Weird Little Sweet Potatoes, From Slips to Dinner

Hello!

Remember when I told you about our sweet potatoes?

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We grew them in two containers on our back porch.

They came out very small, and weirdly shaped.

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Today we peeled and cut,

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boiled,

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mashed,

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added eggs, milk, and butter,

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and then added pecan and brown sugar topping,

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After baking for forty-five minutes,

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it’s very good.

From botany project to dinner dish, this was a fun project. Every child (save Patrick) took part in planting, caring for, harvesting, and then preparing the potatoes.

Aidan and Bee are planning on changes for next year to try to get a larger crop.  :-)

Talkin Big Bang Theory -Is Sheldon Cooper Disabled

Hello.  I hope everyone is enjoying their Saturday. It’s my first quiet weekend in ages and the calm before the holiday rush.

One interest of mine is representation of disability, especially mental disability in the media including film, print and television programming not only in the news but also fictional portrayal.

I’ve discussed at length my indignation with the media response to the  murder of the disabled, but I do not believe I’ve talked much concerning fictional programming.

Last weekend I had an interesting twitter chat concerning disability and its representation in television.  That conversation led to a podcast concerning Sheldon Cooper…

and so here are my thought concerning the questions the podcast author posed.

 

Baking with Pete – Making chebe bread

One literacy goal for my autistic son Pete (classic autism w/intellectual disability) is to use checklists for shopping, school work, and working in the kitchen.  I do not know how independent he will grow to be, but I do know he has a better chance if we work on the skills he needs to be so.

Today Peter made chebe bread, a Brazilian bread that is made of tapioca flour and cheese.

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I re-wrote the directions large and in discrete steps for Peter to follow, and got the supplies for him ahead of time.

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Pete loves cracking eggs,

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mixing,

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rolling,

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and checking things off.

Pete put them in and took them out of the oven with supervision, hence, no pictures.

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These yummy cheese rolls are now devoured.

:-)

App Recommend – Dragon Box Elements

A few weeks ago, Bloke School shared an app review of “Elements” a geometry app from the makers of DragonBox Algebra 5+ and 12+ Based on that review we decided to give it a try. So far Aidan has finished the game of the highest difficulty level. Lily is playing on the normal difficulty level and finding the last level challenging.  My lower elementary kids are playing in “easy mode.”  The upper levels do become progressively harder but I feel that even if they don’t solve the last tier this year, they have still gained from working with the app. Here is a video of Tessa (5) working on a higher puzzle:   The goals of both types of app are not to have five year olds working on geometric proofs or capable of algebra one work.  The idea is to expose children to different maths concepts with arithmetic, complicated language and symbols removed.

“In the beginning of the game, players learn to identify shapes based on their properties. Next, logic-based puzzles are introduced. To solve the puzzles, players must use the properties of given shapes, which are placed in complex figures of overlapping shapes, to draw conclusions about other shapes in the figure. As the game progresses, players use the definitions, postulates and theorems presented in Euclid’s Elements to solve increasingly sophisticated puzzles. The logical reasoning in the game is identical to the logical reasoning used in formal geometric proof, only with a kinesthetic gaming component that allows players to develop logic pathways with their fingers.” http://wewanttoknow.com/elements/

Raising Wild Flowers

How does your garden grow?

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When I lived in the country I grew roses.  I grew varieties of the most beautiful shades and intricate pattern from climbing roses to tea roses, to old fashioned bush roses.

It was magnificent.

It was also a magnificent pain in the ass.

Why?  Roses are picky plants, especially where I had planted them. They needed constant pruning, fertilizing,  treatments for fungi and rot as well as, I’m not proud to say, insecticide, to keep the aphid from devouring them.  Watering them was a daily chore as well, because our area experienced drought every single summer.  Even taking the best care of them, the environment was sometimes just not amenable to their needs.  A warm spell in winter would wake them out of dormancy, and the following frost burn them. It was a bad environment but I MADE them endure.

They lived on, so beautiful, and so fragile. If I stopped tending them in this manner, they would begin to whither.

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Our city flowers are mostly painted

Some believe in cultivating children like roses. “Train them up in the way they should go…” Bend them and train them to grow right, clip them and shape them.

Children on the autism spectrum are often cultivated in this manner in numerous hours of therapy, social skills training, goals for normalization, and pathological labels for every single action and inaction.

They grow up in a finely tuned and controlled garden.

One day years ago, my father who was helping me weed my garden, asked me, “Do you know what a weed is?”

“What?”

“Anything the gardener or farmer doesn’t want.”

Usually its an indigenous plant doing well,  because it actually belongs there.

Wild flowers are a case in point.

People spend quite a bit of money to make sure no wildflowers grow in their yards. The county mowed down my butterfly field last year because where I saw a butterfly habitat, they saw weeds.  As a culture, we happily destroy indigenous plants that attract the pollinators we need for most of the food we eat.

You don’t really need to do anything to encourage wild flowers except leave them alone and make sure they actually belong in the environment.

My children are wild flowers.  Give them the correct environment and enrichment and they grow in all directions.  I just try to provide the environment and let them take off and see what happens.

This is the case for my children with ASD as it is for the girls with no labels.  Call me  a rebel but I do absolutely nothing to encourage them act like the “normal” most therapies attempt to achieve. No one needs to have eye contact or sit at the table perfectly to be “work ready.” I don’t try to channel their special interests into more typical past times. I don’t discourage stimming, or scripting,  or perseverating.

That is their nature, not their illness.

Using their gifts and strengths we work toward learning and communicating without fear.

I find I don’t need to bend them to be an unreachable “normal” for them to bloom.

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My opinions are mine. My sharing about my life takes into account you may not share all of my views.

 

 

 

 

Free Resource for Ecology and Environmental Studies

I meant to make a vlog today, but it just didn’t happen.

I spent most of the day laying in bed with a migraine wishing I had my very own trepanning kit in order to relieve the pressure in my head.

Ten hours later, its subsided to a dull ache and an overwhelming feeling of fatigue. I’ve lost the light necessary to make a vid and won’t have time to make one tomorrow.

but  BUT  BUT!!!

I do have a very cool resource to share with my  U.S readers.

The USDA forestry service produces educational magazines all about ecology called the “Natural Enquirer” and provides them FREE (you don’t even need to pay shipping) to educators (school/homeschool/community education, you name it).

A few days ago I requested a sample pack. Dude. Look what they sent me!!!!! It looks to be one of every copy since 2011!

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These are visually appealing and

  • are full of relevant ecology issues such as invasive species and climate change

 

  • are aligned with National Science Education Standards (very useful to the classroom teacher but also important for some homeschool documentation needs)

 

  • contain glossaries, diagrams, “meet the scientists,”  discussion and reflection sections

You can order your own here:

http://www.naturalinquirer.org/all-issues.html

 

Parenting the “low functioning” with sore feet.

Afternoon perspicacious peeps!

I’ve got a story for you.

Yesterday, while carrying dinner to the table, I stepped on an octonaut, barefoot which is almost as painful as stepping on a Lego barefoot.

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Not only do Octonauts hurt when stepped on but when on wood floors, they slide as well.  I almost ended up on my arse covered in hot pork chops.

I was angry and so launched into what may be a universal mom rant.
“Nobody around here cleans up unless I ask!!!  Nobody lifts a single finger to tidy unless I make them!  

You rather pretend the mess isn’t there!!!!

 I’m tired of it!! 

Couldn’t you clean up something just once ONCE without my asking you????  HUH???

Nothing but guilty silence followed. Then we ate pork chops and played mad libs.

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“Unfortunately it was Dr. Frakenstein’s fragile fate to be destroyed by the very paper towel he created.” Grammar CAN be fun.

The mom rant is important to remember.

Now,

let me tell you about my 12 year old.

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Pete has a classic autism diagnosis and while Pete is verbal and writes, he has never communicated more than basic wants and needs via either. I hope he does express more someday, I haven’t given up on that. (why should I?) He expresses a great deal without words and  using echolalia.
He has an eye condition in which his eyelid is often irritated and while we clean it with eye wipes and have medicine its still sometimes itchy.  To keep him from rubbing it and making it worse, I give him a cool wet washcloth to put against it instead.

I don’t let him get his own because he doesn’t wring it out properly and theres water everywhere (and he hates having his clothing wet) so he brings it to me.

This morning Pete brought me a washcloth.

“Washcloth????”

Instead of using it on his eye,
he wiped down the coffee and end tables.

While he does have chores, we do them together, and wiping off things is not on his list.

*smiles* At least one kid was listening.

Now  that frustrated moment is over, I can say the kids DO help out without being made to,  not as frequently as I would like but hey…

Pete is awesome.

You know who picks up his stuff without my asking the most often?

Pete.

Which kid do I like to bring shopping because he makes a task I loathe enjoyable?

Pete.

Who is the kid most attentive to his studies?

Pete.

Who is the most cuddly kid in the house???

Pete.

He’s also the kid some would label “low functioning.”

He’s also the kid society expects, (as his ssdi evaluator said to his face) to “not have much of a life.”

He’s also kid people assume I would have aborted had I known he  would be as he is. The one Autism Speaks assumes must be ruining our family life.

He’s also the kid people simply assume dangerous.

He’s also the kid people think isn’t capable of connecting with other human beings.

He’s  also the kid many don’t consider a human being at all.

I know that people who believe these things are also people who would quickly dismiss the love we have.  They would quickly dismiss his value outside of economics. They would quickly dismiss any positives I found as either not enough, or mistaken, as being autistic, my perception of relationships is “flawed.” They would also say “At least your kid can talk..” Any excuse to invalidate my opinion would be used.

I’m not talking to those people, theres no point in arguing with them.

I’m talking to the reader who made it through this post because their mind is open to consider different perceptions and experiences.

You may read that our kids are incapable of connection. You may read that some think Autism is worse than death.  You may see negative portrayals in the media. You may hear about the next murdered child and wonder,

Are they right?

They are not.

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I don’t believe in functioning labels as they are far too subjective, tend to vary depending on environment and activity and are often used to dismiss the autistic labeled so (either way, low or high, its an excuse to say – you cant be in the convo)

Hiking the Blue Ridge Historic Railroad “Rail Trail” amongst Opulent Fall Color!

amandasmills:

reblogging, this is beautiful!

Originally posted on Sonnolenta... A Neurodivergent Journey:

On October 30, myself, boy and dogs set out a few miles up the road to hike the Blue Ridge Historic Railroad Trail. It was a gorgeous Fall day, and the leaves were close to peak color! The first mile of this trail includes numerous placards on or near trees and shrubs identifying them, making this a great trail to walk for leaf identification. (great homeschooling resource!) This hike is 2.7 miles in each direction, for a total of 5.4 miles.

We didn’t visit Stumphouse Mountain Tunnel on this hike, but I have been there before about six months ago and took many interesting photos- I will share in the future as I have a long backlog of hiking trips and photos I have not posted!

This moderately difficult walk follows the incomplete nineteen-century rail bed of the Blue Ridge Railroad where you can see three abandoned tunnels. Start…

View original 181 more words

There is no such thing as "normal."

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