The Kids’ #Christmas Gifts for their #Teachers and EAs

Every year, the kids and I bake a loaf for each of their teachers and Educational Assistants as the gift before Christmas break. My daughter saw me looking through Pinterest one evening and saw cute decorated jars. When she asked what they were, I told her that they were hot chocolate mixes that people give out as gifts. She immediately asked if we could make them for the teachers and EAs for Christmas…and still bake something.

So, this year, we made individualized hot chocolate containers:

And still made pumpkin loaf too!

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Merry Christmas and thank you to my kids’ teachers and EAs!!

My Daughter’s #SecretSanta Gift

My daughter is part of a club at school called “The Junior V Club”…strangely, she doesn’t know what the “V” stands for, and she keeps forgetting to ask the teacher who runs the group. Basically, the group gets together as a safe place for the girls to talk and express their feelings. At the beginning of the school year, they decided to choose two “raise awareness projects” for the year. My daughter’s suggestions were Autism and anti-bullying. Mama Pride! My son’s Autism-specific class is at this school too, so the school population itself is quite aware of special needs.

My daughter told me on the weekend that the Junior V Club was doing a Secret Santa gift exchange, with the following guidelines: $5 limit and the gift needed to be made by the giver. So, my daughter asked if we could go to the dollar store to get craft supplies to make a gift. She found a coin bank in the shape of a house that she wanted to paint and decorate.

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Of course she wore her Santa hat to paint and decorate…

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She was so proud to take her gift to school yesterday, especially since she didn’t know the fellow club member very well. Apparently the new friend loved it.

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My daughter received two handpainted decorations for the tree. So cute!

My Kids’ First #Chiropractic Appt in Years (#Autism)

My daughter has been saying off and on for a couple of weeks now that when she has gym or Vumba (similar to Zumba) club at school that her foot hurts. Late last week, she was telling me daily that it was hurting so I made an appointment on Monday for her after school. We all went after her Christmas concert at school. She started getting a bit nervous because she couldn’t remember her last appointment (when she was a toddler) so my man and I both had our adjustments first.

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Seeing our adjustments, and “talking science” with our chiropractor made her feel comfortable so she had her adjustment done, and her ankles and feet felt better afterwards.

IMG_00007540Throughout our respective adjustments, my son was watching and I noticed he was paying VERY close attention to everything. After my daughter’s adjustments were done, he said “my turn”, walked over to the table and lay down. We were all shocked…our chiropractor looked at me and I asked him if it was ok. He said “absolutely” and started adjusting my son.

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My man and I kept looking at eachother in disbelief while my son was being adjusted. He INITIATED the adjustment! He was laying still! He was following the chiropractor’s directions! Three days later, and he’s still asking for Dr Paul. :)

My Local #MP’s Office Helped Me Tremendously! (#CdnPoli, #DavidChristopherson)

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(This post is not sponsored…just a first-hand account of my experience with my MP’s office)

A few weeks ago, I received notice from Canada Revenue Agency that my Canada Child Tax Credit was being audited, hence non-payment for a few months. This is a large sum of money I receive monthly for the kids so it was VERY stressful to not receive this money. Upon receiving this notice, and despite finally having an answer of where the money went, I panicked…to the point of my own version of a meltdown. The notice included a list of documents (tax information, school registration and attendance, etc) that needed to be compiled and returned within 30 days to Canada Revenue Agency…do the math. That would be Christmas time, so of course, that would delay things further. I also immediately panicked about how long it would take in the mail (considering Canada Post is busier at this time of year), Canada Revenue Agency‘s own holiday schedule, and other places’ holiday schedules which would delay my ability to get the documentation Canada Revenue Agency required.

Panic set in. Thankfully, my man was the “calm in the storm” and suggested we go into our local MP’s office, see if they could help. After they reopened after lunch, we went in. I started telling them what was happening (I’m not too proud to admit that I was visibly on the verge of tears the whole time).  The lovely staff person listened, waited for me to finish, and calmly reassured me that we came to the right place; that they could help. She told me to compile all the documents they requested and that they have “a guy” they send all of this kind of stuff to, to fast-track it.

When I got home, I called my kids school, told the temporary office secretary what was needed, and then took the information in on the following Monday when the regular secretary returned for them to pull the information Canada Revenue Agency needed from them. With the kids home over the weekend, I couldn’t sort through all my files to find the appropriate documentation so I did that on Monday and Tuesday while the kids were at school, and while I was waiting for the school to get their documentation.

I went into my MP’s office Wednesday morning with all my documentation, sorted for my son, my daughter, both of the kids (which included documentation that mentioned both of the kids), and for me (to prove where we live) over a two year period. I sat down with the staff person, she said she was impressed with the documentation I was able to put together in such a short amount of time, told me everything would be ok, and I started crying again. The stress of the situation was horrible!

She looked through everything the following day, felt I had provided more than enough documentation, and called me to let me know that she was faxing it to their contact at Canada Revenue Agency. The following week, she called to let me know that they had received it, and was releasing December’s Canada Child Tax Credit amount for me, while they reviewed the documentation to (hopefully) release the arrears shortly thereafter. Medium sigh of relief.

Just got the call today that all the documentation I submitted was approved! We have missed the cheque cut-off date for December as this funding is released early in December because of Christmas, so the arrears will all be deposited in January. Huge sigh of relief!

So a HUGE THANK YOU to Trudy at the Honourable David Christopherson‘s office for all of her help! I’m so glad that my man convinced me to go in and talk to them about this situation!

Activities-Based #AdventCalendar (#Autism)

Last year, I switched to an activities-based Advent Calendar. In 2012, I realized how silly the chocolate-filled, store-bought Advent calendar was for three reasons:

  1. the chocolate is cheap and tastes awful
  2. my kids are at their dad’s every other weekend so that means I just throw out the chocolate from those days (why can’t Lindor make an advent calendar?!!)
  3. (and more importantly) my son doesn’t eat chocolate so he didn’t participate

This meant that every morning, my daughter would eat a yucky piece of chocolate while my son ignored the whole lead up to Christmas.

When the opportunity to make an Advent Calendar came up last year through a local mom’s group, I jumped at the chance. We all know that I’m not a crafty person so, when the mom leading the workshop put the canvas and all the materials down in front of me and told me to “just start”, I looked at her with a blank expression and asked her “how?”. Thankfully, because I’ve known her for years, I wasn’t offended when she looked at me as if I had three heads. ;)

After getting over my initial fear, and her showing me how to do some things, I jumped in. Three hours later, our new Advent Calendar was created and ready for use!

Advent Calendar

My daughter was hesitant last year, because she thought she would miss the chocolate but, a few days into the Advent Calendar, she was hooked. This year, she kept telling me how excited she was about the Advent Calendar this year. She even squealed with glee on the weekend about it starting today…and then she didn’t even notice it when she got up this morning. She asked me about it so I looked above her head, then she jumped up and squealed again. Tonight’s activity is to make a snowflake craft. I’ll post pictures on social media throughout the month of the activities we’ll be doing.

Also, people have asked for it so, here’s an “Autism-approved” list of activities that my family can manage for the Advent Calendar:

2014 Activities-Based Advent Calendar

Like me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram to follow our Advent Calendar activities this month!

ADDITION MADE ON DECEMBER 2, 2014:

And then I vlogged about our Advent Calendar…

A $20 Fix Stopped My Son’s Frustrations (#Autism)

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My son broke the zipper on his winter jacket on Friday, right before I dropped him off at his dad’s for the weekend. I brought it to his dad’s attention when I dropped the kids off, with the hope he would be able to get the zipper fixed or replaced, or (depending upon the cost of that) replace the jacket itself. I was so worried about the 3 of them going to the local Santa Claus parade he next day with my son having a broken zipper…it’s starting to get cold here now for the winter.

 

I picked the kids up on Sunday and my son immediately started saying “zipper broken” as soon as he got in the car. He fidgeted all the way home, screeched, repeating “zipper broken” and “fix zipper”, then asking for my man because he’s the one who fixes everything that gets broken. My son was clearly very upset and just needed it to be fixed. When we got home, he threw his jacket on the floor, said “broken”, stepped on it and started his circuits around the inside of the house (hello stim!). I was shocked by this as he’s always hangs up his jacket.

 

Thankfully, I had foreseen this situation and was able to get a free (!!!) winter jacket from a friend of mine whose son had outgrown it so I sent my son to school today wearing that jacket. Then, my man and I went to a seamstress he has used in town a number of times, and she was able to make it next on her priority list so we dropped it off at 10:30am and picked it up at 12:30pm after running some errands. She even made sure that the zipper itself was big enough for my son’s fine motor skills ability. Even better, it only cost $20 plus tax!!

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My heart hurts with the idea that my son went for 2 full days with a broken zipper. It wasn’t overly cold this past weekend but he definitely needed a winter jacket that closed properly, especially if he was going to be standing outside in the cold for the parade (thankfully, they didn’t go because it was cold and raining). It hurts that they went to the park with my son’s zipper broken. It hurts that either the zipper or the jacket weren’t replaced by the time I picked him up again. It hurts thinking of the discomfort (both physically in the cold and emotionally) he may have experienced through during the weekend.

 

I am thankful though is that I have such awesome friends who immediately offered their son’s outgrown jacket so I could take my son’s jacket in to get fixed. I am thankful to get it fixed so quickly…and the icing on the cake was that it was only $20! He will be so happy to have his winter coat back when he gets home from school!