Fruit cake Sugar Rush

“Agh! I am die!” he flops on the kitchen floor in a fine rendition of faint.
“What's up dear?”
“I can be eating dah poison cakes.”
“Oh that's o.k. they're not for us.”
“I am not eating dah fruit cake?”
“No. They're for the school and anyway they're not fruit cakes.”
“You are be poison my school!”
“No, no, no. No poison, just little cakes for the bake sale to raise revenue.”
“Um…..make money for the school. People pay money for the cakes and the money goes to the school.”
“People's are be paying for poison? Dat is insane!”
“They're not poison,er…..poisoned, just cake.”
“Cake wiv poison fruit.”
“Oh those are just decorations made out of sugar. They're not real fruit per se…..not really real fruit.”
“Dey are real fruit cakes?”
“No. Americans are afraid of fruit cakes……..I mean……American's don't like fruit cake and there is no fruit anyway.”
“Dey are leaf cakes?”
“It's a leaf decoration not a real leaf.”
“Dey are apple cakes?”
“Decorations! Anyway, they're really lemon cakes.”
“Lemons is fruits.” I put the icing bag down to take a closer look at Mr. Logic.
“The point is…… don't have to worry about them because you are not going to have to eat them.”
“Dey are not being my new food for dah day?”
“Dey are sugar.”
“I am like sugar?”
“Er……you like chocolate.”
“I am not like sugar?”
“Well…..I don't think you've ever eaten sugar… such.”
“Maybe I am try to be eat dah sugar today as my new food?”
“I don't think sugar counts as a food.”
“Maybe I can eat a sugar leaf coz I am a vegetarian?”
“Great idea, but no. I need all my leaves.”
“No leaf for me?”
“No. I don't have enough.” I look at him. I dither. Should I? Shouldn't I? I am saved from having to make a decision as he skips off on a project of his own. I stack the boxes on a tray on the table and start the mountain of sticky washing up, behind with the laundry, skipping homework, overdue with supper preparations and generally dilatory on all scheduled routines. My daughter appears as I pop individual cakes and biscuits into individual containers because of germs or some such nonsense designed to drive busy people barmy, “Mom when's supper?”
“Ooo I'm not sure.”
“Whatur we havin?”
“Take a look and the board and tell me, I have absolutely no idea.”
“What's what dear?”
“It says 'new food.'”
“Does it? That's not very helpful. I wonder what I was thinking?” I step away from the sink, dry my hands on my jeans and peer through spotty bifocals, “who wrote that anyway I wonder?”
“You din write it?”
“No. Where is he?”
“He's in Nonna's room. He's pretending to be an ant.”
“Ah…..that's alright then.”
“Is he supposed to be eatin candy before dinner?”
“No he most certainly is not.” I march to Nonna's room, past the table with the cake boxes, with a glance back. The boxes have moved! I whiz on to intervene before his appetite dwindles too far to accept tonight's offering, “what are you doing under there Sonny Jim!”
“I am being dah ant. I am being my ant in my ant nest.”
“What are you eating young man? Halloween candy?”
“I am not eat, I am nibble.”
“What are you nibbling?”
“Leafs. I am being dah leaf cutter ant.”

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Squeak – Super Mario Bros Nintendo DS

Initially both my boys were diagnosed as ‘non-verbal’ or having ‘significant speech delays’ dependent upon which expert we favoured. These days, they have lots of words and they choose to share them with us frequently. However, I think it would be fair to say that as often as not, this is not their preferred method of communication. When the pressure is on, they both revert to type and communicate by gesture, mimicry and a wide variety of noises, each of which have very specific meanings.

‘Noises’ are the most difficult things to describe, but I recognize each of them like speed dial tones as they are so familiar and ingrained into our family life. They convey an emotion more succinctly, accurate and immediately than words.


I take him into the kitchen to show him. I tell him it is a surprise because this is one of the rare occasions when the ‘surprise’ will be met favourably. I warn him not to touch it, because it’s not dry yet, that it will take several days, until the weekend, to be dry enough to touch. I orient his body towards the counter and slip an arm around his shoulders to steady the pending explosion. With the other, I whip off the tea cloth to reveal his birthday cake decoration. Although he is static with the soles of both his feet on the ground, he still manages to pogo two feet in the air with flailing arms, and the noise. The noise is a cross between a whipped zipper, the sign off salute of a radio host and a pitch to shatter glass. He lowers his chin to the counter for a closer look before clutching my forearm with both his hands for a quick squeeze of appreciation and the lick of an affectionate puppy.

You can see lots more Mario Cakes over here.

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Wordless special exposure Wednesday

5 Minutes for Special Needs

This is shut.

This is open.

This is in use.

I just thought I’d better let you know after all the “ick” comments yesterday!

This is one place that you can buy a “Nifty Recycling Aid” at “Stacks and Stacks.” Mine was a gift. Beforehand, I used this.

I do have some words over at my other site, “Alien in a Foreign Field” called “The Invisible Hook.”

If you enjoy caption competitions and photographs, you may wish to nip along to“DJ Kirkby” over at “Chez Aspie” and test your brain power.

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Tackle it Tuesday – a touch of green

Try This Tuesday

*** Here’s a teeny tiny project for those attempting to go green but still have cold feet.

Maybe this should be a ‘guess what it is?’ post instead?

O.k. so what is it?

Need a bigger clue?

O.k. so whilst you think about it, first a little back ground to explain the truly ironic nature of this tackle.

Several life times ago I was married to a different man and therefore enjoyed a relationship with a different mother in law. The house of my mother in law, was like none other. Even now, some two and a half decades later, I have never experienced a household such as that.

To say that the house was clean would be an atrocious understatement. Not only was it hygienically pristine, it was also ordered. Her whole house was immaculate. Not the immaculate of Homes and Gardens, but the kind of immaculate where screw heads were sanitized with a tooth brush. To say that it was tidy would be tantamount to a lie. For example, I slept in the spare room. The spare room housed spares, spares of everything. Each spare was lined up in the closet and when I say 'lined up' I mean you could take a ruler just to check that each item was exactly spaced within the available space. The twin bed spreads were hand crocheted, as were all the other bed spreads within the house,……but I digress.

One of the most staggering, heretofore never witnessed by any living breathing creature, was the kitchen. To enter the kitchen was unwise unless you wore sunglasses. Bear in mind that this was England, mid winter where the light twinkled once every 24 hours on a Wednesday when there is an R in the month. I would stand in the kitchen wearing my muffled feet on one single linoleum square in total awe as I watched my mother in law wash plastic bags in the sink and hang them up to dry so that they could later be re-used. I would remain static in part due to the three hounds of the Baskervilles that glowered in the hall ready to eviserate anyone who so much as dropped a hair follicle. I knew at the tender age of 18 that house-wifery was not the career choice for me.

Later as I sat on a freshly laundered and ironed towel on the sofa, drinking Evian water from a dazzling, lead crystal tumbler, I wondered if I would ever reach such exotic levels of exactitude?

So now, I know that I too have advanced to bag washing and recycling. Furthermore, I have been reduced to making a bag, or rather a bag dispenser, for my washed bags, because for some reason, few people are willing to re-use a used bag when there are also new bags available.

Thusly, the first thing to do, is to hide the box of new bags and instead display this handy dandy bag dispenser, stuffed to the brim with old or rather, newly washed bags for everyone to use.

Now whilst I’m sure you’re clamouring for the ‘how to’ details, as luck would have it “Dioramarama” has step by step instructions over “here” which is just as well as I didn’t capture the moment myself.

I would just add that the careful selection of the correct material or fabric is paramount if you wish to engender co-operation and participation by other family members. Forget colour co-ordinated, aim for soft, or better still, super soft, as we wouldn’t wish to damage those little digits, now would we?

Get the code:-
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Magic Marker Best shot Monday

Hosted by “Tracy” at “Mother May I,” but the photo-picture below will whizz you right there with one click.

Just call me snap happy.

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It's just another ordinary day. The sort of day that is really no different from any other day, except that it isn't.

“Yes dear?”
“I am need.”
“What do you need dear?”
“I am need……….make a few invention that is never been made before.”
“Oh……that could be a bit tricky. What did you have in mind?”
“Yes for my new drink or maybe soup?”
I look at my son who does not drink soup and to date only drinks water and chocolate milk, if it is exactly the right temperature.
“Ah. How can I help?”
“I am get a bowl for my new invention.” I glance at the clock, two minutes home from school, three minutes until we leave for therapy.
“Maybe we should do this later, after therapy?”
“No. Get me.”
“Get you what dear?”
“No I am be get myself.” He flies to the fridge, a domestic appliance that is not on his radar. He heaves open the door to peer and mutter, “now let me see…..ah yes! Dat is what I am be needing.” I watch as he grabs the gallon container of milk. I do not believe he has ever held a container of milk before. He removes the cap, demonstrating superb fine motor skills and a heretofore unknown enthusiasm as he sloshes a cupful or two into a very large soup bowl. The fridge remains open as he selects orange juice and does likewise. He does not drink orange juice nor has he ever held a carton before. I watch mesmerized as he flies back and forth from fridge to counter adding mustard, ketchup, chocolate sauce and mayonnaise. He uses no protection. He uses no tools to avoid physical contact with any of the substances.
“What it is?”
“Dis fing dat I am using for my cook.”
“Mayonnaise dear.”
“Ooo dat is right, gotta love dah mayo.” Be still my beating heart. These are condiments that have been un-nameable and untouchable. He does not wear gloves. “I fink it is be needing dah one more fing.”
“Indeed,” I sputter blanched.
“Ah! I am be having dah whipped cream.” With the dexterity of the finest chef de patisserie he flicks off the top, inverts the can and sprays six inches of piped cream, a floating island of wonderfulness. “Carry!”
“Um… be carry it to dah table for dah decorations.” I lift the soup bowl and bear it towards the dining room table, in the centre for all to admire his creation. “I am be get dah latest fing.” He skitters across the room brandishing a jar of Maraschino cherries. I watch as his digits dive into the red syrup to retrieve a single stalk with a plump fruit to plop into the pillow of cream. He grins hugely at his feat, “an dat my fine friends, is dah perfick!” I feel a prick in the corner of my eye, because I know that eyes lie and my vision is untrustworthy. My brain is too wormy to manage coherent speech as his dad arrives to whisk them away to therapy. “Quick mom!”
“I am need.”
“What do you need dear?”
“A container.”
“Why love?”
“I am be take my ingredient soup drink to therapy, for Janis, so she can be dah lucky taster.” I pour and slop the soup, snap on the lid and pass it over. As the garage door slams shut I pause, lean against the counter and consider. I may be the middle of the day but it is definitely the middle of the night, a dream, unreal and surreal. My daughter appears, “aren't yah gonna clear up that disgustin muck Mom?” I look at the counter, covered in disgusting muck. It is definitely mucky and there is a void in the middle where the container once was. I touch the muck, just to check that it is really wet, that it is real and it is.

Lucky Janis.


p.s. If anyone doubts the dedication of therapists, I am happy to report that since Janis is such a jolly good egg, she did indeed sip the concoction.  Her assessment was whilst it was not exactly to her taste it was a thoroughly powerful brew.  Yeah Janis!

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I have to whisper, because you know I wouldn’t like to jinx it, but I wanted to share something with you, the week just past, because this is the weekend when we can share secrets, if we share them very quietly, so that you know who doesn’t get wind of it.

Here’s a few things:-
1. California shrimp sushi rolls
2. Pot stickers one shrimp one pork
3. Fish sticks, peas, corn, mashed potatoes and one micro dot of tomato sauce
4. Home made [white] bread
5. Egg and potato curry with coconut milk carrots, onions and celery
6. bread and butter pudding with marmalade [a bit like French toast]
7. wed  10/12/08 chicken corn enchiladas, peas, sloppy joes with lentils and tomatoes, spinach nuggets
8. thur  golden carrots, mashed potato, sausage, tomato sauce, sorrel
9. Fri  white fish fillets [breadcrumbed], red chard, rosemary potato chips, salad, avocado sushi rolls
10. Sat  wholewheat pizza with pepperoni, mozzarella and spinach, bean burrito.

These are some of the things that entered my son’s mouth and were swallowed, only a teaspoonful of each one of course, but I suspect, although it’s too soon to say with any certainty, that I may have lost my neophobe, possibly. They remained in his digestive system. The screams were more habit than painful, you know, the lowest common denominator, if in doubt ˜yell your head off,’ but he stayed in his chair. As he chewed, sort of, he examined his biceps waiting for them to grow, which they surely are? All in all, I think we are entering an entirely new phase of life, growth and change. To date none of the ˜new foods’ has rated anything higher than a 3 out of 10. Most are zero, or minus infinity, but all the same, what do you think? He’s nearly 8. We’ve been at this for five years. Is it really possible? Is that how long it takes for some people? Every day exposure for 365 days times five? To desensitize them? So now I’m wondering, maybe, just maybe, in the future, say in, what?……five years, perhaps food might be a source of pleasure? Am I jinxing him? Am I getting ahead of myself? Will I have to delete this tomorrow? Oooo pushy parents! In the meantime, please send emergency supplies of toilet paper, urgent!

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Fun with Messy Play by Tracey Beckerleg – a book review

Available from “Jessica Kingsley Publishers” and “Amazon UK.”

To save you time and money I shall cut to the chase so that you can determine if this book would benefit you or someone you know. Consider the three following questions carefully:- firstly, are you now or have you ever been a parent? Secondly, do you believe that you are an average parent, one well within the bell curve rather than on either end of the extreme? Thirdly, during the period of parenthood, if you were or are one, did you ever clean your kitchen floor more than once a week?

If so, this book will definitely help your children, and may even help you as a parent, vicariously.

I love this book. It is a no nonsense down to earth approach to helping children learn and grow through play, specifically messy play. Ms. Beckerleg is an experienced mother, and teacher of special needs children. The book is divided into helpful chapters that address areas of need common to many of our children such as 'sensory stimulation, language and communication, social development and motor skills.'

To be frank, I could have done with this book about 6 years ago. Instead I had to trundle about on my own, adapting mainstream guides to suit my own particular children. Because one of my children is a sensory 'seeker' and another is an 'avoider,' especially when the tactile defensiveness issue is dominant, I would have welcomed any additional tips and tricks. Anyone who is already familiar with sensory diets will also be familiar with many of the suggestions in Ms.Beckerleg's book but there are lots of additional useful suggestions and ideas. I also like her chapter on 'Things to remember.' This in part addresses what can occur when you have a group of children with differing needs. Her students were in the classroom, mine are all at home with me. Her 'real life' anecdotes and examples are heartwarming and hopeful, and we can all do with a dose of that.

Don’t worry, the exchange rate is laughable at the moment and if you ever need any translations, just give me a tinkle.
Cheers dears

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Eggs Nests and Naans

Please scroll down for Smiley Saturday and SOOC

So here are the details of a “couple” of outstanding recipes:-

Outstanding = late, not particularly wonderful
Egg Nests
One and a half pounds of Duchesse potatoes
4 eggs [if you’re feeding four people or have two very hungry people]
That’s from the recipe book, not terribly helpful? Let me fill you in on how to make the “Duchesse” Potatoes.
Don’t forget to pre-heat the oven to gas mark 7 / 425 degrees F
People the potatoes, cut into equal sized pieces so that they’ll all cook evenly. Simmer until tender in boiling, lightly salted water [remember = simmer to glimmer, boil to spoil!] Drain the potatoes. Add gloibule of butter and a slosh of milk. Mash together until smooth. It should have a soft consistency. [do not whiz in magimix/Cuisinarte, there are no shortcuts] Spoon the potato into four oven proof dishes. [or do as the recipe says and find a forcing bag with a no.10 star nozzle and pipe into the individual bowls, maybe you have more time than I do and like doing extra washing up?] Break eggs carefully so as not to break the yolk. Make a well in the centre of each potato bowl and gently sploop one egg into each. Place butter shaving on each yolk and place in the oven. The recipe calls for baking for 10 – 15 minutes, but with my oven it’s more like 7 minutes or the eggs will turn in to tyre rubber, so experiment because you probably don’t want runny whites either = yuk! If you are also washing up averse, you can build little mountains of mashed potato on a sheet of parchment paper placed on a baking sheet, then make little wells for the eggs, add the eggs as above and bake. After baking you can lift off each little mountain with a fish slice [if you have a thick enough bottom!] without breaking the egg, and toss the paper!

Because they are dishless / bowless they cook faster too.

Peculiar but tasty “Naans”

Four and a quarter cups of bread flour
3 tsp of salt
3 tsp of fast acting dried yeast
1 and three quarter cups of water
Tip into bread machine on ‘dough’ setting for a couple of hours or knead together by hand [not recommended] or toss into mixer to churn.
If you’re doing this by hand, set aside covered with a damp cloth to rise [double in size] and repeat [once.]
Meanwhile make yummy stuff to put in the middle of your Naans as this may encourage people to take a bite on the promise of something more interesting inside.

One pretty safe bet is to saute a medium sized, finely chopped onion. Leave it in the pan with a heap of garlic and olive oil until it caramelized.

Use lots of flour to stop yourself and your dough becoming one. Divide the dough into four. Divide each fourth into two equal sized pieces. Persuade each piece into an oval shape. Place a quarter of the onion mixture in the centre, spread it out to leave an inch margin and squish the two ovals together around the outer edges. Place all four ovals on a baking tray, cover with damp towel, leave in warm place to double in size.

Heat the griddle / hot plate / frying pan to 425 degrees. Put one teaspoonful of olive oil on the hot plate and wipe over the entire surface with a wad of kitchen paper [do not burn finger tips] Plop Naan onto hot plate an leave it there for 2 to three minutes on one side before you flip it over and cook the other side. Do not poke it, leave it to cook. Lift off onto a warm plate, cover with the tea towel and cook the other naans in turn.

Other fillings that work well =
A bunch of chopped sauteed green onions / scallions
Finely chopped Coriander [cilantro]
A cupful of raisins previously plumped in boiling water, mixed with desiccated coconut and a tablespoonful of chutney or pickle

If you put the Naans in the oven instead of the hot plate, then they puff up like rugby balls, which means that you will now have to eat something that is the same size as your head. This is useful information because if you eat a whole flat Naan because you were good and cooked it on the griddle, then once it is inside your tummy it will then expand to something the size of a rugby ball! you have been warned.

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SOOC Smiley Saturday

Slurping Life

Learning the error of your ways
From a few weeks back in the summer

On the third week they break a third vase, although I miss the magic moment to identify exactly which one committed the crime. I am excessively annoyed. The vase was cheap and cheerful, of no intrinsic value, but the mess, glass, foul water and dead flowers exacerbates my already frazzled nerves. As in all things, I adhere to the principal of three:- one vase in use, one in the closet and one in transit, just like knickers. Now I am vaseless which is a mild improvement on knickerless. How can this dastardly state of affairs have come to pass? I hear the dulcet tones of our Irish ABA guru waft through the ether, 'what incident immediately preceded the event in question?'

What indeed?

The tantalizing question that haunts so many of us. There must be a logical answer, although even an illogical one would do for the time being.

Three weeks ago? Three weeks ago? What could it possibly be? Probably about that time, was the time that my youngest decided that his body needed exercise, regular exercise, frequently. He would hurtle out of the house chanting in time with his self imposed exercise regime, to fly around the garden on his bike, three circuits before flinging his bike aside and hurling his body back indoors. I began to recognize the signs, faster speech, many nonsense words, cycles of ever speedier ditties before they burst like an ant hill to catapault him into the garden. Self regulation is all very well but why does it have to involve such destruction? Neither of them has ever volunteered to enter the garden until this summer.

I stare at the double glass doors, willing my brain to function. Once a week I collect the organic vegetable box along with a bunch of flowers. Once a week I take the old dead flowers and stick them outside until time permits me to visit the compost heap. Once a week I snip the elastic and drop the new fresh flowers in a different vase, not exactly tastefully arranged. It frees up a moment to clear a shelf in the fridge and shove ten pounds of organic vegetables in to chill. The same routine for about five years. What has gone so horribly wrong? Their dad appears by my side to note the latest dollop of carnage, “geez, I'd I thought you'd have stopped it by now.”
“Me? Stopped it? And how exactly do you think I should magic that one?”
“Stop dumping those vases in the doorway to trip over.”

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Snippet – hello! Is anybody there?

My son has never used the phone willingly. During the last few years we have made strenuous efforts to help him talk to familiar relatives on the phone, but to date our success has been limited. During this same period we have tried to de-sensitize both of them to the horror of headphones, but with similarly disappointing results. We have tried any number of strategies such as using the 'speaker' function, but all to no avail. Overall there appears to be general disinterest in talking to an invisible person somewhere out in the ether.

It is an irksome overhang of past deamons to me, as during their initial evaluations neither was able to name or identify a telephone, a microscope nor any number of everyday household items. It was a sharp pang of reality injected into my cotton wool world.

When the phone rings I find myself instantly deluged in words from a very fast speaking young woman. It's a monologue of reasons why she must speak to my son. She talks as if she has already made a list of reasons why I might refuse and has come up with her own counter arguments in advance. As she rattles them off, I wander through the house to seek him out, since I am unable to get a word in edgeways. When I find him I shield the voice piece, attract his attention, wait for his attention and explain, “your friend Felicity is on the phone, she wants to speak to you,” and hold out the receiver to him near his right hand. He takes the phone in a limp hand, slithers off the bed to perch like a three legged stool on the carpet, “hi Felicity, it's me,” he says with a casual air that matches his liquefied body as he rolls over, a cat in the sunshine. I hover for a few minutes but it seems impolite to remain and ear wig. As I leave, I note that she uses a great many words and he uses one or two in response, at lengthy intervals.

I check on his progress every five minutes or so, mainly to prevent the telephone being abandoned in some random place never to see the light of day again. He wanders from room to room, loose limbed and all a gangle.

We crash in the corridor but his hands are empty. “Where's the phone dear?” There is no response as I canter after him on the alert for lonely phones. “Did you have a nice chat with Felicity?” He keeps moving either deep in other thoughts or determined to maintain a new privacy. As I bob and weave in his wake we collide with his father who is equally interest in this new development, as well as concerned for the welfare of all electronic devices in the house. He nabs him by the shoulders, even though his legs keep moving, a cartoon caricature of a fully wound toy “so…… was Felicity?”
“I dunno.”
“Well you've been talking to her for nearly half an hour, what did you have to talk about?”
I am suddenly aware that we appear to be putting the poor child through the third degree, or what appears to be the third degree but is really only the first degree of a new form of communication.

We smile, wise adults and release him. The innocence of youth, loves young dream, the shadow of the future…….. As usual we are off radar. He calls after him, the retreating speed walker, “maybe you should wine and dine her?” he sniggers. I beam with fondness as my son replies over his shoulder, without missing a beat, “Felicity's not a whiner.”

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