Homemade Apple Cider Donuts

Craving homemade apple cider donuts? These are just like the ones from the cider mill by my house, but entirely homemade and 100% delicious. If you love donuts or love apple cider, you'll love this apple cider donut recipe for breakfast or a snack! #SoFabSeasons

There are a few things that just say fall to me… barbecue for tailgating, regardless of which sport you support, corn mazes, and of course, apple cider donuts. A hot apple cider donut, freshly fried, with a warm cup of apple cider, is just something that screams autumn to me. I couldn’t resist making them at home.

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Springfield-Style Cashew Chicken

This cashew chicken tastes just like the kind you'd get in any Springfield-area Chinese restaurant, the birth of Springfield-style cashew chicken! You'll love this fried chicken in an Asian-inspired gravy!

Growing up, there was only one option when you wanted Chinese food… the menu may have had a ton of great choices, but if it wasn’t Springfield Cashew Chicken, was it even really worth ordering Chinese food? You see, traditional Cashew Chicken is a Chinese-American dish that’s stir fried in a wok, but Springfield-style Cashew Chicken combined classic American food– fried chicken– with this popular dish, and allowed a totally new recipe to take shape… and trust me, you must try it.

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DIY No-Sew Cow Masks

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HorizonLunch #CollectiveBias

Having a play date? These fun cow masks made out of felt are perfect for play dates, imaginary play, or just a fun afternoon craft with your little one... plus, they're no-sew and super easy to make! #HorizonLunch [ad]

When it comes to imaginary play, you can never get enough of it. My son’s favorite forms of this kind of play are the times when he gets to be an animal…. So, I love to give him opportunities to make costumes for these fun personalities he’s developed when he acts out his animal characters’ ideas. This cow mask is super simple, no-sew, and a perfect craft to make at play dates and more.They also cost less than 50 cents to make, making them the perfect craft to do together!

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FREE TO BE YOU Party for Kids!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FreeToBe #CollectiveBias

Kids don't always have the opportunity for a lot of freedoms lately... between lots of homework, more prevalent allergies, and even just a busier overall life, kids just don't always feel Free To Be who they want to be lately... here's how to throw a party to celebrate them being Free To Be what they want to be! #FreeToBe [ad]

Kids have a lot on their plate anymore… even the youngest of them have homework overload, a general lack of free time, and a whole lot of extra things to do, like sports and hobbies. It makes it a lot harder for them to celebrate what makes them free to be themselves, and it makes it harder to have that connection or bond that you truly want to. So, I’ve decided to be a lot more intentional, as a parent, to make sure my son and his friends are Free To Be themselves, and to celebrate that, I decided to throw a Free To Be Bash! Here’s how to throw one at YOUR house, too.

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When Raising Your ASD Child is like Raising The Incredible Hulk

He was screaming. Covering his ears, full on shriek, in the middle of the living room floor. It was at that moment that I knew to prepare for the Hulk Smash. Any heavy toys had to be moved out of reach, FAST.

 

Sometimes, I feel like I’m raising two separate children. My son in meltdown mode, like he was, hands over his ears, poised to start throwing things, and my son out of meltdown mode.

My son out of meltdown mode is… easily the most delightful human being in the world. He’s funny. He strolls in casually from the backyard, coated head-to-toe in mud, and says “Hey, babe. I need a shower.” He gives extra cuddles as we read books at night. He sorts colorful plastic bears into patterns and asks me to think about how to continue the pattern. He’s bright, and he cracks me up.

My son in meltdown mode, well… it’s something not everyone can handle being around. He’s even torn a shirt or two in his transformation into meltdown mode… Hulk mode, really. He has no concept of the fact that he’s hitting so hard, biting or scratching, throwing things… for him, he’s defending himself. Sometimes, it’s from an invisible threat.

So why the meltdown today? I said I was going to take him to McDonald’s. See, last time we were at McDonald’s, a kid smacked him… hard. Multiple times. It was bad enough that I had to call on the manager to get involved because I couldn’t physically hold my son away from this child who was attacking him. I had forgotten the incident, which happened months ago… but he had not.

My son, with his Autism Spectrum Disorder, remembers everything… but he can’t always communicate those feelings or memories well. For him, he associated McDonalds with pain and with danger, and he didn’t want to go. Instead of telling me that verbally or with the signs we had been working so hard at, he stood there, and screamed.

He started… well, it can only be described as “picking.” He’d go poke someone until they were frustrated. He’d smack them and yell. And finally, it peaked at him screaming in the middle of the room. Every person in the house took their turn at trying to ease his frustration, calm him down, and get him to verbalize why he was feeling like he needed to melt down.

And every person walked away with scratches, or bite marks, or having been hit. You see, when Zack is melting down, he doesn’t know his own strength. For him, the situation is dire. It’s not just about McDonalds anymore. It’s about anything that’s been stressing him out the past few days.

A meltdown is the only release– the only escape from how he’s feeling. Everything has piled onto him to the point that he can’t handle it. Lashing out is sometimes the only way he can hold on, because he’s so overwhelmed.

This time, the person who cracked through the shell was his Uncle. You see, Zack had been melting down for almost an hour, he was wearing himself out, and his uncle managed to get him quiet and calm. It’s not always his uncle that ends the meltdown, but it’s always someone. Sometimes we have to tag team, or sometimes it’s a smaller burst that someone can handle solo. But it’s always exhausting– for him, for us, for everyone involved.

After the meltdown, he becomes a puddle of tears. He worries that he’s a bad guy after he sees the scratches or broken toys or trail that his meltdown resulted in… but as always, we reassure him through speech and through sign that he is GOOD, and that we LOVE him… and we go on.

Right now, we’re at McDonald’s. All it took was some reassurance that the child who was there before would likely not be there today, that we could go to a different McDonalds if he was truly afraid the child would be back, and that I would protect him and if anyone touched him, we would leave immediately to keep him safe. Once he had those assurances, he was ready to go.

Unfortunately, I didn’t know that until after the meltdown.

But how does it relate to the Hulk? Well, in a few ways.

For one, Bruce Banner and the Hulk are like two totally different people. Bruce Banner is beyond intelligent– hyper-intelligent, really. He’s fairly well-spoken, and if you didn’t know, you probably wouldn’t peg him as being the Hulk. The Hulk, on the other hand, doesn’t communicate much with speech– usually, you hear grunts and groans as he smacks down his opponents. Outside of his catchprahse– Hulk Smash– he doesn’t say much at all. He smashes, without a ton of regard for what he’s smashing… there’s just no shred of Bruce seeming to still be in him.

But inevitably, when he does return to being Bruce… he’s Bruce again. You don’t see a whole lot of the Hulk there.

You see, my son is an amazing, bright, funny child. But you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.

…and that’s okay. We love him through it. We take him to therapy to give him ways to cope with his anger and hopefully better verbalize why he’s upset, before he starts to smash. We give him plenty of hugs and cuddles after. We remind him that he’s good and that he’s loved.

Raising a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder is a little bit like raising two different kids– a compassionate, loving one, and a very frustrated angry one… and at times, that’s as challenging for you as the parent as it is for them as the child. But you’re going to get through it. He will be back to his Bruce Banner self someday. The meltdown won’t last forever. Ride out the Hulk Smash moments and you’ll snuggle through after.

It’s going to be okay.

Impossibly Easy DIY Water Intake Glass

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and alli® weight loss aid. All opinions are mine alone. #alliInMyLife #Before #CollectiveBias

Looking to make sure you're drinking enough water? You can make those fancy DIY water intake glasses at home-- using any water bottle or jar you'd like! Here's how to do it in less than 5 minutes. #AlliInMyLife [ad]

After yet another trip to to the beach without a beach body this year, I’ve been feeling like I need to make a change. While yes, I know a beach body isn’t the key to everything, I also feel like I’ve been neglecting my needs a little bit lately– I haven’t been watching what I eat, I’ve been snacking a lot, and I haven’t been drinking much water. With the fact that I don’t remember the last time I took exercising seriously, I’m just feeling like some change is due. Do you ever feel that way, like it’s time to make some changes? Well, I’ve broken my plans down into some manageable steps, and it starts with showing you how to be sure you’re drinking enough water!

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Back to School Must-Haves for Mom!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LetsGoLALA #CollectiveBias

The kids are heading back to school, and you've probably got their backpacks all packed up with essentials. But what about you, mom? What are YOUR back to school essentials for yourself? Here are mine... #LetsGoLALA [ad]

I cannot believe that it’s time for back to school shopping already, but it is. School is just around the corner, and I have to admit, I’m so not prepared. I mean, as moms, we can go through the supply checklist and make sure we have everything, we can get all of the super cute back to school clothes for our kiddos, and we can even input all of the important dates into our digital calendars, but really, there’s always this certain degree of “I’m SO not ready” that I feel when it comes to back to school… can you relate? So, when shopping for back to school supplies, I had to make sure that I was ready for back-to-school, too.

When it comes time for back to school shopping, we have to look out for our own needs as moms, too. After all, we don’t come with a back-to-school supply list, do we? So, grab your favorite mom bag (I dig a backpack), and let’s get packing!
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Backyard Obstacle Course– Using ONLY Chalk!

Getting kids to play outside is a must-- only 31% of kids play outside today, compared to the 70% of moms who played outside during their childhood. Get them moving with this outdoor obstacle course-- all you need is a piece of chalk! #CLIFKid [ad]

Hey, mom… remember playing outside as a kid? Hours spent enjoying the grass or the swingset or making crowns out of flowers or playing at the park… it’s crazy how many memories I have of outdoor play. That’s because as kids, most of us played outside– 70% of us did, actually. Compare that to today, when only 31% of kids are spending any kind of significant time outside at all. Busy schedules, cuts in recess time, and just all-around love for all things electronic could be to blame, but it could be that we just aren’t focused on outdoor play like we used to be. Today, I’ve got the absolute easiest way to get kids moving outside with an obstacle course– all you need is a piece of chalk!

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DIY Hidden Cord Charging Station

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BTSwithHP #CollectiveBias

Back to school is such an exciting time... but it can mean an extra need to stay organized and powered up. Here's a simple way to make a DIY charging station for your desk that clears up those crazy cords, too! Plus, I share a few ways we use computers in our homeschool lessons! #BTSwithHP [ad]

I’m seriously having the hardest time handling the fact that summer is pretty much over… we’re in the last few days of the pool being open for the summer, back to school sales are in full swing, and the curriculum has arrived, which means it’s pretty much time to get back in the swing of homeschooling… and that means a major need for organization and staying powered up. Today, I’m showing you an impossibly easy DIY charging station for YOUR desk!

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DIY Sensory Calming Board

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RestEasySolutions #CollectiveBias

When your child is very sensory seeking, you can stimulate their senses with this visual, textural board! Great for sensory-seeking Sensory Processing Disorder or Autism Spectrum Disorder. #RestEasySolutions [ad]

When you have a sensory-seeking child, bedtime can be rough. Some of the things that help a sensory-seeker sleep seem so counter-intuitive as a parent! It has taken me so long to find some things that have set Zack, my son who has a sensory processing disorder, up for success in sleeping. From sensory tricks to GoodNites products, it’s taken trial and error to figure out what worked, and today, I want to share what’s worked for us to help you get your sensory-seeker to bed!

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