Special needs article read in DC – Muffins for all!

I wrote something for Yahoo! Voices titled “5 Things to Know About Parents of Children with Special Needs” two years ago.    I ended the article with suggesting friends and family help these exhausted and overwhelmed parents out by bringing them coffee and a muffin.  Versions of the piece were published in regional parenting magazines across the U.S.

Then I was brought to tears (the good kind!) when a sweet note and Starbucks gift card arrived in the mail with instructions for me to go pick out my muffin.

You see, I wrote the article from personal experience.  I’m the exhausted, overwhelmed parent of a child with special mental health needs.

I got an email last week from someone asking if they could read my article in Washington DC.

“Today I am in Washington DC as part of a panel to discuss topics about technology and how legislators can embrace innovative ideas and tools to help people with special needs and their families.  A key construct of my talking points calls out the time it takes to process applications and other reporting and the toll that it takes on families in the form of delays and additional workload for parents and caregivers.  I plan on reading your post “5 Things to know about parents with special needs kids” to emphasize this point.  If you agree I would also like to give you credit for the letter you wrote.  If you do not feel comfortable with me naming names I won’t, but I want to assure you I will read your letter verbatim and will not attempt to distort or manipulate your message.  I am here in DC to get people to listen and work toward a better tomorrow.

(I am the CIO of an organization called Tri-Counties Regional Center based on Santa Barbara, Calif.  We are a private non-profit, part of the CA Department of Developmental Services and provide services and supports for people with developmental disabilities.  We serve 13,000 people on the central coast of CA with Cerebral Palsy, Developmental delays, epilepsy, and Autism and associated conditions.)

Please let me know if it is ok to give credit to your letter publicly.”

Of course, I gave permission and was absolutely honored.
Hopefully this will lead to many more people getting support.  And muffins.
Fitbit Zip

Free Printable Valentine’s! Last Minute Valentine’s Day Cards!

Get your last minute Valentine’s Day cards here!  These free printable Valentine’s are ready to go.  Print them off, cut them out (there’s four to a page), have your child write their name on the back and done!  Click on the image to make it bigger for printing.

For extra credit, attach a little treat.  You’ll come off like a Super Mom!

“You make my day POP!”  Include a package of popcorn or Pop-tarts.  Attach the Valentine with tape or get fancy and tie it on with ribbon.

Free printable Valentine

“You rock!”  Attach a package of pop rocks with these!

"You rock" Valentine's Day printable

“You’re sweet” – perfect for any type of candy!  Use your child’s favorite, whatever you already have in your pantry, the brand buy-one-get-one-free at your grocery store or your LEAST favorite kind (so you won’t be tempted to eat them all!).

Sweet Valentine

“You sparkle!”  This is great for attaching a glittery non-food item, such as stickers or pencils.

free printable Valentine

And a little bonus.  My sweet cat saying, “You’re the cat’s meow, Valentine!”  He’s adorable enough all on his own, I think, but feel free to add a piece of candy or other treat.

cat Valentine

My favorite sounds…no fall leaves or bubble wrap

Favorite sounds…..

That’s going to take a bit of thought.

I’m trying to be diligent to BlogHer’s NaBloPoMo prompts for October.  The theme is “fall.”  Today’s prompt asks, “Which sound is more satisfying for you: crunching leaves underfoot or bubble wrap popping?”


These questions are lame.  I looked over the list of prompts.  There are a few ones mixed in.  I’ll hang with it for those.

I don’t have to use the prompts, but I thought that would be a fun part of the challenge.


I don’t have a preference between hearing bubble wrap pop and leaves crunch under my feet.

I’m a Florida native, so I’ve never heard leaves crunch under my feet, but I imagine it would be something you just get used to and don’t notice at all.

Bubble wrap pops are annoying.

Unless you’re the one doing the popping, of course.

I’ve never really thought about sounds I enjoy….


My absolute favorite sound is my husband and daughter laughing together.

Here are some more:

  • My husband singing along to his favorite songs
  • My daughter calling me “Momma”
  • “I love you’s” from my husband and sweet girl
  • My kitten’s baby meow (okay, he’s an year and a half old, but he still cries like an itty bitty baby)

Milo, my sweet bad boy baby kitty

  • When my close friends call me “Rach”
  • The light, gentle hum of a fan in an otherwise quiet room
  • When my daughter squeals, “You’re here, you’re here!” when I come home
  • Christmas carolers
  • My daughter and her friends sharing their tween gossip, secrets and questions with me

What are your favorite sounds?


I’m a pink lady apple

I’m totally a pink lady apple.

Strange way to start a blog post?

It’s in reference today’s prompt from the BlogHer NaBloPoMo project:

“If you were an apple, which type of apple (Granny Smith, Gala, Red Delicious, etc) would you be and why?”

Pink ladies are round, spotted, juicy, crunchy and sweet.

Yup, that’s me.

Round because I’m overweight and have been such I was a small child.  I am round everywhere – booty, hips, breasts, stomach, thighs, upper arms, face.  Round makes for good hugging.

I’m spotted.  I have fair skin, green eyes (with red highlights if I spent a lot of time in the sun) and LOTS of freckles.

LOTS and LOTS of freckles.

I sunburn easily so sometimes I’m red like an apple!

Pink lady apples are super juicy when you bit into them.  They are also crunch and sweet.

My juice comes from my eyes.  I cry a lot.

Any strong emotion has me in tears – happy, scared, mad, sad, frustrated, whatever.  It makes me cry.

I take pride in being caring and thoughtful (sweet), but I have crunch to me.  As I’ve gotten older, I push back and don’t let people walk all over me.

So there you have it me in an apple.

I’m a pink lady apple.

What are you?

Children’s Halloween Costumes – 80s Flashback!

Let’s talk children’s Halloween costumes!

I was born in 1978.  That means I was a child of the 80s.

My family didn’t have much money, so most of my costumes were handmade.  My mom didn’t have a whole lot of crafting ability, so there are some humorous photos.  My sister and I were Indians, punk rockers, ghosts and bags of jelly beans.

I remember having two store bought costumes, though.

One was Ernie from “Sesame Street.”  (My sister was cookie monster that year.)

The other was Apple Dumpling, the little orange haired toddler from the Strawberry Shortcake universe.

These costumes came in a cardboard box and were made of itchy, sweaty, gross vinyl.  They had plastic masks that were attached by a string on the back.  They had eye and nose holes, but seeing and breathing out of them was still a challenge.

Still, I was so proud to be Ernie and Apple Dumplin!

What were your favorite Halloween costumes as a kid?

Women’s Halloween costumes that aren’t slutty

Do you dress up for Halloween?  I don’t go far int to the women’s Halloween costumes section.

I like to get into the spirit of the holiday by throwing on a witch hat or some cat ears when I take my daughter trick-or-treating, but that’s about it.




However, my girl is 12 now and needs to move into adult costumes.  Finding something that isn’t slutty is a huge chore!

Seriously – just because a woman wants to dress up for Halloween doesn’t mean she wants to be a naughty nurse, naughty clown or naughty monkey.

She might not want to be naughty at all.

My daughter wants to be a police officer. She has plans to dress our dog up as her prisoner.

The cop costumes are all cut very low with extremely short skirts.  Some also have bare midriffs.

She wants to be a “pretty police” so a male costume just isn’t floating her boat.

I think I’m going to have to get a plus size costume just so there’s enough fabric to cover her!  And she’ll still have to wear a tank top and leggings under it!

I’m going to be a witch….again.  Black pants, black shirt, purple witch hat I got from the Target dollar section a few years ago.  Done.

Will you dress up for Halloween? What will you be?

Fall flavors: Pumpkin, apple, cinnamon – oh my!

I’m participating in the BlogHer NaBloPoMo October challenge.   Yesterday’s prompt was about my favorite autumn flavors.  Actually,  it said, “What is your favourite autumnal flavour?”

I didn’t know “autumnal” was a word.

And I was surprised by the British/Canadian spellings.

My WordPress spellchecker is, too!

Oh, and, did you notice that I already messed up this blogging every day thing by skipping day two?


Anyway, my favorite fall (or “autumnal”) flavors… (or flavours)….

Pumpkin, of course, in all forms.  Canned and fresh.  Pie (but I’m not a fan of crust), muffins, cakes, cookies, smoothies, bread. I even like adding it to savory dishes like black bean soup or chili.  And, of course, pumpkin pie spice hot beverages!  Kashi used to make a great pumpkin spice granola bar, but I haven’t seen it in a while.

And pumpkin seeds, too!  NatureBox has amazing sea salt and cracked pepper pumpkin seeds.  User code REFER25 for 25% off your first delivery.

Apples.  Raw, baked or used in dishes.  Hot apple cider.  Homemade applesauce.

Cinnamon.  Kind of goes in line with the pumpkin pie spice.

This is one of my favorite fall dishes:

Cabbage, turkey sausage, apple and onion

It has cabbage, turkey sausage, apple and onion.


What are your favorite fall flavors?


I love October

October is finally here!

It’s my favorite month of the year.

It means a slight reprieve from the boiling Florida heat.

It gets darker earlier and there is a tiny bit of crispness in the air.

I love seeing pumpkins everywhere.

Oh, and I love eating pumpkin goodness, too!  Muffins, coffee, cakes, cookies – even chili!

Everyone is calm before the craziness of the holiday season kick in.

Kids are so excited about Halloween.

Oh, and October is the month I saw my sweet daughter’s face for the first time while looking at photos of children waiting to be adopted.

That makes the month even sweeter!

My own October Pumpkin!

Quick & Easy Homemade Garlic Knots

My local grocery store (Publix) has their bakery balls of pizza dough on sale for buy-one-get-one-free this week.  I bought two last time they were on sale and still had one in the freezer.  I thawed it out today to make homemade garlic knots.

This is the “after” photo.  There weren’t many left after dinner.

Homemade garlic knots

Here’s how to do it:

  • Mix olive oil, onion powder, garlic powder, Italian season and Parmesan cheese in a bowl.
  • Tear pieces of dough and roll them into balls.
  • Dip the balls in the olive oil mixture and place them on a baking sheet.
  • Bake at 400 degrees until golden, about 15 minutes.
  • Brush the tops with more of the olive oil mixture while warm.
  • Enjoy!

These were a huge hit.  We ate them with spaghetti and salad.

I’m going to buy more dough while it’s on special this week, but the homemade garlic knots were so good, I don’t know if I’ll ever make pizza with it again!