- Place yourself at the end of the track so the car can “crash” into you and your child can laugh and delight in mommy or daddy getting “crashed”
- Turn taking with other adults or peers to launch the car
- You can begin working on pretend play by placing characters at the end of the track to crash such as a “mean animal” or a person that can respond with “ouch I’m hurt and need help!”
March 7, 2013 by Breanna
While shopping for new speech materials (most likely in the toy section…no flashcards for me thanks!), I discovered one of my new favorite toys for both speech and language development. Check out this fun stomp rocket that costs between 10-15$ at your local Walmart, Target, Toys R’ Us, etc. One of my first recommendations for parents in toy buying is finding a toy that has some sort of cause and effect and is more enjoyable when someone joins! Take a break from all the electronic, light up, noisy toys!
- Reward for “good speech sounds” (e.g. Say 10 of your practice words and we’ll shoot some rockets!)
- Tape speech cards to a wall and “shoot” your sounds–You can do this at the single word level or expand to phrases “Shoot ___” “I got___”
- Tape speech sounds to rocket and see which speech sounds go the farthest
- Say “Ready…set…” and WAIT for ”go” “blastoff” etc.
- Keep all extra rockets in a clear container so the child has to communicate to get more
- Aim the rocket so it lands out of reach of your kiddo (on a high counter, shelf, etc.), they will have to communicate for help
- Action words: stomp, smash, hit tap, sit on the rocket launcher to make it go
- Spatial Concepts: “Should we shoot up or down?” ”Oh no…it landed in BACK of the table!”
- Body parts–Draw a person on a large piece of paper or marker board, ask your child to choose which body part they are going to “shoot”
- Quantity–”How many do you want?”
- Turn taking with adults or peers
- Ideate “mean” creatures we have to “shoot”
- If your child tends to perseverate on preferred toys (e.g. only playing cars) you can use the rocket to join their play–”Uh oh…mommy’s going to get your car…watch out!”
February 28, 2013 by Breanna
I’m pretty excited because I’m finally getting to a point in my cooking experience where I can “throw things together” without following a recipe step by step. I had gold small potatoes that were waiting to be used, fresh garlic I keep in the fridge at all times, and fresh green beans I had picked up in an attempt to add my greens to the diet! My husband approved these veggies as “good,” which is a huge compliment because most of the time veggies are just “tolerable”
- 7-8 small gold potatoes (or new potatoes)
- 1-2 cups fresh green beans
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- fresh rosemary
- olive oil
- Season with salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut up potatoes into quarters.
- Toss with olive oil, 1 clove garlic, 1 T fresh rosemary, and salt and pepper
- Place on foil lined baking sheet and set timer for 20 minutes
- While baking, follow the same process with green beans. When 20 minutes is up, put green beans on baking sheet with potatoes and put in oven for another 20 minutes.
February 25, 2013 by Breanna
This easy recipe was one of the first recipes I made when I started cooking…it comes straight from “Four Ingredient Recipe Book”! This is easy, will most likely not require a trip to the store, and it’s tasty!
- 4-6 chicken breasts (I used chicken thighs because that’s what I had and it worked great!)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup honey mustard
- Bread crumbs or crushed Ritz crackers (I used crushed potato chips and it brought a little extra salt to the recipe!)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Mix honey and dijon together in a bowl
- I suggest pounding your chicken to make it slightly thinner, this helps it cook evenly.
- Dip chicken in honey dijon mixture. Then dip in bread crumbs/crackers/chips.
- Place on foil lined baking dish (I used a baking sheet but the juices started running!)
- Bake 30-40 minutes or until chicken is 165 degrees.
February 22, 2013 by Breanna
I recently discovered “Google Documents,” a way to save all your files including documents, photos, and videos. You can save up to 5 GB of data for free and if you want more you can pay a small fee for extra storage. Not only does this save all your files if your computer, phone, iPad, etc. are destroyed or lost; it allows you to have access to these files in any location that has internet access!
I’ve recently started uploading all my professional documents so I can have access both at work and at home. I no longer have to keep track of various flash drives or make sure I have back ups upon back ups in case those go missing!
Check out the link www.docs.google.com or just google “Google docs” for more information.