#Printable: #Autism-Approved #School #Lunch List


With Back to School comes packing up school lunches. Spending some time on Pinterest resulted in me being VERY frustrated. All photos are beautiful and filled with extremely creative visuals of fantastic lunch (and bento) boxes…that my kids won’t eat, and neither will most other kids on the Autism Spectrum. So, I put the question out there on my Facebook Page and asked for suggestions of what my Likers’ kiddos will actually eat…and here is the resulting list of Autism-approved school lunches. It’s practical and sensory-approved…nothing fancy (other than the suggestion to use cookie cutters for sandwiches…but only if your child will still eat it!).

Autism Approved School Lunches

I welcome all suggestions as I would love for this to be a comprehensive list that our kiddos on the Spectrum will eat, that you can use with your weekly meal planning…and hopefully can remain one page so we can post them on the inside of a cupboard (so it’s out of sight) or on a cork board in the kitchen.


Be sure to check out other lists on my Printables page too: https://imamomtoo.wordpress.com/printables/. If you would like me to create a list, just let me know…and join my Facebook Page so you can find out when it’s available. 🙂

#Workshop – #Financial & #Family #Support for #Autism, #HamONT

Back to School 3

Excited to announce the first of a new workshop series being held in Hamilton, ON called “Financial & Family Support for Families Affected by Autism”. It’s being held on Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at St. John United Church, Hamilton ON, doors opening at 6:30pm.

The first workshop is called “Getting Ready For Back To School, and Finances“. More information: 2014 August – Financial & Family Support – online rsvp.

Speakers will discuss:

  • Back to School: preparing financially and emotionally – by yours truly… 😉
  • RDSP – Melissa Greaves, Primerica
  • Budgeting – Christine Lasebnik, Primerica

Please join the Facebook group created specifically for this workshop series: Autism – Family & Financial Workshops.

First Assignment Done (#BackToSchool)


After much contemplation, I decided to return to school this year. I was very tempted to take a bunch of courses, but then reality hit. The last time I was in university was 20 years ago; college over 10 years ago…and I didn’t have kids. So the practical me decided just to take one course … ease my way in.

I’ve made it to every class (thank you to my man and a girlfriend of mine who are splitting looking after my kids!). I’ve kept up with the reading. And now, I can add that I submitted my first assignment, and even a day early! I was a bit nervous when I found out that assignments were to be submitted through something called “DropBox”, and I naively asked the instructor where the DropBox was, thinking there was a room number at the college. Nope. It was an online DropBox. Thankfully, it wasn’t hard to do, and I even got an automated reply confirming it was submitted correctly. Phew!

The course material hasn’t been hard…in fact, one of the projects that I helped proof in my former career was actually in my textbook! That was a weird moment. My favourite class so far was last week when we had guest speakers. I didn’t really know what to expect but they were going to speak about a topic that wasn’t my focus for my diploma: homelessness. I’m not sure why I thought I wouldn’t enjoy the guest speakers as the main speaker was a youth who has experienced chronic homelessness for about a decade. He was a “bugger to go” (as my family says) and, thanks to motivation from his younger brother, some key Social Workers and his own motivation and drive, he has been able to finish his highschool education and been accepted to college, starting in January. Fantastic! During his presentation, he even thanked us for wanting to be Social Workers: “You are going to change people’s lives!”. Goosebumps!

Just trying to continue balancing all my “hats”: being a mom, partner, daughter and friend, with the new commitments of studying, readings and assignments. Thankfully, everyone is really supportive…and my kids think it’s cool that “mommy’s in college”. My daughter has even asked that I take her to see the inside of the college! 🙂

*MY* First Day At School…In Decades!

So, I’ve been contemplating returning to school for a few years now. Wasn’t sure what I wanted to study but knew I wanted to keep helping other families with kids with special needs. Honestly, after the end of my marriage, there was NO WAY I could return to school…my brain was mush (partly from mommy-brain, partly from my marriage and divorce), my son’s needs were REALLY high (he was a runner and violent before the end of my marriage, and for about a year later), and my kids were so young they weren’t in full day school yet.


Fast forward a couple of years (and moves) later, and last fall I took a course from a friend of mine who is a professional organizer about home management. Not rocket science and it’s something I’m always looking to improve. It was also a personal test. Can I fit one more meeting (class) per week into my schedule? Can I read a textbook again? Can I retain the information in the textbook? Can I find time to study? It was hard…not the material, but reading a textbook was very difficult. I had to “force” myself to read it because it wasn’t related to Autism, or special needs. Sometimes, I had to read a page a few times because I just couldn’t focus. But I did it!


This summer, my dad and I were talking…where he got a better picture of what my daily life looks like as a SAHM to kids with special needs. The meetings, the programming, the paperwork on top of all the SAHM hats I wear: taxi driver, doctor, social coordinator, cook, cleaner, laundry, etc. Then he asked *the* question…the question dreaded by all SAHMs: Now that my kids are in full day school in Grade 3 (well, my son will be in 2014 when he finishes IBI therapy), what about me?


We talked for quite a while about the work I have been doing; supporting and coaching other moms of kiddos with special needs. Then he stumped me again: What “piece of paper” (nice eh? Years at post-secondary education results in a “piece of paper”!) do you need for that? Ummm, well, the big qualification the moms are looking for is that I’ve “been there, done that”. So, after a longer conversation, lots of research online, meetings and emails with post-secondary education institutions to learn about their programs, emails between my parents and I so I can “talk it out”, and an application process that drove me a bit crazy, etc, this will be my life for the next 4ish years:


I’m starting with only one course to start…and boy, did I feel old last night in the first class. To date myself, when I went to university, email was barely being used, I was the only one on my floor in residence to own a laptop (that was much less powerful than the one I have now, and kept crashing after being used for an hour or so). College was a little better as I finished the most recent one about 12 years ago…email was being used but there was no online component to any of the courses.


Last night, the instructor was clicking around on a program that I’ve seen or heard of, and he just kept saying “go online” as it’s integral and part of the course curriculum. To where??? Since I’m not scared of making a fool of myself, or asking questions, I kept asking him to backtrack so I knew what he was doing and where he was online. I have the “on the ground” experience from my former career (seems like a few lifetimes ago now!) and my current work focuses that experience to a specific field, now I’m working towards yet another “piece of paper”. I already have university and 3 colleges under my belt…and now I’m adding a diploma in Social Service Work.


Wish me luck (and Like me on Facebook to watch my trials and tribulations of going back to school as a “mature student”)!

Celebrating #BackToSchool & #Autism

In previous years, I “celebrated” Back To School by cleaning the house and taking a nap (how luxurious, I know!) on the first day back. This year, I was still crazy busy running errands on the kids’ first day back, so today, I decided to get out of my SAHM “uniform”, wear some jeans and heels, and do some writing at Starbucks. The pumpkin spice scones are back in season…yummy!


When I picked my son up from IBI therapy today, he was carrying a cute little puppet. I asked him what was in his hand and he showed it to me. I asked who it was, and he responded with “Happy”. So, introducing “Happy, the puppet”. 🙂


As we walked to the car, I asked questions about Happy.

Me: “What colour is his hair?”

Son: “Yellow”

Me: “What colour is his shirt?”

Son: “Shirt” as he pointed (!!!!!!) to it.

Me: “Yes, that’s his shirt. What colour is it?”

Son: “Blue shirt”

Me: “That’s right, blue shirt.”

Son: “Happy”

Me: “Yes, hunny, it’s Happy.”


And now he’s singing along to songs on tvokids.com!


Take THAT Autism!

#BackToSchool for my Daughter


My daughter started Grade 3 today! Because it is a new school for her, I took her for a tour last week, meeting her new Principal and her new teacher. We spent some time in her classroom and the computer room. Her desk hadn’t been assigned yet but she loved her classroom, especially the reading area. She and her teacher bonded over both liking math. The tour was a success and she was excited to go to school! And yet she still had a really rough night last night, in anticipation. Her Anxiety Disorder was NOT being kind to her.

As it turns out, the biggest concern she had is that the school will lose my phone number if she needs to get ahold of me. I reminded her that one of my cards is in her backpack, and assured her that the school also has my number. I explained to her that they don’t just keep parents’ phone numbers on a little scrap of paper. They keep it in file folders along with all other information for her, and also in their computer. That seemed to help her a bit.

When my son finishes IBI therapy later this school year, he’ll be full time at the same school. It’s the first time since Senior Kindergarten the kids have been at the same school…which means one set of paperwork for me to manage and keep track of (woohoo!). During our tour of the school, we showed my daughter where her brother’s classroom is in relation to her class.

It was wonderful for my daughter to declare “Today was the best day EVER!” when she got home after school.

#PTPA #Blogaholics Post: Summertime Sleep vs #BackToSchool Sleep






I posted an article about getting back into Back to School sleep patterns on PTPA’s Blogaholics. Let me know if you try any of my suggestions and how they worked (or not…I’m not perfect, just sharing what I’m doing!). Back to School

So many mom discussions I’m having now are related to squeezing out as much as we can of the remaining summer days, and of course Back to School. One discussion was with a girlfriend who couldn’t figure out what she was going to do about her daughter’s sleep patterns. As with most of us (including me), the longer days of summer mean we let our kids stay up later than usual. Her daughter has now gotten used to sleeping in late. My daughter has gotten used to going to bed late and sleeping in. I had adjusted my son’s bedtime over the summer too, but it was more related to his age than the summer. This girlfriend and I chatted about it, I told her what I was doing, and she told me to write about it…so I am!

School starts in 3 weeks so I’ve talked to my daughter about needing to go to bed earlier to make the adjustment for school easier. For this week, I’m sending her to bed 15mins earlier than her summer bedtime has been, and we’re spending the time playing with her dolls and reading, then lights out. I’m doing that for 3 – 4 nights, and then send her to bed another 15mins earlier, and repeat. My kids are at their dad’s next week so I’ll continue the pattern when they return the week after.  …

To read the rest of the article, please click here: PTPA Blogaholic Summertime Sleep vs Back To School Sleep.

Saving/Earning Some Extra Cash for #BackToSchool

I’m happy to introduce you to Simply Shaye. She’s a fellow single mom who asked if I would accept guest posts, and I said sure! She came up with this little gem that I hope you like…how to save/earn some money over the summer to help with those Back to School expenses.  I always do the first two, but haven’t tried the second two suggestions. Thanks for the post Shaye!

Save Money

4 Clever Ways for Moms to Save and Earn Money This Summer

For most families, going back to school is a task that introduces the kids to new places, people and activities. Those shared summer experiences soon become treasured memories that you and your children will cherish for the rest of your lives. For busy moms, however, finding the extra money to fund back to school supplies can be challenging. Fortunately, you have a variety of ways to save money and lots of opportunities to earn extra money too. Here are four unique ways to save and earn money while your summer comes to a close, so that you can enjoy quality time spent with your family.

Keep Your Cool

When the temperature outside begins to soar, it’s natural to want to lower the setting on your air conditioner’s thermostat, but the cost of keeping your AC on all day can quickly deplete your vacation funds. Using a fan allows you to raise the thermostat setting up to four degrees without sacrificing comfort. Fans only cost around five cents per hour to operate. Because they circulate air throughout a room, they’ll make your AC equipment run more efficiently too. For each degree that you raise your thermostat’s setting, you’ll lower your cooling costs by around three percent.

Try This Money-Saving Cooking Strategy

Operating your oven on summer days drives up indoor temperatures, forcing you to run your air conditioner longer to stay cool and comfortable. Cut down on cooking time by doubling your recipes. You’ll not only save money on your energy bills but will have more time to spend with the kids too.

Top-Dog Earning Opportunity

Most dog owners hate the idea of leaving a beloved pet in a kennel when work or pleasure takes them far from home. Providing dog boarding services in your home offers pet owners a more loving alternative. Caring for someone’s pet companion is a boon for your kids too. They’ll have a dog to play with on long summer’s days and you’ll have earned some extra money to help pay for a family vacation.

Make Money Off of Your Photos

It’s so easy these days to take photographs with smart phones that many of us collect a library of photos before we know it. Sites like iStockphoto offer you the opportunity to make money with your snapshots. Sign up for free and submit your photos. You’ll make some extra cash whenever a consumer buys your photo!

Scraping together enough money to take the kids back to school can be challenging for busy moms. A little creativity and healthy dose of determination can inspire imaginative solutions and make it easier to fund for those back to school expenses that will make each family member happy.

Shaye is a single mom that has a passion for family, budgeting, healthy living, fitness, and travel.

She loves finding new ways to cook healthier and stay fit, all while doing it on a budget.

She has a beautiful son and one eccentric dog, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

Follow her blog athttp://simplyshaye.wordpress.com!