Easter and My Before and After Weight Loss Pictures

Easter was fun.   We went to Mount Airy (NC), or you may know it by another name.  It’s the little North Carolina town that is known as Mayberry by many.  We had dinner at my mother-in-law’s place, and went to church services.  Then, before we left, we walked around “Mayberry.”

The shops were all closed, but it was nice to walk around and look in the windows.  We saw some familiar names and faces.  Here’s one that you might remember.

We also had an amazing view on the drive up.  Mount Pilot is a wondrous thing to see.

I also wanted to share a before and after picture of my weight loss.  I still have more weight to lose, but I thought it would be nice to share what I looked like before and what I look like now.



Fun Valentine’s Day Activities With Children

I reached out and asked for ideas about activities to do with children for Valentine’s Day.  As a mom of two children, Valentine’s Day has become more of a fun, family holiday, instead of a couple’s day.  I received two replies that I wanted to share with my readers.  I have posted them below.  I hope you like them as much as I did.

Coupon & savings expert Jon Lal can provide frugal Valentine’s Day activity
ideas to have a great, low-cost V-Day with the kids. A few of his ideas are
below. He can provide more upon request:

1. Bake cookies then decorate them. Heart cutouts are great, as are
using food coloring to create red and pink cookies and frosting. Kids enjoy
this activity.

2. Make candy together.

3. Make then exchange home-made paper valentines for each other. This
is a great activity with the kids!

4. Write a poem together (group collaboration).

Coupons & cash back site BeFrugal.com features free money-saving resources including cash back, coupons, deals and bargains, as well as Web-based tools to help consumers save money. Since its launch in 2009, BeFrugal.com’s online coupons have saved shoppers more than $20 million dollars, an average of 27% per order on online purchases.

The recently announced BeFrugal free cash back program – where consumers earn a percentage of their eligible online transactions – has an average rate of 5% withmore than 2000 popular online stores such as Macy’s, Target, Dell, Amazon among others.  With BeFrugal.com’s new cash back offering, shoppers can “double-up” on their savings by combining cash back with coupons to get extra savings on each purchase. To save even more, those who sign up for a free account for a limited time get a $10 bonus.

Gail Dosik of One Tough Cookie (www.onetoughcookienyc.com).
Gail encourages families to get together and decorate cookies and has
prepared kid-friendly tips that make Valentine’s Day cookie decorating a
piece of cake.

Tips for Decorating Valentine¹s Day Cookies with Kids.

1. Keep the shapes simple circles, stars, hearts, flowers. Pick shapes
children can easily identify and relate to.
2. Use squeeze bottles for icing they’re much easier to work with than
pastry bags. They’re available at cake decorating and craft stores
everywhere, as well as online. They’re easy to refill, too.
3. Kids LOVE to use the icing as a glue for little edible candies in all
sorts of shapes and colors. Use red, pink and white colors in heart shapes
for Valentine¹s Day decorating.
4. Edible markers are another way to decorate cookies, especially if you’re
mess-adverse. You can frost cookies with plain white royal icing the day
before and let the cookies dry. The next day the kids can color to their
hearts content on their edible canvasses.
5. Write your child’s classmates  names on the cookies. They make fun and
delicious Valentine’s Day party treats.
6. Bake the cookies ahead of time so that they are cool and ready to be
decorated. I personally suggest baking the night before while everyone is
sleeping. Then you also have a chance to try one (or two) cookies for taste
testing purposes.
7. Make the cookies a bit thicker than usual and bake extra. The thicker
cookies should help minimize breakage but if it does happen, you will have
extra cookies available
8. Use lollipop sticks to make lollipop cookies. Kids and adults go crazy
for them.

Do You Have Plans For Valentine’s Day?

Valentine’s Day will be here soon, and I don’t have plans.  Do you have plans for Valentine’s Day?  My husband and I can’t go out for the evening, because we don’t have a babysitter for the kids.  It’s difficult for parents of an autistic child to find a babysitter.  I’ve given up.  When I am lucky enough to get a family member to watch my kids, I feel like I’ve won a great prize.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen a lot.  I think my husband and I managed to get one or two nights to ourselves last year.

For me, Valentine’s Day is just another day.  Same with my husband.  We don’t need a special holiday to show each other how much we love the other.  We do it everyday.  Valentine’s Day is a bigger deal for my 8 year old daughter.  I have to get her Valentine’s Day cards, and help her fill them out.  I also have to buy candy for her to take into school.  I don’t buy cards for my son, but I do get candy for him to take to school.

Would I like a night out with my husband on Valentine’s Day?  Of course I would.  It’s not going to happen, so I don’t expect or wish for it.  If we do anything for this upcoming holiday, it will be dinner out with the kids.  Would I like flowers from my husband on Valentine’s Day?  Of course I would, but I don’t expect them.  Actually, and this may sound strange, if my husband were to spend money on me, I would prefer it to be in a practical gift.  A nice food processor, painting supplies to paint the bathroom.  Flowers will die and get thrown away.  A practical gift will be around for a long time.

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day?

Christmas With The Family

Christmas day was great!  We traveled up to the Asheboro area, (home of the NC ZOO), and spent the day with my side of the family.  Before we left home, the kids opened Christmas presents and ate breakfast.  The day started early.  My daughter woke my husband and me up at 6:30.  After sending her out of the room with strict instructions not to open presents, I dragged myself out of bed and had a shower.  The shower was a must to wake me up.  My son was up late last night.  He was so excited about one of the gifts he knew he was going to get. (It’s the drum set pictured below).  Santa couldn’t visit until he was asleep.  My daughter went to bed early on Christmas Eve.

The kids loved all of their presents, but the two winning gifts were LaLaLoopsy and the drum set.  My son isn’t easy to shop for.  He is considered low functioning ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder).  He is also completely nonverbal.  He loves music.  The drum set put a huge smile on his face.  My daughter has been talking about LaLaLoopsy for the past month.  When she wrote Santa, and put it on her list, I had to ask my blogging friends on MomDot what a LaLaLoopsy was.

Christmas Day was spent at my Aunt’s house.  My daughter had a great time playing with her cousins.  The adults laughed and reminisced about past Christmas get togethers.  We observed how the kids weren’t playing with their new toys.  They were happy just playing together outside.  My son spent the day taking a few rides on the golf cart, playing on his new internet tablet that my sister had bought him, and hanging out with me.

It was a relaxing day, which isn’t always the case.  If you have an autistic child, or know someone that does, I’m sure you can understand.  You can not predict how your child is going to react in such a high sensory environment.  We’ve had our stressful Christmas days.  Thankfully, this wasn’t one of them.

We are going to try something new for New Year’s Eve.  The local bowling alley is doing a family night, 6:00- 8:00.  We usually stay home for New Year’s Eve, but I think both of my kids will enjoy this.  What are your plans for the New Year?