Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Snoopy Tree

We put up a second Christmas tree today...this Snoopy-themed tree.

It's in our kitchen, on an antique red and white ceramic-topped table (that belonged to my Dad's mother) next to our kitchen table.

It's pleasant to see a Christmas tree while eating our meals each day...and the Snoopy ornaments even match our red and white apple-themed kitchen!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Tree Decorations

Apparently, T decided this afternoon that our Christmas tree needed a few additional decorations!  I walked into the family room and discovered he had put three of his DVDs on the tree.  :D

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Santa Claus

We went to the mall this afternoon so T could sit on Santa's lap!

T told Santa that he would like to receive a [Yo Gabba Gabba] Boom Box for Christmas.  :)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Christmas Program

In December every year, our chapel has a Sunday School Christmas Program.  The children wear costumes and learn songs and their speaking parts for the performance.

This morning, the children put on their costumes and photos were taken for a slide show which will go along with the performance.

     As the wise men continued on their long journey to find the king, they came to Jerusalem, where they stopped to ask King Herod where they could find the young king.  Herod called together his chief priests and teachers of the law and asked them where Christ was to be born.
     "In Bethlehem of Judea," they told him.  Explaining the ancient prophecy, the priests reminded Herod that long ago it was written:
     But you Bethlehem, in the land of Judea, are by no means least among the rulers of Judea; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.
           ~from The Christmas Story by Carol Heyer

The Christmas Program will be held on a Sunday evening later this month.  I'm sure I will have additional photos to share afterward!  :)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Book and Ornament Advent

T and I had such a good time last year with our book advent.  So, we are going to do it again this year!  :)  Here are the books I've selected for this year:

     A Shepherd's Gift
          by Mary Calhoun
     Careful, Santa!
          by Julie Sykes
     Christmas in the Barn
          by Margaret Wise Brown
     Gingerbread Baby
          by Jan Brett
     I Love Christmas!
          by Hans Wilhelm
     My Christmas Stocking, Filled with God's Love
          by Crystal Bowman
     My Merry Christmas and the Real Reason for Christmas Joy
          by Sally Lloyd-Jones
     One Snowy Night
          by M. Christina Butler
     Room for a Little One
          by Martin Waddell
     Saint Francis and the Nativity
          by Myrna A. Strasser
     Santa Mouse
          by Michael Brown
     Sugar & Spice - The Yummy Scents of Christmas
          (author unknown)
     The Christmas Story
          by Carol Heyer
     The Donkey's Christmas Song
          by Nancy Tafuri
     The Little Christmas Tree
          by Karl Rühmann
     The Littlest Christmas Tree
          by Janie Jasin
     The Night Before Christmas
          by Jan Brett
     The Twelve Days of Christmas
          by Jan Brett
     The Very Snowy Christmas
          by Diana Hendry

Actually, this list is all of the books we didn't get to last year...which is most of
them!  :P

I especially want to read the book, The Christmas Story by Carol Heyer.  She (the author!!) was so kind to visit my blog and leave a comment last year!  :D

For the first 18 days of December, T and I will read a Christmas book and make an ornament each day.  Then on December 24th, T and I will read the book, The Night Before Christmas...and hopefully make an ornament!

We will see if we can manage to read more Christmas books and make more ornaments than we did last year!  ;o)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Day


We got together with my husband's extended family on Thanksgiving Day.  His cousin hosted the Thanksgiving meal...for all 23 of us!  At least she didn't have to cook the entire meal!  :D  Everyone contributed to the effort.  We were asked to bring mashed potatoes, deviled eggs, and sweet iced tea.

Here is T, ready to eat!  Actually, I think he had already started on his roll.  ;o)

After dessert, the children enjoyed playing together.  T found a toy guitar....
He looks like a natural, doesn't he?

And here he is...ready for his afternoon nap, I think!  :)

I know I was ready for mine when I got home!  :P

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gingerbread Family

Tonight, I went ahead and made this gingerbread family meal for T's lunch for tomorrow.

(Tomorrow, T and I will be busy with appointments and pumpkin pie making!)

Here are some of the lunch details:

The gingerbread man sandwich is made on whole wheat bread with sprinkles for details.
The gingerbread woman sandwich is made on honey wheat bread with sprinkles for details.

The potato chips have an edible gingerbread man pick.  I cut a gingerbread man shape from pie dough using a mini cookie cutter.  Next, I baked it, and then I sprinkled it with cinnamon-sugar.  I put some peanut butter on the back of it to hold the toothpicks in place.

The cookies are Pepperidge Farm Ginger Family gingerbread cookies.

The applesauce is decorated with gingerbread man sprinkles.

My guess is that T will like his lunch...especially since it contains cookies, which is not usually the case!  :)

Linked to:
   Bento Blog Network

Friday, November 22, 2013

Foot, Again

"Silly old bear," said Christopher Robin.

When I went back to see the orthopedist on Tuesday, I thought I was going to get an "all clear -- good to go" from him...even though my foot still is not back to "normal."
Silly me.

Instead, I was given a prescription for four more weeks of physical therapy.  At least he didn't use the "s" word:  surgery!  Not yet, anyway.  He told me that if (at some point) my foot does not continue to get better, and if (at that point) my foot is not fully functional, then surgery is in the picture for me.

You can believe these two things:
     I will be going to physical therapy twice a week, faithfully (even though I
          am tired of going to therapy).
     I will be doing my physical therapy exercises at home, faithfully (even
          though I am tired of doing exercises).

I'm so totally ready for my foot to be "fully functional," as my orthopedist put it.

P.S.  If you don't know what in the world I'm talking about, you can read my last post about my foot here.  :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Carousel, Act 2

I made this meal for T for lunch today.  It is based on the musical, Carousel, by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II.

  • playing cards > rectangular-shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with candy decorations (for the 10 of stars and the Ace of flowers)
  • money > tossed salad of romaine lettuce (for bills) and carrots (for coins)

Synopsis of Act 2

Everyone reminisces about the clambake.  Julie sees Billy trying to sneak away with Jigger and, trying to stop him, feels the knife hidden under his shirt.  She begs him to give it to her, but he refuses and leaves to commit the robbery.

While they wait, Jigger and Billy gamble with cards.  They stake their shares of the anticipated robbery spoils.  They don't know that Mr. Bascombe already has deposited the mill's money.

The robbery fails.  Mr. Bascombe pulls a gun on Billy while Jigger escapes.  Billy accidentally falls on his knife.  Julie arrives just in time to see Billy die.  Julie strokes his hair, finally able to tell him that she loves him.

source:  Wikipedia

Linked to:
   Bento Blog Network

Monday, November 11, 2013

Carousel, Act 1 (continued)

I made this meal for T for lunch today.  It is based on the musical, Carousel, by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II.

  • sailboats > boat-shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with pretzel masts and paper sails
  • herring > goldfish crackers
  • clams > lemon cookies

Synopsis of Act 1, continued

More than a month passes, and preparations for the summer clambake are under way.  Julie and Billy are married now.  Julie confides in Carrie that Billy, frustrated over being unemployed, hit her.  Billy arrives with his ne'er-do-well whaler friend, Jigger.  The former carousel barker is rude to Enoch and Julie, then leaves with Jigger, followed by a distraught Julie.  Enoch tells Carrie that he expects to become rich selling herring.

Jigger tries to recruit Billy to help with a robbery.  However, Billy declines since the victim, Mr. Bascombe (Julie's former boss), might have to be killed.  Mrs. Mullin enters and tries to tempt Billy back to the carousel, but he would have to abandon Julie.  Billy is mulling it over when Julie arrives and tells him that she is pregnant.  Billy is overwhelmed with happiness, ending all thoughts of returning to the carousel.

Determined to provide financially for his future child, by whatever means, Billy decides to be Jigger's accomplice.  The whole town leaves in sailboats for the clambake...and Billy, who earlier refused to go, now agrees to join in.  He realizes that being seen at the clambake is integral to his and Jigger's alibi.

source:  Wikipedia

Linked to:
   Bento Blog Network

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Carousel, Act 1

Since we ate out for lunch, I made this meal for T for supper tonight.

It is based on the musical, Carousel, by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II.

Here are the details...

three carousel horses > horse-shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a striped paper straw placed inside of each

sparkling star > star shape cut from pie dough, baked, and sprinkled with powdered sugar and coarse sugar

starbursts with sparkling star picks > tortilla chips

Synopsis of Act 1

The musical begins with Billy polishing stars Up There...and then flashes back to how it all began....

Two young female mill workers in 1873 Maine visit the town's carousel after work.  One of them, Julie Jordan, attracts the attention of the carousel barker, Billy Bigelow.  When Julie lets Billy put his arm around her during the carousel ride, Mrs. Mullin, the widowed owner of the carousel, tells Julie never to return.  Julie and her friend, Carrie Pipperidge, argue with Mrs. Mullin.

Billy arrives and, seeing that Mrs. Mullin is jealous, mocks her.  As a result, he is fired from his job.  Billy, unconcerned, invites Julie to join him for a drink.  As Billy goes to get his belongings, Carrie presses Julie about her feelings toward him, but Julie is evasive.  Carrie has a beau too, fisherman Enoch Snow.

Billy returns for Julie as the departing Carrie warns that staying out late means the loss of Julie's job.  Mr. Bascombe, owner of the mill, happens by and offers to escort Julie to her home.  She refuses and is fired from her job at the mill.  Left alone, Julie and Billy talk about what life might be like if they were in love, but neither quite confesses to the growing attraction they feel for each other.

source:  Wikipedia

Linked to:
   Bento Blog Network

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Yesterday, I made this meal for T.

  • Gumdrop Gully is gumdrop fruit slices candy.
  • Pretzel Palace is Rold Gold Tiny Twists Cheddar Pretzels.
  • Animal Alley is animal cookies.
  • The path is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (honey wheat bread and whole wheat bread) cut into little squares.
  • CANDY LAND is Scrabble Junior Cheez-It Crackers.

I'm not sure T made the connection between his meal and the board game, Candyland.  It's been so long since we've played the game.  Nonetheless, T enjoyed his meal!  :)

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Here is our Egyptian boy.

No...we didn't coach him for that pose!  He remembered it from an old Blue's Clues episode he used to which Joe was dressed as an Egyptian.  :)

T had a good time playing games and trunk-or-treating at an Awesome Autumn Celebration, held at a church where he used to go for Awana.


This was T's lunch today.

  • pumpkin-shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on honey wheat bread with Twizzler Pull 'n' Peel green apple-flavored candy for vines
  • pumpkin-shaped pretzels
  • Little Debbie Pumpkin Delights filled soft cookie
  • apricot halves with pumpkin pick
  • milk in jack-o'-lantern cup

Spider Breakfast

This was T's breakfast this morning.

  • spider web-shaped pancake (food-safe marker details)
  • spider-shaped pancake, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar
  • vanilla yogurt in silicone spider liner, with candy eyes
  • milk in cup, with spider design

No...I didn't starve my boy!  haha.  I gave him a couple of additional pancakes...they just aren't shown.  

HaPpY  HaLLoWeEn!!

Linked to:
   Meatless Monday

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Creepy Crawly Spiders

T's lunch today was full of...spiders!

  • spider-shaped sandwich on honey wheat bread (with sprinkles for eyes)
  • spider web-shaped sandwich on whole wheat bread  (I used a food-safe marker to draw the spider web.)
  • tortilla chips (with plastic spider)
  • vanilla yogurt (in silicone spider liner, with candy eyes)

The spoon even has a spider web and spider on it.  :)  For a placemat, I used a little spider web-shaped rug that I purchased at Target.  (I found it in their dollar section.)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


I went back to see the orthopedist yesterday afternoon, and...
Yay!!  --No more cast!  :)  That was a looong five weeks.

Now, I have to go for physical therapy three times a week for the next four weeks...
with lots of exercises to do at home between PT sessions...and then back to see the orthopedist.

The orthopedist told me yesterday that although my foot is better, the ligaments are stretched still.  He said that if they don't go back to "normal" and I'm having pain in four weeks, then we'll have to talk about surgery.  Yikes!  :/

Has anyone been in a similar situation?  What did you do to help your ligaments go back to "normal"?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Czech Republic

I received two postcards last week.  The second one was from the Czech Republic.

This postcard shows the Giant Mountains...

a mountain range located in the northeast of the Czech Republic and the southwest of Poland. The border between the Czech Republic and Poland runs along the main ridge.  The highest peak, Sněžka, is the Czech Republic's highest point with an elevation of 5,256 feet.

On both sides of the border, large areas of the mountain range are designated national parks.  The River Elbe springs within the Giant Mountains.  The mountain range has a number of major ski resorts and is a popular destination for tourists engaging in downhill and cross-country skiing, hiking, cycling, and other activities.

source:  Wikipedia


I received two postcards last week.  The first one was from Russia.

The sender did not mention what this building is, where it is located, etc.  Also, there is no identifying information printed on the back of the postcard.  (Is it a building with a mural?  Is it a candy factory?)

I have requested some information from the sender.  Hopefully, she will respond!  :)

If you are reading this post and happen to know Russian, will you translate the words on this postcard?  :D

Update - Wednesday, July 2, 2014:

Thank you, dear reader, for providing some information about this building!  (See the "comments" section below.)

Reader Response

I received an e-mail response to my post, Language Guidelines (day 15 of my
31 Days challenge).  I thought her message was interesting and worth sharing.
She wrote the following:

I found your post, Language Guidelines, rather...interesting.  :)

I so agree with what you wrote regarding the "nicer" ways to refer to disabled people
, but you'd be surprised at how many families of these children refer kindly (with no ill intentions at all) to their family member as "my down's baby" or "my severely-burned child" or "my little handicapped boy."  It usually takes me by surprise when they say it, and it's not a way I plan to refer to any of them -- ever.  But I do understand that when they do it, they're not degrading their child, just pointing out which one.  Still, what you posted was a great thought for someone who might never have considered this before.

One other thing I must an explanation.  I always refer to DS as "Down's syndrome" for a reason.  It's not that I'm careless and haven't looked into the proper way to write it! When I read on your blog this morning that the correct way to write it is without an apostrophe, I quickly looked it up again.  The first thing my computer brought up was this:
and the second thing was this:

I was glad because I knew the way I wrote it was correct, though it might not be the most common way today.  Let me tell you why I prefer to write it the way I do....

::  Down's syndrome was first identified by Langdon Down.
::  Asperger's syndrome was first identified by Hans Asperger.
::  Alzheimer's disease was first identified by Alois Alzheimer.

These other two always are written with an apostrophe since they are named for the one who first identified them.  Down's syndrome used to be written with an apostrophe, and it was dropped over the years.  I still choose to use it for a reason.

Several different times I've been asked things like, "Is it normal for him to be so happy? Doesn't he have Down syndrome?  Aren't those people usually 'down' acting?" (like downcast); or they've said things like, "He doesn't act like he has Down syndrome!  He's so happy; he sure doesn't act 'down'!"  This is when I was able to explain to these individuals that the name "Down's syndrome" came from the man who identified the disorder, not from the behavior of these people!!!

Personally, I feel that calling them people who have Down syndrome is degrading!  They aren't Down!  They just happen to have a disability that was first identified by someone who happened to have that name!

(Note:  I obtained permission from her to quote what she wrote in her e-mail message to me.)

Do you have any comments or thoughts you'd like to share regarding my Language Guidelines post or this response to it?  :)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Language Guidelines

Pleasant words are like an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones. ~Proverbs 16:24

Here are some Public Awareness Guidelines.
  • The correct name of this diagnosis is Down syndrome.  There is no apostrophe (Down).  The "s" in syndrome is not capitalized (syndrome).
  • An individual with Down syndrome is an individual first and foremost.  The emphasis should be on the person, not the disability.  A person with Down syndrome has many other qualities and attributes that can be used to describe him or her.
  • Encourage people to use people-first language:  "the person with Down syndrome," not "the Down syndrome person."  A person with Down syndrome is not "a Downs."
  • Words can create barriers.  Recognize that a child is "a child with Down syndrome" or that an adult is "an adult with Down syndrome."  Children with Down syndrome grow into adults with Down syndrome; they do not remain eternal children.  Adults enjoy activities and companionship with other adults.
  • It is important to use the correct terminology.  A person "has" Down syndrome, rather than "suffers from," "is a victim of," "is diseased with," or "is afflicted by" Down syndrome.
  • Each person has his or her own unique strengths, capabilities, and talents.  Try not to use clichés when describing an individual with Down syndrome.  To assume that all people have the same characteristics or abilities is demeaning.  Also, it reinforces the stereotype that "all people with Down syndrome are the same."

Here are some guidelines for using People-First Language.
  1. Put people first, not their disability.
    ::  A "person with a disability," not a "disabled person"
    ::  A "child with autism," not an "autistic child"
  2. Use emotionally neutral expressions
    ::  A person "with" cerebral palsy, not "afflicted with" cerebral palsy
    ::  A person who had a stroke, not a stroke "victim"
    ::  A person "has" Down syndrome, not "suffers from" Down syndrome
  3. Emphasize abilities, not limitations.
    ::  A person "uses a wheelchair," not "is wheelchair-bound"
    ::  A child "receives special education services," not "is in special ed"
  4. Adopt preferred language.
    ::  "cognitive disability" or "intellectual disability" is preferred over "mentally retarded"
    ::  "typically developing" or "typical" is preferred over "normal"
    ::  "accessible" parking space or hotel room is preferred over "handicapped"

I encourage you to allow some pleasant words to flow from your mouth this day.  :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Special Speaker

Occasionally, we have had the pleasure of hearing a guest speaker at the parent chat on Saturday afternoon at the Star Gazers family camp.  One year, our guest speaker was Karen Gaffney.

Karen Gaffney is the first person with Down syndrome to swim the English Channel as part of a relay team.  She accomplished this feat in the summer of 2001.

Karen trained vigorously and relentlessly for more than a year to prepare for the notoriously rough 21-mile crossing from Dover, England to Calais, France.  Karen's training gave her the endurance she required to swim two or three one-hour legs in 60-degree water, the strength she wanted to battle wind and waves, and the speed she needed to pull herself through the water faster than the current.

Also of note is Karen's educational background.  In 1997, Karen graduated from St. Mary's Academy, a prestigious college prep school in Portland, Oregon, where she earned a regular high school diploma.  In 2001, she graduated from Portland Community College, where she obtained an Associate of Science degree and received her teacher's aide certification.

Karen is the president of the Karen Gaffney Foundation, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to championing the journey to full inclusion in families, schools, communities, and the workplace for people with Down syndrome or other developmental disabilities.  Through this foundation, Karen strives to:

  • instill renewed hope in the hearts and minds of new parents of a child born with Down syndrome or other learning disability for a full, productive, and inclusive life
  • motivate parents to new thinking and positive action so they will begin immediately to build the potential of their child
  • heighten awareness and raise expectations of students, counselors, educators, and those in the medical profession of the capabilities of children with Down syndrome to learn, grow, and contribute in an inclusive setting
  • promote community involvement and action for the support of people with disabilities

source:  Karen Gaffney Foundation

Karen delivered a motivating speech at Star Gazers.  We were impressed and inspired by what she already has accomplished in her life...and encouraged to consider the myriad of possibilities and opportunities life holds for our dear ones with Down syndrome.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


And the shape of the day is:  circle!

Today, I put together this lunch full of circles for T.

  • circle-shaped open-faced peanut butter sandwich with Craisins dried cranberries features
  • circle-shaped Ritz peanut butter cracker sandwiches
  • circle-shaped homemade savory crackers
  • applesauce with circle-shaped sprinkles and circle swirl picks
  • milk

Shall I point out that the placemat is circle-shaped...and that the plate is circle-shaped?  I guess I will since this lunch actually doesn't appear (to me, anyway) to be all that exciting.  :P

T only ate the sandwich, applesauce, and one or two of the crackers.  He didn't even drink all of his milk.  I guess he wasn't hungry for some reason...or possibly this lunch didn't look all that exciting to him, either!  :P

Star Gazers, Part 3

The last day, Sunday, is always a short one.

After breakfast, we walked back to our cabin to pack.  On our way, we saw a deer in the middle of camp!

After packing up most of our belongings, we drove the short distance to Pretty Place for chapel/reflection.  You can see why it's called Pretty Place.  :)

After chapel, everyone headed back to camp to watch a slide show of the weekend. The staff always does a nice job of putting together a recap in photographs, put to music.

A tired boy after a long, fun-filled weekend

After lunch, we loaded our vehicle and said our good-byes...until next year!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Star Gazers, Part 1

In September every year, the YMCA Camp Greenville hosts a weekend camping adventure, called Star Gazers, for families who have children with Down syndrome. The camp is located in a beautiful mountain setting at the North and South Carolina state line.

This year, as usual, the weekend began late on Friday afternoon with check-in and cabin assignment.  All of the cabins have sinks and toilets...some also have showers. I've learned from experience to register early!  I'm not much of an outdoors-type person to begin with...but factor in having to walk to a shower house, and I'm not a happy camper!  :P

Our cabin assignment this year - Mulligan II

Slices of a large tree branch were provided...for making name tags.

My husband, making our name tags

T, wearing his name tag

Supper was served in the dining hall.  (It takes T a while to "warm up" to being around so many people.)

After supper, we participated in the ice breaker games.

Dancing a little

And then...the best part of the evening...the campfire and making s'mores!

Toasting a marshmallow

A little closer to the fire works better!

Is it done?


Next, it was time to make our beds.


All tucked in for the night....

Night-night sweet boy....