Saturday, October 12, 2013

Halloween Candy Alternatives

Are you wondering what you can do this Halloween about at the candy your kids are going to get from trick or treating? Let me help you with some idea,s which allow your kids to feel like they partake in the holiday and don't get gypped. Here are some ideas and links to help with this Halloween.

For older kids:

  • You can simply buy back their candy. This works well with older kids.

  • Two years ago I found a dentist that bought my kids candy by the pound and then he shipped it to our troops overseas.

  • You could also get gift cards to their favorite places and trade out the candy for a gift card.

For little one's you can go with these ideas:

Set up a "shop" after they are done trick or treating you can have a table with items from the dollar store or appropriate candy and have prices near them. For example:

  • 25 pieces of candy for : a  plastic ball or whoopee cushion
  • 5 pieces of candy for: fruit snacks like Annie's or TastyBrand
  • 10 pieces of candy for: pack of stickers

You get the idea. The kids might think its really fun to go shopping after they trick or treat. I suggest giving them a heads up so they know what to expect when they get home.


  • Stickers
  • Plastic ball
  • Whoopee cushion
  • Play dough Halloween packs- sold at Target
  • Temporary Tattoos
  • Glow Sticks
  • Bouncy Balls
  • Hair clips
  • Hair bands
  • Fun Socks
  • Match box cars
  • Earrings
  • Nail Polish
  • Squishes
  • Bubbles
  • Slime
  • Fruit Snacks : bunnies, Tasty (they have Halloween characters at Costco)
  • Lollipops without all the bad stuff

Some sites to buy stuff at are: they have gummies, lollipops and chocolate that is all 8 major allergens free - Liam can't eat these due to dairy, but if you can have dairy and not nuts, corn, soy or gluten this site is for you! - freeze dried fruit in a bag gummy fruit snacks

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Breakfast ideas

A typical breakfast for us is eggs and bacon. Its nice to change things up a bit though so the kids don't get sick of it. Here is what we eat. I will try to post the recipes soon.

  • Eggs: scrambled, fried in olive oil, or steamed with some water and a lid. 

  • Meat: Bacon, Canadian Bacon, sausage patties all nitrate free. Sometimes I just cook up a bunch of meat and give them a fruit smoothie and they are good to go. 

  • Frittata: I will take a 8x8 Pan and spray with coconut oil or Olive oil. I put left over carnitas, or ground sausage or turkey from tacos, ham, or bacon on the bottom. Next I take whatever veggies I have. For Liam I saute them so they are a little less crunchy. Don't saute too much because they will cook down in oven. His favorite is bell pepper, spinach or kale, and mushrooms. Savy my daughter loves all those too as well as asparagus, onions and garlic. After you layer the veggies on top on the meat you pour over beaten eggs. For our family its usually 10-12 eggs. If you have ramekin's you can make individual ones for your kids. Then just place pan in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Take a toothpick and poke the center, if it comes out clean then its cooked. I make this ahead and cut up into squares and store in a glass container and reheat in the mornings for school. 

  • Smoothies: My kids love smoothies for breakfast. I make fruit ones, chocolate banana ones. I will post these recipes soon.

  • Muffins: I make muffins up a head of time. Right now my kids are loving an almond flour blueberry muffin. click here for the recipe 

  • Oatmeal: When Liam isn't feeling so great he still asks for Oatmeal. This would be a cheat he has that isn't Paleo. I let him eat it though because it seems to feel good on his tummy.

If you have any questions feel free to ask. 

Almond Flour Blueberry Muffins


2 cups Almond Flour (the finer the better)
2 Eggs
2 Egg whites or 1/3 cup of organic egg whites
1/4 cup of Agave, Honey or Coconut Sugar. I use whatever I have on hand
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 TBL Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tsp. Vanilla
2 TBS Grape seed oil, Sunflower Oil, Avocado Oil or Coconut Oil. I have used all of them and they are             all great. 
1 Cup blueberries. Recently I ran out of blueberries so I did 1/2 cup blueberries and 1/2 cup                          Raspberries and it was delicious. 


Pre heat oven to 350 degrees
Place all ingredients together except the berries in a bowl. Mix up until smooth. I have put it all in my Blentec and it works great too. Fold in Berries. If you don't have paper muffin cups spray the muffin tin with your favorite oil. Scoop batter into muffin tin with a scooper. I love my melon ball scooper. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy!

Bone Broth

When Liam's tummy is really bothering him or when he is in a flare up my go to is ALWAYS Bone Broth. It heals a leaky gut because the gelatin in bone broth protects and heals the mucosal lining of the digestive tract and helps aid in the digestion of nutrients. It fights inflammation in that it is very high in the anti-inflammatory amino acids glycine and proline. It also helps with bone formation, growth and repair. The calcium, magnesium and phosphorus in bone broth helps our bones to grow and repair. 

I use the broth for just drinking hot when he isn't feeling well or if were sick with colds. I will also make Chicken Soup with the chicken and add lots of yummy vegetables like carrots, celery, green beans, onion, etc...

Gut-Healing Chicken Broth Recipe


  • 1 organic whole chicken

  • 8 c of water

  • 4 -6 stalks of celery, finely chopped

  • ½ white or yellow onion, finely chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

  • 1 inch ginger root, finely chopped

  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

  • ½ teaspoon of apple cider vinegar

  • 2 Organic carrots chopped


Place all of the above ingredients in a crock pot and cook on low heat for 8 -10 hours.

I like to cook mine until the meat is falling away from the bones.

I make this just before bed and it’s ready and hot for breakfast.

You can store any excess broth in the freezer and defrost for a later time.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Vision Therapy Week 2

Week one down and I was feeling pretty good about it. We met with Dr. G and she had some new exercises for Liam as well as wanting to continue some of the ones we did the first week.  This week we jumped for 30 minutes a day to about an hour. I did not track the progress with the blocks. I continued this as play time for fun. She did not say to continue charting, but to just do it if we had free time.

She wants Liam to continue tracking letters on the wall one eye at a time. This time however we spaced them 2 inches apart instead of one.  The beginning part of the week his results were:

  • Right eye it took 1 minute and 51 seconds with 7 errors
  • Right eye it took 1 minute 18 seconds with 5 errors. 

  • Left eye it took 1 minute 46 seconds with 5 errors
  • Left eye took 1 minute 30 seconds with 3 errors.

By the last day of the week his results were this:

  • Right eye it took 1 minute 17 seconds with 3 errors
  • Right eye it took 1 minute 22 seconds with 2 errors
  • Right eye it took 1 minute 11 seconds with 1 error

  • Left eye it took 1 minute 11 seconds with 3 errors
  • Left eye it took 1 minute 10 seconds with 2 errors
  • Left eye it took 57 seconds with zero errors

I was so excited to see these results at the end of the week. Liam was so proud of himself that he got zero wrong with his left eye.  I think it was the first thing he said to Dr. G when he saw her.

The second exercise was a new one. It was called Visual Motor exercise which was timed or used a Metronome. For those who don’t know what a Metronome is you can look it up here. You don't have to buy one, you can get it as an application on your phone :)

The first Visual Motor exercise was with lines. It was a sheet a paper that had straight lines with a line at the right or left side of the line or a line in the middle. For this one Liam had to use his right or left hand and hit the table depending on which side the line was on. He had to use both hands when it was in the middle.  The paper was so confusing with so many lines that we started with the page being covered and only one at a time being visible. See picture below.

I would time him and tally up his errors for this one. The results from the beginning of the week to the end were HUGE!

I covered whole page except one. Went one by one

  • First time it took 2 minutes and 30 seconds with 7 errors
  • Second time it took him 2 minutes and 13 seconds with 6 errors

Last day of the week:

I did not cover page and pointed to each row

  • First time he did it in 1 minute and 19 seconds with 6 errors
  • Second time he did it in 1 minute and 9 seconds with 3 errors
  • Last one he did it in 1 minute and 3 seconds with 2 errors.

To go from the whole page covered to uncovering it and just pointing to the beginning of each row was amazing. He even noticed how much he had improved.  We were both so happy.

The next exercise was similar but it was a paper with a line then it had a circle on the top, bottom or middle of line. He would have to say “Top, Bottom, Middle” to the beat of the Metronome.


First day: bmp (beats per minute)

  • 45 bpm he had 4 errors
  • 50 bpm he had 4 errors
  • 50 bpm he had 3 errors

Last day:

  • 64 bpm he had 1 error
  • 65 bpm he had 2 errors
  • 65 bmp he had 1 error

The last exercise was called the Brock String.This is a picture of Liam learning the Brock String with Dr. G

 This exercise helps him with 3-D and forces the eyes to work together. This one was by far our hardest. Liam had a TON of tears. He would get a headache and nauseous from this one. This one you have a string and it has three beads on it (green, yellow, red) and you have to put the string up to your nose and focus on the beads. Liam had to look at the first bead (green) and try to see it as one bead with two strings. This was super hard for him. He often saw two beads one string. The goal is to get the bead as close to your nose with both eyes focusing on it and keep it as 1 bead with 2 stings. We had a lot of trouble with this one. He also had to jump and go from the green bead to the yellow and then to the red and tell me how many beads he saw and how many strings. I was super confused about how to do this therapy with him. I think I did it wrong for the first 5 days. I ended up emailing Dr. G and she explained it better. We changed a few things up and it was a little easier. It’s kind of hard to explain his results because we did not do it right for many days but at the end of the week we were able to get the green bead from 44 cm to 20 cm from his nose. We are going to continue this one next week and maybe with more help from Dr. G I will be able to explain it better. 

A good tip for parents is to let your kids take a break. When Liam could not take it anymore I would let him run around the kitchen. This was especially fun because we have a no running in the kitchen rule. So he got to get energy out and break a family rule. You have to do what you have to do to get this therapy done. Good thing the starburst are still working too!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Week 1 Vision Therapy

Liam learning how to read the chart for his first therapy session. He was not thrilled about the pink eye patch. We changed that though and he was a lot happier. 

Liam and I were anxious to find out what Vision Therapy was going to look like for him. Every person’s therapy is unique to them. Liam’s therapy schedule looks completely different from our friend Alli because of his age, and eye issues. They have similar things that they needed to work on, but they tested at different levels. Each week we will meet with Dr. G and either get new therapy exercises or build on the ones he already is doing. My advice to parents is to buy a notebook and take good notes. Watch how the doctor administers the therapy. Listen to their cues and what they help the child with and what they let them struggle with. I also recommend taking video or pictures if it’s not distracting. A lot of the time I would refer to them to administer the therapy better.  Ask questions if you have them. It’s a lot to take in and you want to do the therapy correctly when you get home. You are the key to your child’s success.  After our appointment with Dr. G we went to the store and Liam got to pick our any candy he wanted (within reason of course). I told him that when he completed his therapy everyday he would get a piece as a reward. He was super excited about this especially, because candy does not exist in our house. Because of his Ulcerative Colitis we have to be careful with how much sugar he gets. He chose starburst which was perfect. It made him feel like he was getting something kind of big and it last a little bit because of all the chewing he has to do.

Okay so on to our first week. Dr. G started us off slowly. All together the exercises totaled 30 minutes a day.  The first exercise we had to do was one where Liam had to track letters on the wall one eye at a time. I would time him for this and tally up his errors. The beginning part of the week it was a big struggle for him. The letters were spaced 1 inch apart and displayed in two rows and he stood 6 feet back.  The first day his results were: Right eye took 2 minutes 23 seconds with 5 errors and his left eye was 2 minutes and 35 seconds with 6 errors. By the end of the week his results were: Right eye 2 minutes 2 seconds with 3 errors. His Left eye was 1 minute and 19 seconds with 2 errors.  I was really pleased with the results and I was excited to hear if we get to move the letters 2 inches apart.

The next exercise we did that week was a 3D exercise. He had to wear red/green glasses and I look at two circles and track them as I moved them further and closer apart. This one was hard for Liam. 3D seems to be a big struggle for him. I am not really sure there were big results from this exercise. I think it was a little hard for him.

The last exercise we did that week was blocks. You may be thinking blocks? Yes, something as simple as blocks was part of our therapy. Liam has never really liked playing with blocks. This was by far his favorite therapy so far. I would have him sort the blocks and time him. The first day he was able to do it in 1 minute 42 seconds with 0 errors, and by the end of the week he did it in 59 seconds with 1 error.  The other exercise we did with the blocks was having him duplicate patterns. This part was fun because I could have his sister be a part of it. She wanted to feel included so she would build a pattern and he would try to build the same one. At the beginning of the week his results looked like this:
  1.     4 blocks missed one that was vertical
  2.     4 blocks missed one that was horizontal
  3.     5 blocks he did it perfect.

At the end of the week it looked like this:
  1.      5 blocks zero errors
  2.      6 blocks 1 error. Placement error
  3.      6 blocks with 1 error. He connected one block that should not have been

So as you can see he improved from the beginning of the week to the end. Dr. G was very happy with his results when I emailed them to him.  The 3-D one she said was obviously difficult for him and so she said we would be changing that one up and trying something else for week 2. 

Over all I really feel Liam did great. Its a lot to ask him to go to school for four hours then come home and do more. But he was excited and did a good job listening. I found that if I let him choose which order to to the exercises it went a lot smoother. It gave him a sense of control. I kept it really positive and stayed upbeat with him. When he needed a break I would give it to him.