Meal Planning & #SpecialNeeds…?! (#Autism)

I had an “aha!” moment yesterday at mom’s group. The speaker was talking about meal planning and, honestly, whenever this is the topic, I never want to attend. When I was married, I was very regimented abut meal planning. Every Saturday morning, I sat down with the flyers and my recipe books, see what was on sale for the week, make a meal plan for the week then take the kids to the market and library. I would buy staples during the week (pasta, rice, meat, etc), and buy fruits and veggies (and a couple of cookies as a treat for the kids while we were out) for the meal plan.

The rest of the weekend, my slow cooker and oven were going, cooking all the meals for the week so I didn’t have to do anything other than remember to thaw that night’s meal, warm it up and serve throughout the week.

After my marriage ended and my kids’ sensory issues became more prominent, I stopped menu planning. They are very restrictive with their foods, based on blandness (is that a word?!) or spice or shapes. I basically have been eating whatever I felt like of the two dinners I make them each night, or just do up a Mr Noodles for myself. I didn’t see the “point” of meal planning anymore.

My “aha!” moment today was that yes, I can still menu plan…I just need to tweak it a bit, same as what I do for pretty much everything else in our lives. So, I created a Menu Planning Template that I wanted to share…which includes space to write what the kids are eating and what the adults are eating. Nothing fancy:

Meal planning template

Please feel free to print off as many as you wish…and offer feedback below in the Comments section.

I’m also hoping (fingers crossed!) to vlog about my journey with getting back into menu planning so be sure to Subscribe to my Youtbe Channel to check in (or remind me to do it!).

Seriously though, I hope this template is helpful for you…and me! ;)

Why I Haven’t Been Writing (#YouTube)

Not only have I been crazy busy with school assignments, exams, and well, just life in general but I also started something new…my own Youtube channel! Here’s my Channel Introduction:

The entire playlist of the videos I’ve recorded so far:

 

The videos include:

  • Mommy Scenario Tag Video
  • 8 Things Never To Say To A SAHM
  • My First Poppy of the Year…Centered Around My Height…? - Apparently the “other gentleman” was hitting on me, or so one of my Likers on FB informed me. Clearly, I’m “out of the game” as I didn’t see it. Sigh.
  • Calling All Introverts to Support Network - A vlog based on reflections after yesterday’s “coffee time” with parents with kids with Autism, who are interested in the workshop series a girlfriend of mine and I have created.
  • First Dollar Store Video - I see these all over Youtube so I figured I would jump on the bandwagon and do my own. ;)

So, be sure to Subscribe to my channel to see videos as soon as they are published. Comment down below if you have a Youtube channel, with a link to it as I would love to subscribe to yours too. Thanks to a few friends in real life and some online followers/Likers for supporting/pushing me to do this.

What My Son is Thankful For (#Autism)

Canadian Thanksgiving was a couple of weekends ago and I was sssooooo happy to receive this turkey made by my son:

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My son’s teacher wrote down words that all the kids in his class may choose to be thankful for. My son chose the following words:

  • puzzles
  • computer
  • iPad
  • family
  • park
  • Snoezlen

Made my day! Will be going in the tote for future Thanksgivings, to decorate the house.

 

#BlissDomCA Nuggets of Life Wisdom

Blissdom

Yes, it was a bloggers’ conference. Yes, it was a social media conference. Yes, it was an “online influencers” conference…and it was also so much more! I went to Blissdom Canada ’14 this year…my first time! I’m still working my way through the TONS of information I received during 3-day conference but I felt so many of the quotes I tweeted throughout the conference were also great messages for us as parents of kiddos with special needs, that I thought I would share:

“Value your own voice first” ~ @unmarketing

“Speak of anything in the affirmative…and it will be. Don’t let fear stop you.” @KarenCumming

“Your voice is your biggest product.”  @UnAlison

“Don’t ever fear making mistakes. Guard against not learning from them.” @PercyVites

“Keep going until someone says no, and there’s nowhere else to go, but there’s always another way.” @PercyVites

“No need to freak out. Assess problem at hand. Figure out the solution. Move ahead.” @PercyVites

“How do I stay sane? I laugh at the insanity.” @CaroleStaveley

 

Please share your favourite inspirational quotes/thoughts below in the Comments section.

I’ll share photos and other experiences from Blissdom in a future post.

Confession & New #Workshops (#Autism, #AutismSupport, #FamilySupport)

Confession: I LOVE public speaking! I know, I know, it’s one of, if not the top fear that most people have, but I love it. Role playing however…that’s a different story for me. And I have to role play counselling scenarios every week in one of the courses I’m taking right now…but I digress.

A number of years ago, I met a lovely woman named Melissa. We Facebooked and saw eachother every so often. Then earlier this year, she said that she was meeting a number of parents with children with Autism/Asperger’s through her career and asked if we could meet up. She wanted to understand more about what these families were facing (how awesome is she?!!). One coffee date later, and we decided to start holding workshops together, which where later called “Autism – Family & Financial Workshops“. She would be able to talk about the financial aspect of things (budgeting, RDSPs, etc) and I could talk about whatever was timely dependent upon the time of year.

Yesterday, we held another workshop, with me talking about IEPs since it’s that time of year, and how to work with the school. She spoke of budgeting, couponing and price matching. We also had an expert in RDSPs (Registered Disability Savings Plan…available in Canada) come share with us as well.

The chemistry in the room was awesome. I’m so glad that people felt comfortable enough to ask questions throughout my schpiel! If you’ve ever been to a presentation I make, I encourage questions. When people were leaving, they said they felt supported and asked when the next one is being held (January 28th at 10am, for anyone in Hamilton, ON Canada). We put it out there that maybe we should do a “coffee hour”…and people loved the idea. So, we’ve now scheduled an information get together over coffee (November 6th at 10am).

Something amusing happened during our workshop yesterday though that I also wanted to share. We asked for people to complete feedback forms, and when they gave them back, the form was put into a draw for a door prize (it was a beautiful Sherpa throw rug…so soft!). Can you guess which feedback form was completed by an adult who was newly (as in, this week!) diagnosed with Autism, just based on how the paper is folded? ;)

Feedback forms

Yup, that would be the “accordion style” one in the middle. She has a son with Asperger’s, a daughter being assessed for Autism, and she herself has now been diagnosed with Autism…and she’s proud of it…proud of knowing why she always thought of things in a different way; why she always did things just a little bit differently than others around her. Her son is NOT happy though…he liked being the only one in the family with an ASD diagnosis. Poor little guy. ;)

Anyway, if you are in the Hamilton, ON Canada area, please join the Facebook group to learn more about upcoming workshops and coffee times.

If you are outside the Hamilton, ON Canada area, but would like myself and/or Melissa to come to your area whether to offer a workshop series, or even a one-time presentation, please comment below or email me: imamomtoo.meghan@gmail.com.

My #Daughter and Her Magical #Faery Houses

A week or so ago, a miniature house “appeared” in our front yard. My daughter immediately exclaimed that it’s a faery house. Another showed up a couple of days later, then another, then another. Don’t tell her that our neighbour is actually making them and asked if he could surprise my kids with them. Shhh…it’s our little secret. ;)

She actually knocked on the door the first day, and waited for the faeries to answer…seriously, how cute is that?!!

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She asked if she could do a video of the houses to share on my blog, and also with her classmates because apparently they don’t believe her. Didn’t someone say when someone says they don’t believe in faeries, a faery loses its wings? She placed them all on the tarp that I quickly had to throw over my (first ever!) painted desk that I had done the day before…and then it started raining this morning. Thankfully, the paint was dry (stay tuned for a blog post about that soon!). She also received an iPad mini at school so this is the first video she’s shot with it…I think she did great!

If you want more videos as more faery houses are added to the collection, hit the “Like” button to give her some Youtube love, and share it around with anyone who needs some cheering up and/or some magic today. :)

She’s so excited to share this video with all of you!

I’m Going to #BlissDomCA!! Time to #PrepForBliss!

Blissdom

I’m crazy excited to be attending Blissdom ’14 this year!!! It’s the biggest blogging and social media conference in Canada. Every year while it’s happening, I’ve been in a bit of a funk over the fact that it’s happening and I’m not there. This year, I get to go as part of Main Street Creative‘s team…so a huge thank you to them!

I’m doing my research, reading posts written by those who have attended previous years:

I’m not sure exactly what time I’ll be arriving on Thursday…hopefully around 10am. Later that afternoon, I’m sure I’ll be hanging out in the “Newbie Lounge”. I seem to be reading a common theme that most attendees are worried about being wall flowers … I am NOT naturally a wall flower. Extroverts unite…together! If I am being a wall flower…just wave some Starbucks chai (lactose-free milk, no water please) under my nose. I’ll be fine after that. ;)

I still need to sort through my timetable for the rest of Thursday and all day Friday…there’s so much to choose from!

We had to sign up a couple of weeks ago for the microsessions Saturday morning. I’m sssoooo excited to be attending:

  • New Blogger? Little Blogger? You can get love too! – Tiffany Grisdale
  • Master the Branded Narrative & change your life – Julie Nowell
  • From Blog To Business (How to take your love of blogging to the next level and make it your business.) – Loukia Zigoumis

If you’re attending any of these microsessions, please say hi…I’m sure I’ll be the only tall redhead. ;)

There’s even a pajama party…how often do you get to wear pjs and slippers in public? ;)

Now I just need to figure what to wear the rest of the time because, let’s face it, as a Stay at Home Mom, my regular outfit consists of yoga pants and t-shirts. Sigh. Where’s a personal shopper (and the budget to pay for one) when you need one?

Please be sure to follow me on Twitter or Like me on Facebook to check out what I’m doing during #BlissDomCA.