Me, A Mom

3 kids and a dog

Archive for the category “reviews”

Wading through the books on Asperger’s and High Functioning Autism

There are hundred of books maybe even thousands  of books that are all about Asperger’s and High Functioning Autism.

Here is a list from good reads

another from autism resources

these lists are long but, I’m sure not full, as new books are published frequently

I’ve started with 3 just 3 books for right now

please don’t look at this so much as an endorsement…but more of a review on my thoughts on the books listed

I hope at some point in the future to create a chart rating the books on their features…but right now I have more reading to do

The following are the books I have started on.

Living Well on the Spectrum by Valerie L. Gaus. PHd

(think of this book almost an encyclopedia type guide to autism spectrum, it is filled with a lot of useful information…but also a lot you may never use depending on where you fall on the spectrum)

I personally think this book would be better if split into two books,

Book 1: the information

Book 2: more of an accompianing  workbook with  the quizzes, charts, and diagrams

one area of the book I found most helpful and plan to print and hang copies on my sons wall

is a gray box area called: A word about strangers and Aquaintances

this is an area that seems to be pretty common from what I’ve been reading on Autism and Aspergers

people on the spectrum are often too trusting


have difficulty defining relationships

also included in chapter 6 are several highly informative charts about how to discern if the person you are talking to or about is a friend or aquaintance, and how to talk to and converse with appropriately

Asperger’s Syndrome by

Tony Attwood


like that this book ends nearly every chapter with a concise, boxed in summary.

again not everything in this book applies to everyone on the spectrum, but much of this book applies to everyone(does that make sense?)

the book concludes with FAQ’s and resources, as well as information on diagnostic criteria, and a formal bibliography with other books you may find useful.

Asperger’s Rules by

Blythe Grossberg Psy. D

I decided to order this book, the other two I took notes on but this one is arranged in such a way that I want to be able to reference it more often…with my child.

It is comprised of many short “quizes” and by short I don’t think there is any quiz with more than about 5 questions

these quizes are meant to be

reflective of situations that have happened or

preparatory of situations that may happen

there are some great flow charts

sample/practice/what if dialogues

and is easy to navigate from one chapter to the next


to jump around as necessary

so here I am, digging in trying to learn as much as I can as quickly as I can, so we can move forward and prepare my child for the best future possible!

Parenting without Panic…..yeah….right….well…maybeeee….

I just finished reading about halfway through the book

Parenting without Panic,(a pocket support group for parents of children and teens on the Autism Spectrum)

by Brenda Dater

We’ve often wondered if our oldest is somewhere on that spectrum

but that aside

as I read this book

I realized that there is great advice in here

not just for parents of Aspergers/Autism Spectrum kids

but for all parents.

If we can figure out what makes our kids tick(some days I feel like I’m close….other days I feel like I’m lost in a spiral of trying to” figure out”)

We can then adjust our responses and reactions to the behaviors in our children.

In some ways I found the book annoying….like….gee….how am I going to come up with those catchy phrases in the middle of dealing with a disagreeable child

but I think its about mental practice

thinking to yourself….”this is what I”ll do the next time this situation pops up”

Her “key tips for interpreting your child’s behavior is not just for “spectrum” kids/teens but really all of us(parents/caregivers)

she says:

-Consider the context

-Acknowledge developmental delays

-Acknowledge and recognize strengths

-Check your assumptions

-Apologize when you overreact

-Manage your own emotions

-Acknowledge effort

more about Brenda Dater the author

her facebook

If you are a parent consider reading this book! nah…don’t just consider it….do it….it’s an easy read…take from it what you need….you won’t be disappointed!

the more you know?? …what we really need…

I’ve been seeing a lot of “the more you know” commercials starring various NBC stars….

promoting the encouragement of people becoming teachers…..

and that’s great we need more teachers….

but what we need more than that
are politicians(and people) who
-support the teaching profession
that means:
-stop making our teachers teach towards the tests….
-stop cutting budgets for music, and arts
-stop cutting budgets for teachers in general

-stop demanding 100% success….not all students learn at the same rate…not all students are ready to move on…yet you continue to insist they do.

-supporting our schools
-supporting our teachers
-realizing the value of “great teachers”
-defending the right of our teachers to teach

so yes….we need new teachers

but more than that we
the public to be in support of their local schools/teachers

the more you know?

Yes …..even this busy mom finds time to read

I recently read ( and reviewed) a book titled “Jewel” by Bret Lott.

and if you are at all into reading (it’s an Oprah’s book club book) I highly recommend you pick it up at your local book store or library.

If you are now or have ever dealt with an ill child that required all your time and devotion  whether that illness was acute or chronic  this book will fill your heart with all the words and emotions you think but have never quite been able to put words to.

read my review here


This book especially spoke volumes to me as I have 3 children,

2 of them have food allergies one to dairy, eggs, tree-nuts, and peanuts(and one just eggs, tree-nuts and peanuts)

the one with slightly fewer allergies also fights asthma and eosinophilic esophagitus.

its been a long 11 years some times

and I wouldn’t trade any of them


but again


this book gets to the heart of a mom

the sacrifices she makes in regards to her marriage, and her other children

all to help the one child get the best help possible


If you are a parent/mom/grandparent   or even just human

you will find yourself feeling what Jewel is feeling…..

empathizing with her

despising her

loving her

and in the end

respecting her.


do yourself a favor….read the book!


An Alphabet of Products I Love

So I’ve been thinking

as a mom of

food allergic kids

What are some of our favorite products?

{scroll down for a list of our favorite brands}


Apple Sauce(no sugar added)





Bread(we like village hearth)


cheese(not safe for our dairy allergic but the rest like it)

Chicken(I like white meat the rest like dark)

cheetos(I don’t think that counts as food but certain family members do)

Dr. Pepper(for when a migraine hits)


elbow macaroni(careful of the brand some are made on equipment that also processes dairy/egg)

fresh fruit(buy organic when possible and regardless wash thoroughly)

frozen juice(100% juice only)

fish(even within brands it can be difficult to find consistency always read labels)

frozen pizza(every busy house needs a few on hand for our dairy allergic we keep pizza sauce and pepperoni and he makes his own bread pizza in the microwave)

fake almond extract(does just as well as the real…and contains no nuts!)

ground meat(I cook up 6 pounds at a time and then freeze in recipe size portions for a fast meal!)

graham crackers(we like honey maid)

grape juice(has to be the dark purple(the kids think white grape juice tastes weird!)

green bananas(so when the ripe ones are gone the green ones will be ready to eat)

hard rolls(more label watching!)


italian dressing(label watch there are some brands that are dairy free)

Jello(we stick with the name brand for best results…however if you need to avoid red dye you can always buy knox and make it with fruit juice)

knox gelatin(some day I’ll share my recipe for old fashioned knox blox here)

ketchup(we like heinz)

kleenex(we like whatever is on sale)

lunch meat(we go for low sodium, and low fat, no msg…when possible make a turkey breast and slice it up)

marshmallows(watch for eggs)

meat sticks(we like klements, no msg)

navel oranges

noodles(we buy rice noodles, soba noodles, and regular wheat noodles, always watching ingredients lists for allergens)

Olive oil(specifically light flavored, as it works in both sweet and savory dishes)


onions(always have onions, and onion powder on hand!)



pizza sauce(watching labels for no dairy)

pizza rolls


Q  ??? nothing here

rice milk

ranch dressing(watching labels for no eggs)

string cheese



sour cream(we like daisy)


thousand island(no egg or dairy)

U ???

Vegetables(they prefer fresh)

watermelon(in season only)


yogurt both dairy and non dairy(we like greek yogurt and the silk variety for the non dairy folks)

zytec(not a food but our go to allergen fighter!)

some brands we love

Daisy(dairy products, made with few ingredients compared to other brands)

Eden foods

Eden Foods - Pure & Purifying

Enjoy life foods

Hodgson Mill

Hodgson Mill Flours & Meals

King Arthur Flour

Just Tomatoes, etc.(freeze dried fruits and veggies)

Just Tomatoes, Etc.!

In Case you didn’t notice

our list is comprised of many “whole foods”

and not very many “processed foods”

having multiple individuals

with multiple food allergies in your life will do that to you

the only real way to get as close to completely safe as possible

is to make the food yourself

from scratch



isn’t that difficult


is way healthier

not just for the food allergic individuals

but yourself as well

stay healthy

stay safe

keep reading those labels!

the world of Coupons….an adventure of epic proportions …

It’s not as if I’m NEW to couponing

but up until recently its been…if I see one on the back of the sales receipt and remember to bring it in

or if I see one in the paper I’ll clip it and maybe remember to use it

the problem with couponing and allergies

is that I buy very specific products

that are free of dairy, eggs, and all nuts

and products that are low salt

so often there just aren’t coupons that are available for the products I buy

and I would never be the type to jump from store to store to store

with the price of gas the amount we’d save would not be worth what we are spending on gas



I’ve come across a site called

Midwest coupon clipers

and you don’t have to be from the midwest to benefit from their site!

they have links to multiple coupon clipping sites

as well as sites for sweepstakes if you are into that sort of thing

they have links also to freebies, and online deals as well…

and occasional blog posts

and they have an interactive facebook page

where they post questions, share coupons they’ve found


sometimes have contests and send out packs of coupons

once I got a strip of coupons for free mcdonalds products!(after answering a question on their facebook page)


you can’t help but love the cute cow picture!

Finally while I will never be a stellar couponer I do have a binder of coupons

and when I remember to bring it to the store I’ve saved close to 10 dollars each trip.

and that alone is pretty cool!

His Brain/Her Brain….well….duhhhh…

Originally blogged on my book review blog but

because of the nature of this blog…

being a mom, and wife

and the daily struggles and joys of those two things

this book has been so helpful to me

and perhaps it will be helpful to you too

His Brain,

Her Brain

How Divinely Designed Differences Can Strengthen Your Marriage

by Walt Larimore, MD & Barb Larimore

I’ve been hearing for years how boys and girls think differently….Then I had 2 boys and a girl…and….they do…think differently.

not always

and not everyone is the same

we are created unique within God’s image of course

This book, although geared for husband/wife can help you think about and understand your children as well.

I don’t agree with 100% of what they say but I agree with enough for this book to make it to this review.

Now there is a myriad of explanation in to the structural differences and chemical processes of themale and female  brains…if this doesn’t interest you skip over to the reflections on why this is important.

Even if you don’t ascribe to a religion you are probably in a relationship of some sort…or have been….or will be….and …this book may provide some insight into the why’s of

how (men and women) respond differently to a variety of what life hands out

look at the chapter titles:

  • chapter 3: Differences in how we perceive our world
  • chapter 4: differences in how we process input from our world
  • chapter 5: differences in how we communicate without world
  • chapter 9: his brain-conquest Her Brain-Nurture
  • chapter 10: his brain- provision her brain- security
  • chapter 11: his brain-respect her brain-love

The fact is that whether we biologically male or female does have an influence on

what we do ,

how we act,

how we interpret,

how we respond

to the world around us.

Whether you are a parent, grandparent, teacher, administrator, manager, this book can give you insight on the hows and whys of your interpersonal relationships with the other “gender” in your life.

The book is complete with tables and charts that cohesively bring together the information in the book for easily comparison of the female and male brains.

This book would make an interesting book club read

imagine if a group of spouses participated in the reading of this book, then divided into a group of males and a group of females tro discuss and then came back together as a full group for insight.

could be interesting….

Perhaps the most interesting analogy is the one highlighted in Chapter 13

“The Marriage Box”

Essentially you can only get out what you put in

(but their descriptions are much more eloquent.)

Dr. Walt has a site…of course

and on it is a link to chapter 1 of this book

so …

dig in…

and you might learn something

about yourself.

Books you must read

The Art of Racing in the Rain(there is a youth addition{Racing in the Rain} of this one so you read the adult one and then discuss with your child)

by Garth Stein

Garth Stein has his own website(as does half the world these days..but if you want to know more check it out) His website has a guide for readers if you want to use the book in a book club.

No Spoilers here

Enzo is the Dog, and he is reflecting on his life with his owner. Again the two versions are slightly different in that the youth version changes the story somewhat to make it more appropriate for youth. My niece said it “made her cry”  and  “It’s the best book I ever read”


The Shack by William P. Young

This book is too intense for 1-8 grade in my opinion so use discretion and read first before letting a child read it.

But it is theology like you’ve never imagined it before

In the midst of tragedy (no spoilers here) God Presents himself to a man

in different forms(think Holy Trinity) but in ways that will touch your heart and your mind.

and by the end of the book the man undergoes a transformation of heart and soul that will rock your world.


keep reading….more to come

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