Friday, September 23, 2011

Morning and After School Tips for the Easily Distractible or ADHD Child

Morning Glory!

In the hectic mornings before school last year, I got tired of hearing my own voice reminding my child to fix her hair, brush her teeth, or finish getting dressed.  This summer, I came up with a song to the tune of "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes". If you don't know the song, you can check it out here:
These are our rewritten lyrics:
Hair, teeth, clothes, and shoes, clothes and shoes.
Hair, teeth, clothes, and shoes, clothes and shoo-ooo-ooo-oos.
Don't forget your backpack and your lunch!
Hair, teeth, clothes, and shoes, clothes and shoes.

So, when I see her in the morning half ready for school, I start singing the song. Or tell her to sing it.  So much more pleasant than yelling!

Chore and Homework System Pinned on her to diminish the "I forgots"! 

We have tried MANY chore systems that never seemed to work for one reason or another.  I came up with a clothespin chore system for my youngest, age 7, who does not work well from a list.  It is fairly simple, and inexpensive to begin.
I bought a dry erase board from the "Dollar Spot" in Target and a packet of plain clothespins from the grocery store.  I tried a smaller dry erase board first that didn't have enough room for the clothespins to fit around the perimeter.  So, make sure you find one that is at least 8.5 X 11". On each clothespin, using different colored permanent markers, I wrote down my daughter's chores and homework. Each day of the week has a different colored end, and an abbreviation for the day.  I let her help me with this part.

For example, Monday's pins are all orange, have a big M, and consist of the following-Lunchbox (for empty lunchbox and put away), Math homework, Spelling/Bible, Reading, Downstairs clean (she is to pick up all of her stuff lying around the house).

I keep extra clothespins to replace those that get misplaced.  If/when this happens, it will be helpful to have a list of the daily chores taped to the back of the board.   I hung the board near our back entry where she hangs her backpack every day.  She has already tried to move the board around to different places. But, that's generally how we misplace things because they don't make it back to their home. So, the board stays in one spot. Only the clothespins can move.  The rule is to keep them on her shirt, not set them down where she is working.

So, at 4:30, she chooses the clothespins for that day and clips them all to one side of her shirt. As she completes each one, she can move it to the other side of her shirt.  When they are all complete, she can dump them in the "complete" bucket.  For non-readers, this system could be modified using pictures.

We have also started a reward system. Right now, she is rewarded one quarter each day when all chores and homework are completed with a good attitude and without complaining.  When she has accumulated $5, we take a trip to her favorite yogurt place, Berry Cool!

Good luck!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Organizing/Clutter-busting/Goal Setting Links for the New Year

Some helpful, easy things to do to start 2011 with a bang!

Another site I Here's 31 tips to get started:

Be more organized next Christmas Season:
Debriefing Worksheet (Notes on what you loved or would change about how your Christmas planning went.  Print and store with your Christmas Decorations, or use the digital version and save to a name you can remember. ):


This year I am going to go through the book-Organize Now, by Jennifer Ford Berry. I have purchased MANY organizing books, and I love this one because it goes week by week, and lays out the plan in easy lists. Here's the link to check it out:

Real Simple Ultimate To-Do List (a place to record macro and micro-goals-and a way to clear your head for calmer thoughts):

Keep unwanted mail/etc. from coming into your house:
Opt out of mailings (credit offers, catalogs, magazine offers):

To opt out of Credit Card mailings. This is an option on the dmachoice website, too. I'm not sure if you need to do both.:

Opt out of Valpak coupons, Click on link, then on Mailing List Removal Request Form :

Stop Yellow Pages being delivered:

Happy New Year! Make 2011 less stressful by taking baby steps to get organized!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving-Gluten Free!

I was going to come up with how to have a gluten free Thanksgiving, but someone else has already done it for me. Check out:
Click on the recipes under "Thanksgiving Just for You".

If you are having guests over that eat gluten free, don't stress! There are lots of gluten free recipe sites online. Many times, if you use a gluten free recipe, your other guests might not be able to tell the difference.  So, no need to make two of everything.

The first rule of thumb is to assume gluten is in everything! Manufacturer's sneak it into things like soups, dressings, and marinades, to name a few.  If you have the option of making a whole recipe, and the only thing with gluten in it is the cracker crumbs/breading on top-just leave off the crackers on a portion of it for your gluten free guest. This would only be an option for those that are not super-sensitive to gluten.

The hardest thing is finding good substitutes for bread and rolls.  Usually the frozen gluten free sandwich bread in regular grocery stores is not very good.  Whole foods sells Udi's breads and bagels that taste like the real deal. Another tip-many gluten free baked goods and breads taste better toasted.

My kids and husband like the Bisquick®-type Drop Biscuits.  The recipe can be found here:
I can't really enjoy them, knowing they are made with shortening!

A good bread option could be pumpkin bread or zucchini bread. I made these pumpkin spice bars today, and they are delicious. I left off the icing and they are still yummy!

Here's my mother-in-laws great recipe for gf cornbread:
2 cups Pamela's Baking Mix (or new GF Bisquick-we haven't tried it with that yet)
2 cups cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups milk
2 Tablespoons Oil

Bake in 9x13 or muffin pan (12) at 400 for 20-25 minutes.

Have a Happy, Healthy, Gluten Free Thanksgiving!!!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stocking a Gluten Free Pantry

Switching your entire family or one person to gluten free?
Here are a few basics (We've tried them all):
Ancient Harvest Quinoa Products-they make flakes for hot cereal (I use this in bar recipes), Traditional (Similar to rice-Use it as a side. My kids LOVE this stuff!), and Pasta
Betty Crocker Brownie Mix and Cake Mix-tastes like the real deal!!
General Mills is making things easy and putting GLUTEN FREE below the ingredients list. They have a lot of things listed on their website that are GF:
Cheetos-regular, Fritos-original, Lay's-original 
(all of the above are Frito Lay Products. Their website has a long list of other GF snacks)
Envirokids Cereal
Gluten Free Pantry Brown Rice Pancake Mix
Pamela's Baking & Pancake Mix-see website for recipes, I buy a big bag on Amazon.
Remember always double check ingredients! There's an app called "Is that Gluten Free?" that can be very helpful.
Happy Hunting!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dining out-Gluten Free

Get used to saying: “Do you have a Gluten Free menu?”… 
Sometimes, you’ll be surprised!  It never hurts to ask. When first embarking on a gluten free diet, it's easiest to stick to a few dining options until you learn more.  It always helps to research your options before you go. Here are a few restaurants to get you started.

Restaurants that have a GF menu:
(We live in the Austin area, but most of these, you can find elsewhere.)
Austin’s Pizza *
Brick Oven
Carraba’s Italian Grill 

Fresh Choice-notes the gf items in buffet
Kona Grill
North by Northwest 

Olive Garden
Outback Steakhouse * (you can get dessert here!!!)
PF Changs * (I did not love their gf dessert, but it's been a while since I tried it)
Pei Wei
Z Pizza
Z Tejas *

 * These are our faves!

Fast food:
The bad news is that you will have limited choices for fast food. The good news is that you will be eating more fresh and healthy foods from home or in a sit down restaurant. Sometimes, if I know I’ll be out and about all day, I’ll pack a lunch. When you are out of the house and desperately hungry, here are some options and pretty much the only ones where we’ll eat:

grilled chicken breasts
some of their grilled salads
Kids meal-request grilled chicken strips. You might get the blank stare-but you can nicely tell them that they do it all the time, or request to speak to the manager. It does seem to take longer for them to get it ready for some reason, so be patient. Ask if the fries are fried alone or with breaded items. Only get them if fried separately. To make it easier-just order the fruit. The workers are usually very helpful, so you can always ask for help.

Taco Bell:
Pintos and cheese
Crunchy taco
Taco supreme

My kids get the kid’s meal burger, no bun

Meats and many sides are gf

Kid’s meal cheeseburgers, no bun, with fruit
I get the sausage breakfast burrito and just eat it with a fork (it does touch the flour tortilla, but I’m not that sensitive)

You can find more options and detailed information on:, Many restaurants have allergy information on their websites, so you can check those too. 
Always verify ingredients before you order and eat. Servers do the best they can, but don't be afraid to send it back if they mess up your order.  One example-you get flour tortillas instead of corn.

10 Easy Gluten Free Snacks

A lot of people, when they find out my kids and I are gluten free ask what we can eat. Here are some easy snack ideas:

1. Fresh Fruits
We eat a lot of fruit, except melons!  Lainey is allergic to all melons-cantaloupe, honey dew, and watermelon. That'll be another post topic.
2. Fresh Veggies
3. Cereal
The following are a few we like and are safe:
Envirokids has a few flavors we can eat-says gluten free on the front, Chex (the ones that say Gluten Free)
Fruity Pebbles (these are a treat they get at the Grandparents' house!)
Glutino Flakes with Strawberries
4.  Popcorn
5.  Yogurt
The ones without the granola/cookie add-ins are okay
6. Trail Mix, and plain nuts
We can only eat the trail mix with real M&M's. The mixes with chocolate candies have wheat in them.
7.  Chips
The following are a few examples that are gluten free:
Fritos-plain, Doritos Cool Ranch (not regular), Tortilla Chips, Lays & Ruffles-Sour Cream & Onion and Cheddar, Cheetos, HEB brand "Doritos" are okay
8. Fruit snacks and fruit roll-ups
9. Pepperoni slices
Bryce made up "Baby Pizzas"-tortilla chips, spaghetti sauce, topped with pepperonis and parmesan cheese. I get the turkey ones at HEB.
10. Goat cheese and gluten free crackers
Our favorite crackers are the Glutino brand-cheddar, Fave goat cheese-Chavrie with Basil and Roasted Garlic
(***Always verify ingredients and check for cross-contamination issues if you have Celiac disease. We are not Celiac, so we can eat things made in the same warehouse as wheat products and things that have the disclaimer-May contain traces of wheat.  But, we stay away from all things that list the following in the ingredients: wheat, rye, barley, malt, hops, spelt, rye. My family doesn't react to oats. Some gluten intolerant people do-so you might need to check items for oats if that's the case for you)