Friday, November 26, 2010


For my friends who follow me on Face Book you saw my post about what I am thankful for, my God, my wife, my kids, my family, & my country in that order. And it is the truth. Also I posted pics of what I was cooking there.

Our day of thanks was full of lots of fun, cooking, caring and sharing. We were blessed with having all 7 of our kids at home (for most of the day). Turkey went into the oven a little late but it was fully defrosted and I did not have to give it multiple cold water baths before popping it into the oven.  Now I had forgotten to pick up my supply of Bell's Seasonings  which I use for every turkey I cook so the improv was on.... fortunately I had a different seasoning packet available which I used for the bird & the gravy stock. Next came the sweet potatoes & apples, then the stuffing, and then the green bean casserole. Now my wonderful wife had made the final grocery dash on Wednesday but was unable to find any cranberry sauce... don't worry we got the last 2 cans from our local convenience store, but she did pick up a bag of fresh cranberries, and I actually made home made cranberry sauce. In the mean time my youngest daughter made 2 cheese cakes and I had made a blueberry crumb pie the night before, so dessert was covered. All through the cooking Peter kept coming into the kitchen and announcing "Happy Thanksgiving, is the turkey ready? "  So then I made the rolls and Lynn made the mashed potatoes ( I do not make mashed potatoes as good as she does) and the bird was ready! I set it on the platter to rest under the turkey tent and I went to making gravy. Get the table ready and lets eat. Well let me tell you this was one extra special and fun Thanksgiving, great food, fun dinner conversation, lots of laughter.

Now I have to wonder how long this will last. 1, 2, 3 more years. It kind of sucks when your kids grow up. They don't seem to need you any more. But that means we did our job right... right?

And the answer to that is a resounding YES! I am VERY, VERY, VERY, proud and thankful for my older children. In this world where your kids are lured and swayed by so many outside influences, I am happy to report that my older kids keep surprising me with how "good" they are. Let's just say my wife and I (to a small extent) have done well. And for that I am really, really, thankful.

I love that my self taught cooking skills and the ones passed on to me from my Mom, Grammy, & my Dad, can be used to bring my family to the table to enjoy what the Creator has made possible.

God bless all of you that read this. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Oh yeah we are wired differently

As I check the latest news on the web I come across a headline that grabs my attention...."Gene associated with Autism may alter how brain functions".

WOW!!!!! Glad the scientific world is catching up with the parents in this instance. I know that seems a little bitter but as most of us on the inside of Autism know our kids have are wired differently than our "neuro-typical" kids.

Now this gene is present in many people through out the world that do not show signs of ASD but may have had some other learning issues through out their lives.

Ok I am done venting, so let's look a little closer at what the gene actually does. The CNTNAP2 gene is the gene that is associated with a higher risk of ASD, but it also ADHD, Tourette's, Schizophrenia, and other language issues. Now in the frontal lobe the brain functions that reside there are motor skills, language recognition and other learning functions. What the study is showing is the frontal lobe may be"over wired".  I guess that this could lead to sensory and information overload on a scale that we can not imagine, and that our kids can not explain. Which would be an explanation regarding some of the meltdowns we see.

Now that we have some confirmation to what we have always expected how can we use this information to bring our children out of their shells, what new methods of teaching can we learn from them to help them to adjust to our world with out retreating into theirs. One way that is available to us in this day and age is the technology advances that are available to us. The computer and it's close relations ( Ipod, Ipad, PDA, Gameboys et al) are proving to be a great way for our kids to learn and communicate with us. My 9 year old is currently using a web based typing program from the BBC called Dance Mat Typing . It is free on the web and teaches them in a very soft way on using proper keyboarding techniques. This is a great way for our kids to learn to put on "paper" what they are thinking. Another great tool that we have found is the IPod Touch, you may think that this is just a fancy music player that can play games, and yes it is that and so much more. Now the wonderful people at have developed applications for use on the touch screen hand held devices that are changing PECS programs with their application IPrompts, you can create your own picture stories, choice tables, schedules, and countdown programs to assist you child in learning their routine, making and communicating their choices, and much more. We purchased it for our "1st" grader for his school IPod Touch. Another great function we have found with this tool is the ability to use it to redirect and entertain our kids on long car trips, you can and I have down loaded feature length films and TV episodes for a fairly reasonable price at the ITunes store.  A word of caution here for your ITunes store account, make sure you are using a password that the kids do not know or can figure out, otherwise you may find receipts in your email for all the seasons of their favorite TV show.

Now with the current pace of technology I am very hopeful regarding the future of our kids and how we can help them adapt to our world much easier than they ever were able to in the past.