St Gabriel Windows

St Gabriel Windows
Photocopy c. 2013 Jamie Laubacher

Friday, March 30, 2012

Wilson Phillips - Hold On

This one goes out to all my friends who are struggling right now...with life, with school, with special needs children....with anything...God bless you all...stay strong and remember to Hold On, one. more. day. Tomorrow things will be different.....things will change.

Till You Come To Me - Spencer Day

This song seemed to frame my summer last year; discovered it through my son's radio station when he was DJ'ing smooth jazz favorites last year at his it's a keeper.

10 Things my Autistic kids wished you knew

10 Things my Autistic kids wished you knew

Very nicely articulated thoughts to consider at Lost and Tired

Monday, March 26, 2012

"The Hunger Games" (SPOILERS) - A Commentary by Fr. Barron

Oh Fr. Barron has some good thoughts....up to the last minute of this, he has an interesting vision of what if...Christianity no longer exists in the future....

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Charlotte's T-Tapp Success Story: mother of 12! Size 22W to 6

T-Tapp Hoe Downs: 3 minutes of carb busting

My new exercise craze :) I like!

Kate Winslet helps lend voice and support to Autism


The Golden Hat: Talking back to Autism, Kate Winslet, Keli Thorsteinsson

I’m loving that I have this book coming any day now!  Can’t wait for it.  After seeing the movie: A Mother’s Courage, Talking back to Autism, several times, I am thrilled that awareness is being raised in so many areas.  Kate Winslet narrates the wonderful movie that chronicles the journey of a mother from Iceland who seeks out the best intervention and therapies for her non-verbal autistic son Keli (pronounced cay-lee).  He is the sweetest boy…what an angelic face perplexed by confused processing and sensory issues.  I fell in love with this precious soul from the beginning.  To watch his mother’s committed search for help, is both heart-wrenching and uplifting.  She literally travels the world, talking to families who have up to 5 children affected with autism and a variety of specialists, finally ending up in Austin, TX (where they now reside). The treatment Margaret finally decides will likely help Keli  comes by way of another mother whose son was severely impaired by autism and yet this mother believed to “assume intelligence” and find a way to help them communicate.  She believes in educating those who are impaired, and has discovered they can be educated; they are just locked away in their impairment, not fully able to communicate.  Her interventions and treatments are astoundingly successful.  She, Soma Mukhopadhyay, is the founder of the Rapid Prompting Method. She is the Mother Teresa of helping those with autism to gain dignity and respect and a place in life that brings quality and satisfaction to even those severely impaired by communication and sensory deficits. 

You can read more about all these great Autism helps and resources at the links provided.

Also  here is a link to a good article about the Golden Hat project and Keli and his mother Margaret from 

The Gift Of Communication For Kids With Autism And Other Special Needs

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Brushing: part of a sensory diet

This week marked the first of the addition of occupational therapy to Mark's regular schedule of language therapy.  Last week, Mark was evaluated for OT, and there are three areas the therapist is working on with him.  Interestingly though, we learned to "brush" Mark, a special technique that improves his faculties in many ways and helps him perform better and feel better.  It is a form of deep compression and is followed by joint compression (in his case, some pressing against the other person with his hands trying to move them....rather isometric in nature).  All this can be read about at several sites, but here is one I found that details it pretty well.

Sensory Deep Pressure Brushing Program

While Mark hasn't had much of a problem with touch overall, being touched just normally, teeth brushing, hugging, play,  like many children on the spectrum do, the brushing in his case helps stimulate the calm receptors which are also important to helping his overall sense of well being.  I know another child in my house that could benefit from brushing also!....the one that asks for his back to be scratched even when it isn't itchy. I've no doubt his sensory disorder is the main reason.  So brushing helps children who have defensive physical sensory difficulties set up.
This is the little special brush; at our therapy facility is cost $1.59!

The OT therapist had Mark doing a few things, such as climbing up the rock wall to a platform and jumping into the crash pad; climbing through a tube and attempting to push a ball through the stocking part of it at the end (he didn't like being in that stocking part...put up a fuss, and backed out of the tube -- uh, I don't blame him! lol) ...playing rebound with  a small ball and trampoline slanted, modeling with some kind of plastic play-doh like well as putting on his own socks and shoes..She used a picture schedule to help him see a visual of how his time would be navigated.  

So, we keep working at Mark's functional language and physical capabilities that he can interact more normally and smoothly amongst his peers and people in general.

And as a closing note, one of the best things we did a year and half+ ago, was have Mark evaluated - just knowing there was a hint of something going on, that tipped us off, and pulling ourselves out of denial of it.  I am so glad we did.  I am very grateful for the fine specialists and therapists that have helped him (and us) so much.  If you think your son or daughter may have anything akin to sensory disorders or autism spectrum disorder, including Aspergers, which is a very high end autism...but does have some tell-tale should have them evaluated/screened through pediatric neurology if at all possible.  It will begin you on a path of help for them that will be so necessary to their achieving the highest and best quality of life in spite of any disorder that may get in their way. It's best to know -- knowing is your path to betterment for them.

Flying Babies adorable

Check it out:
Rachel Hulin Book 1 Flying Babies series
Baby photos....
So stinkin' cute I can hardly stand it!  

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Learned and Yearned Areas of Focus

SPRING has definitely arrived early in my part of the country.  I can not even recall in the last 20+ years a St. Patrick’s Day as beautiful and sunny and near balmy as we just had.  Amazing.  All this wonderful spring weather motivates me all the more into spring cleaning-flinging mood!

It started for me a few weeks back as I began to attempt a little tidying of some home school book shelves.  Soon I realized there were many books and resources I really did not need any longer – I decided to begin selling off as much as possible to any takers.  And what didn’t sell, I’d export out of here to Good Will.  So my shelf cleaning has begun…and as I clean, I think, and think deeply.  I’ve discovered my “learned and yearned” list. The beginning of the new year has taught me several areas of focus:

First, from my “learned” list: don’t fight with so-called Facebook friends on your Facebook wall.  It’s your wall, yes…why a “friend” would pick a bone with you on your own turf, who knows!?…I don’t allow it any more…if you say your piece and are out of line with bad language, or rude remarks, I hit the almighty remove comment button on you.  If you don’t like it….you can unfriend anytime…if you keep it up, I’ll unfriend for sure.  It’s as simple as that.


Next, from my “yearned” list: I long to CLEAN and DECLUTTER! I am loving downsizing, I plan on seriously “unloading” this house this spring, even it takes all summer to do so.  I plan on simplicity taking over more, economical choices, and buying choices that will help profit some special organization that needs donations.  Pro-life and Autism come to mind. So when I’m not buying something second hand through an individual seller, I will be using a store that gives a portion of its sales toward a cause of my choice.

My “learned” list: eating well goes a long ways!  I am eating much better this year, and I’m patting myself on the back for having cut out the main sugar carbo garbage binge I seemed to have found myself indulging in since the holidays.  I’ve added more fish, tons of steamed veggies, yes that means brussel sprouts and broccoli…and whole grains and fruit.  My cereal is wholesome and nutrient packed.  I think I can see through the fog finally…


I “yearn” to take better care of myself; not easy to do with special needs children being soooo needy and carting them to therapies and schooling. But, I do vow to have the strange odd itchy patch on my back (left shoulder) looked at – I have an appointment first week in April.  And I will see my gynecologist about this terrible prolapse and find out what the heck is going on.  I have missed taking “good” care of myself – except for my teeth – for almost a two year span.  I have seen my endocrinologist, but I need to care for all of me that has been screened or checked in a couple years.  I do get nervous over that thinking the worst at every little feminine pain or hot flash that happens. 

I also yearn to have more spiritual time in prayer and be able to attend more liturgical events of prayer and contemplation with Our Lord as my center piece.  May God truly bless me this year with a closeness to Him that I yearn so much for daily.


I have also “learned” to stop “yearning” for the past.  I don’t yearn for much of it, but there was a window of time in my married and life-bearing years I wish I could have stayed in forever.  It was about 10 years long.  I adored it, I flourish and blossomed in it, I savored every wonderful moment of it.  I think of it often; I am grateful to have had it and try not to be bitter about it slipping away.  I think we all have years like that.  I bet you could name yours right now, and maybe you might still be in it.  Count your blessings!

So, lastly, I yearn for better budget control.  I think I will strive all the harder to put that into practice.  I will buy much second hand and help give the money to others directly in need, if they have what I need.  I know I’m doing nothing for the public economy this way – (I still have to buy groceries, however), but I will help provide more income for another family whose personal economy may be suffering.  Others have been very generous in buying my books and home school resources; it’s simple: I have a gently used product, they have a need for it and to save money.  It’s a deal! Sold!

Now if I could just find cheaper mascara that agrees with my highly sensitive eyes, I could save money, smile more and yearn less….if you have any tips on this…please leave me a comment! 

Becca and Me

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Autism site asks for stories

I was invited to write a story about someone with autism, and so I went ahead and did it today; you can read it here at this Autism support and education site:

Curriculum Sales on Mrs Apple Pie

More Curriculum Sales on Mrs Apple Pie's education shop!  Check it and tell some friends that might be looking!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Being a light to others; responsibility

"In our prayer to-day, we can ask ourselves: Do I dedicate sufficient time to my religious formation, or do I allow myself to become absorbed by the other things that fill each day? Do I have a plan for reading, reviewed in spiritual guidance, which will help me make progress in doctrinal formation according to my age and background? Am I faithful to the Magisterium of the Church, knowing that there I find the light of truth rather than the contradictory opinions I often come across in matters of faith, social teaching, etc? Do I try to get to know the teachings of the Popes and to make them known? Do I respect them with piety and docility? Do I frequently rectify my intention, offering up all my actions to God, taking into account our tendency to seek applause, recognition and praise for what we do? Am I constantly aware that this is often where the deformation of one's conscience begins?

We need light and clarity, both for ourselves and for those around us. This is our big responsibility. The Christian has been placed by God as a lamp to light up, for others the way towards God. We ought to educate ourselves to face the rush of people who are going to press upon us with a specific and urgent question: 'Well then, what must I do?' [Escriva, Furrow, 221] Children, relatives, colleagues, friends, they all look to our behaviour and we have the responsibility of leading them to God. And so that the blind person's guide is not himself also blind [Matt15:14], it is not enough to have second-hand knowledge or mere hearsay. To lead our friends and relatives to God, a vague and superficial knowledge of the route is not enough; we need to have walked it ourselves........."

(from Lenten volume of: In Conversation with God)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Making strides…

Around this time of year as spring shows signs of really breaking through, I am usually full speed ahead getting my second grade class ready for First Communion.  This year is no different, only first communion comes a couple weekends earlier, so I am a little more anxious preparing the way.

Usually a mother of one of my students will make the banner, but the last couple years, I’ve constructed one….this year I’m using some of this kit to put onto a much bigger banner (30” x 48” approx),

There is also a chalice and host and many little lambs, and the children’s photos will adorn the banner as well.  So far, it’s looking very lovely.

This time of year I also begin to realize how lax I am in caring for myself and my personal health.  The needs of my family exhaust, and especially the needs of my special children, and the above and beyond kind of care I must give them. Yes, I definitely see my endocrinologist – that has happened consistently without interruption for the last 13 years, even when I’ve had to bring babies in tow and drag younger children along.  But, just now I’m catching myself – during Lent no less – with the bad eating habits that have probably long persisted well after the holiday seasons!!!  I am adjusting, for the sake of just feeling better, everyday, hoping to squeeze out every last bit of energy I can muster….and ward off the effects of menopause as it seems to drain me so much with a bad thyroid.  I really need to power eat! I am looking at having to have female surgery in the near future, for needed repairs to a prolapse that has increasingly worsened….in the meantime, a little weight loss and some more exercising will help patch the way a little longer – buying myself time, yes, I am.  I dread the thought of the hospital stay, mostly because of my son that suffers from serious anxiety- panic disorder….I’m not sure how we will manage – or how my husband, mother or older children will manage him and the horrible freaking-out that can ensue when I am not here for several days…….I guess some day I will be writing the rest of this story…..

In the meantime, I am adding more fruits and veggies and whole grains to my lazy-as-of-lately diet.  I am committed to eating a beautiful healthy apple each morning with my raisin bran :), dowsed in skim milk.  I have some new supplements coming and I’ve already added some much needed vitamin E capsules along with my evening primrose oil to my daily regimen.

Hoping for a good day today as we look to tying up many loose ends, and anticipate loosing that hour tonight for Daylight Savings…..always an adjustment.

Have a great day wherever you are…..may peace and confidence in God’s plan for you be yours.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Just one of my peeves…you know :)

I just don’t know if I can get excited about this (The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins).  Yea, I know, I’m a real downer with these things :)..but bear with me, remember I’m a conservative Christian kook …I’m not too relaxed on many issues or fads that the general public hold up as the latest and greatest….in fact, that always seems to make me suspect. I’m very particular with my children in regard to literature and movies; I always have been and I imagine that isn’t likely to change any too soon…especially when I have an ultra sensitive – is prone to nightmares by the most unlikely events child in my home.  But, even before him, I began child rearing with a commitment to quality control in the department of books and T.V./movies. 

I am not a preacher  -- good thing for my readers!…but I do have an opinion and I do share it with conviction on occasion, and I may meet with flack, no doubt  but most of my thoughts are well articulated, (and some fears as to why I will not let my children read or view this new release) in this interesting and very thorough perspective on The Hunger Games as reviewed by Focus on the Family.  Whenever I want to know the “real truth” about something out there …I turn to Focus on the Family because they give “details”, details I need to know in order to know if I can say yea, or nay.  The Hunger Games had enough nay in them for me to say “no” this time around. 

While my children are young and very impressionable I feel it’s my job to filter for them – after all, the public at large, the authors, and the movie industry isn’t doing it, I don’t expect them to, they aren’t raising my children, nor do I prefer them to.   And yes, I was the ogre mom that said no Harry Potter, no Twilight and early on, even no Pokemon (although I lost on that last one with one child who seemed to be able to have access to it through cousins and well meaning friends…) ..later I banned it. 

The Hunger Games

as reviewed by Focus on the Family

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Pink Lemonade Pound Cake

I know, I know!  But this looked SO came from a blog where PINK things rule :)

Pink Lemonade Pound Cake

1 (18.25 ounce) package lemon cake mix
1 (3 ounce) package instant lemon pudding mix
4 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup pink lemonade concentrate
4 drops pink or red food color, optional

1 cup frozen pink lemonade concentrate, thawed
1/2 cup white sugar

1) Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour one 10-inch tube pan or
bundt pan.

2) Combine the cake mix, lemon pudding mix, eggs, vegetable oil, 1/2
cup lemon concentrate and the milk. Mix until smooth. Pour the batter
into the prepared pan.

3) Bake at 350 for 50 minutes to 1 hour. If your oven runs hot be
sure to adjust accordingly!

Remove from oven and prick cake all over with a fork. Immediately
pour lemonade glaze over top of cake.

Let cake stand in pan until almost cool.

Combine the remaining thawed frozen lemonade and the white sugar. Mix
thoroughly and pour over still warm cake.
Glaze above makes a delicious moist cake that is sure too please. Alternative glaze This glaze will  give more of a look like the photo French Vanilla icing in a jar or from scratch Lemon Zest add to taste pink food colouring.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Me and books....unorganized??? c'mon!

The unorganized messy shelf ......yes, isn't it pitiful! lol!  It has seen much neater organized days and weeks and months and years...but not lately!  It is one of my projects as I clean and clear, sell off books, and begin to look ahead to a new school year.  Oh the memories on this shelf!! P.S.  Yes, that's Pope John Paul II up above there....holding it all down!

Saturday, March 03, 2012

The Trouble with Cousins: Peter Rabbit & Benjamin Bunny

Peter Rabbit has his fair share of trouble, and mostly for good reason...the little rascal is disobedient to old Mrs. Rabbit.  He defies her instructions and finds himself in terrible dangerous trouble in Mr. McGregor's garden.  More so, Peter and his relations have some dangerous adventures together as is simply a case of not listening to mother rabbit!  When Peter pairs with his cousin Benjamin, there is always some tense moments!  Benjamin is always looking to get into trouble and in the end get a "switching" from his old father rabbit!

It's so interesting that Beatrix Potter seemed to hit upon human inclinations when personifying her Peter and Benjamin.  You know how there are those friends, cousins and siblings alike that seem to lure you into mischief as well as get you in trouble every time!  You can't seem to say no to them....Peer pressure...the rabbit family has a load of this trouble in these sweet stories of Potter's that teach simple and helpful lessons.

This week I'll be tackling The Tale of Benjamin Bunny for my K -3rd grade co-op group.  We will dabble in water color painting this round, and I'm trying to figure out more room for my bunch, as there is up to 18 of them now.  I like to get them cozy on the carpet first, gathered around my reading area with their furry stuffed friends they've brought to keep them comfy during the reading of the story.  Then I have them move to the table for the activity part....only this room isn't nearly as big as I had hoped, and with so many gathered 'round table, and doing a special art project, they are pretty tight.  I don't want them to accidentally infringe or spill paint upon their neighbor's work.  I will need to re-think this set up I think!

Friday, March 02, 2012

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

 Too Many Daves
   by Dr. Seuss

Did I ever tell you that Mrs. McCave
had twenty three sons and she named them all Dave?
well, she did.  And that wasn't a smart thing to do.
You see, when she wants one and calls out 'yoo-hoo!
come into the house, dave!' She doesn't get ONE.
All twenty three Daves of hers come on the run!
This makes things quite difficult at the McCaves'
as you can imagine, with so many Daves.

And often she wishes that, when they were born,
she had named one of them Bodkin van Horn
and one of them Hoos-foos.  and one of them Snimm.
and one of them Hot-shot.  and one Sunny Jim.
and one of them Shadrack.  and one of them Blinkey.
and one of them Stuffy.  and one of them Stinky.
another one Putt-putt.  another one Moon Face.
another one Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face.
and one of them Ziggy.  and one Soggy Muff.
one Buffalo Bill.  and one Biffalo Buff.
and one of them Sneepy.  and one Weepy Weed.
and one Paris Garters.  and one Harris Tweed.
and one of them Sir Michael Carmichael Zutt
and one of them Oliver Boliver Butt
and one of them Zanzibar Buck-buck McFate...
But she didn't do it.

And now its too late.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Peter Rabbit....should have listened to Old Mrs. Rabbit!

So enjoyable to be teaching a Beatrix Potter literature course at our local home school co-op this session.  I love good literature and feel we owe it to our children to expose them to good literature, elevate their language/vocabulary and lure them in with a good story and exciting characters.  Peter Rabbit and friends are so likable.  The children today were so upset Peter was getting chased all over the garden by Mr. McGregor and so afraid he wouldn't get away!  And the sighs of relief...when he finally got out of the garden and raced home.  oh my!

Peter didn't listen to his mother Old Mrs. Rabbit - he disobeyed, and had quite a terrible day!

We did a lovely little craft and next week we'll try our hands at water color painting as we learn about Peter's cousin Benjamin Bunny this next time.