April is autism awareness month and with a prevalence of 1 in 68 children, you’ve probably heard of autism. It’s difficult to explain what autism is as it affects each person differently. My sons have the same diagnosis but are on opposite ends of the autism spectrum. Life is difficult for both the person with autism and their families as there are many challenges to deal with every day. Challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication as well as comorbid conditions such as obsessive compulsive disorder, sleep issues, gastrointestinal issues and sensory processing disorder. I don’t have it all figured out. I just do my best to know my kids and focus on what I can do to help them. What I didn’t expect is that they would teach me some of the most valuable life lessons in the process.

Focus on solutions, not problems

Autism families face challenges every day. Between the obsessions, the meltdowns, the lack of communication and the worry of what the child’s future will be, it’s easy to feel defeated. Like in any situation, if we chose to focus on all the problems, it will feel insurmountable. To focus solely on finding solutions helps to feel empowered. For example, my son can’t speak so we teach him to sign, he can’t write so we’re teaching him to type. I admit that I have to remind myself often, but my kids make me believe that there is a solution to every issue and that anything is possible when you focus on the positive.

See the wonder in everyday life

My son was born premature and the fact that we almost lost him to medical complications definitely gave me perspective on what’s important. However, in our busy routines, it’s so easy to forget to appreciate the little things in life.  Kids with autism see things others may not notice. They also have a fascination with things such as twinkling lights or bubbles. My son will stare into a flower and it’s as if he sees every tiny detail. Some might see it as a weakness but to me, it’s a strength. Being able to look at things differently and see details that might have gone unnoticed is a choice that we can make to be more mindful and grateful for the little things.

Don’t be afraid to be different

Whether it’s working from home or any other uncommon choice, do what is right for you. For kids with autism, anything that is the norm usually doesn’t apply. My kids taught me a  “whatever works for results” attitude when dealing with their sleep, feeding and sensory issues. Sometimes we need to get creative to come up with a solution that works, no matter how unconventional or unpopular. For example, no matter how much I wanted my son to fit in, public school was not a good environment for him to learn. Homeschooling is not a conventional choice but all that matters is that it is giving us the results we need. He is calmer, happier and more willing to learn than he has ever been.

Releasing preconceived notions will open your eyes

Everyone has a story that we’re not aware of and situations are not always what they appear. Autism is an invisible condition so people can’t tell just by looking at a child that they have autism. If you see a grown child having a meltdown in a store, you’ll  think that the child is a spoiled brat or that his parents have no authority. What you might not be aware of is that sensory processing disorder makes the child hypersensitive to lights, smells and the noises until it sensory overload causes them to have a meltdown. It’s these preconceived notions and judgment that cause so many autism families to isolate themselves. We can see things through a different set of eyes when we’re not limited by preconceived notions.

Learn to dance in the rain

We all go through difficult situations and some things in life are difficult to accept. If you wait for it to get better before moving forward, you’ll miss out. Getting a diagnosis for not only one but both of my children was heartbreaking but behind that label of autism is still my little boys that I love. All they want is to be loved and accepted as they are. My children will always have autism and although I have my moments, I try to remember that life happens with or without me. Don’t let whatever is not perfect in your life stop you from living it and enjoying it because life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.

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  • Favorite Valentine's Day BooksFavorite Valentine's Day Books

Caroline Jayne Church Books

 

Caroline Jayne Church

“I love you like the moon loves each shining star.

I love all that you will be, and everything you are.”

*This post contains affiliate links for Chapters Indigo.
Please see my full disclosure.

When I read these words I knew I just had to by the book How Do I Love You? This phrase expresses everything I feel for my boys. Since I bought this first book illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church, I became a super fan! I feel like her collection of books about love connect me and my children during story time. More importantly, Cookie and Chocolate Chip both love these sweet simple stories and beautiful illustrations! I think they are perfect Valentine’s Day books!

“I love my fingers. I love my toes. I love my eyes. I love my nose. I love my arms and belly, too.
But most of all, I love you.”

I Love You Book by Caroline Jayne Church

Check out this gift set that includes another one of our favorites:

I Love You Through and Through

Jayne Church books

Caroline Jayne Church Books

We are slowly building our collection, some books in French and some books in English. They are the perfect books to read to your toddlers or preschooler. And from experience, I can vouch that these books are also perfect for special needs children! The books might not be Valentine’s Day themed but they are adorable ways to say I love you to your children.  🙂

Sweet Child Of Mine

“I love you in the crisp white snow that quietly fills the sky,
I love you in the stormy air when strong dark clouds pass by.”

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  • Valentine's Day Sorting

Valentine's Day Sorting

 

My boys don’t know what Valentine’s Day is all about. Yes, they have autism. Are they incapable to show love and affection? Not at all. I would say that probably most autistic children do not fit this autism stereotype. My boys are very sweet and loving. They might not say the words “I love you mommy” but they show me how much they love me in their own special way.

 

Using a Valentine’s Day theme in their homeschooling activities, exposes them to everything related to that holiday and helps them associate. So that eventually just like the rest of us, when they see a red heart, they will think of Valentine’s Day.

 

Pinterest is a great source of inspiration when trying to find activities to do with the kids. I particularly liked this Valentine’s Day mail sorting activity from Teach Preschool.

 

Valentine's Mailboxes

 

Since I couldn’t find these metal mailboxes, I decided to make some myself. I wasn’t certain how exactly I would do that but while having my morning coffee, I realized: These coffee boxes would make the perfect Valentine’s Day mailboxes! I love being able to reuse household items for activities, especially when the activity is one that we might not use very often or the kid’s will grow out of quickly.

 

Valentine's Mailboxes

 

Here is what I did …

  1. I covered the coffee boxes with left over Christmas wrapping paper.
  2. I made tiny envelopes with colored paper. I didn’t use a template but there is a super cute mini envelope template and tutorial over at Clementine Creative.
  3. In order to make the activity more appealing to Cookie, I printed these Valentine’s Day Sesame Street characters. You can find images of your child’s favorite characters on Google images.
  4. I imported the Sesame Street images into Open Office Draw so I could add numbered hearts. Since Cookie knows how to count to fifty, I wanted to introduce the concept of counting by ten.
  5. I also made numbered hearts for the envelopes. You can download my free printable Count by Ten Numbered Hearts in pink and red here: Count by Ten hearts

The little ones really enjoyed this activity. I think without the characters, I would probably have lost their attention quickly.

PS: To make this activity easier use the same image on the envelope as you do on the mailboxes.

 

Valentine's Day Sorting

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  • Turn it up Tuesday
And here we are again, turning it up on Turn It Up Tuesday!
This week I am particularly looking forward to reading all the posts that are linked up. My kiddos are sick and I am in need of a distraction. I wish you an awesome week!

Welcome to another week of Turn It Up Tuesday! Last week, we had so many amazing posts! Thanks for sharing with us!

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Turn It Up Tuesdays is all about being happy, excited, energetic…and having fun! Link up your favorite posts (old or new) and meet some awesome bloggers in return! Link up your funny stories, DIY posts, recipes, mommy moments — anything at all, as long as it is family-friendly. We want to laugh, be entertained, be inspired, and have a good time!

Thanks so much to everyone that joins us each week and makes this blog hop the best that it could be!

SPONSOR OF THE MONTH

Ida at Second Chances Girl

Second Chances Girl

Ida is a mom of one, step-mom of two lifestyle blogger from Miami. She blogs about her second chance at life, love and family!

Are you looking to get your blog or website in front of numerous people per week? Do you enjoy Turn It Up Tuesdays? Interested in having your blog or website featured for an entire month?
Then, sponsor Turn It Up Tuesday for a month by clicking here! It’s only $5 for an entire month!

 

Welcome the lovely ladies of Turn It Up Tuesday!

TUT Hosts 1.25.15 (1)

(from the top – left to right)

Natasha from Epic Mommy Adventures | Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings | Jessica from The Wondering Brain | Cathy from A Peek Into My Paradise | April from April Noelle | Ce Ce from A Chicago Mom | Yolanda from That’s Mashed Up | Kelly from Making-More | Kimberly from Keystrokes by Kimberly | Tiffany from MrsTeeLoveLifeLaughter | Cindy from Mom Maven | Melissa from The Coupon Chronicles | Rhonda from Mother 2 Mother | Nancy from Afro-Chic Mompreneur | Mari from Living in Mommywood | Silvie from My Silly Little Gang | Jillian from Baby Doodah | Chelsea from Mommie and Wee | Tenns from New Mama Diaries

And welcome our awesome guest hosts for January!

This is the last week for our January guest hosts…but we loved having them join us this month! Hope to see you all again soon!

TUT Jan 2015 (1)

(from the top – left to right)

Brittney from His Wife. Their Mommy. | Chantale from Virtually A Teacher | Tianna from Love and Laughter | Zografia from Bisozozo | Stacy from Anastasia Vintage| Elaine from Ramblings of a Bad Domestic Goddess | Nancy from The Family Bucket List | Rose from What Rose Knows | Tina from The Happy Creations

Interested in being a guest host for the month or becoming a permanent co-host?

Complete the form here! Monthly co-hosts will be chosen on a first come first-serve basis. We’re now accepting guest hosts for February and March.

Here are the Featured posts from last week!

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Tina chose Red Velvet Bundt Cake from A Simple Pantry. “Looks stunning and yummy, a perfect cake for Valentines Day. Thanks for sharing.”

Autism

Mari chose Why I Tried to Fight Autism (But Learned to Accept it) from Amber Kristine. “Amber, thanks to her for sharing her honest feelings about something a lot of people still don’t fully understand, including me. Thank you for the light education.”

Skinny-Raspberry-Cheesecake-Cups-13

Mari also chose Skinny Raspberry Cheesecake Cups from Annie’s Noms. “Thanks to Annie for sharing such a cute tasty treat. I love cheesecake and this seems like a good way to share the love.”

Natasha also chose this post. “I am so incredibly addicted to cheesecake…and this recipe looks absolutely delicious!”

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Ce Ce chose DIY Candy Wrapper Coin Purse from My Newest Addiction. “Love this DIY, it’s a great project to work on with the kids!”

Introvert

Nancy chose Living Life as an Introvert from Amber Kristine. “As an introvert myself, Amber Kristine really captures the essence of what it’s like to live as an introvert.”

ValentinesCraftswithjars1

Cathy chose Chocolate Time!/Hershey’s Mason Jars Valentine’s Day Gifts from Chocolate and Sunshine. “Adorable jars! These are perfect for special friends, co-workers and teacher gifts!”

Blogger-to-Wordpress

Zografia chose How To Make An Easy Transfer From Blogger To WordPress from Barbie Bieber and Beyond. “I finally decided to move to wordpress and this is a piece of advice i will keep in mind during the transfer.”

Homemade-Buffalo-Sauce-collage

Rose chose Homemade Buffalo Sauce from Growing Up Gabel. “I had no idea that buffalo sauce was so easy to make at home. Now that I’m no longer afraid to eat butter, I’m going to try this recipe with some grass-fed butter! Buffalo sauce is my favorite condiment so I imagine I will be making this on a regular basis!”

english-muffins-2

Elaine chose English Muffins from 4 Sons ‘R’ Us. “I love English Muffins and with my new obsession of bread making it seemed the perfect choice.”

open-letter-daughters

Rhonda chose An Open Letter to My Daughters from Barbie Bieber and Beyond. “As a mother of a daughter this letter brought back memories for me. I have spoken these words to my daughter on many occasion and I too hold them deep in my heart.”

Decadent-Brownie-Trifle-by-Wanda-Ann

Stacey chose Individual Decadent Brownie Trifles from Memories By The Mile. “As many know, I am a huge brownie junkie! These look absolutely divine! I could seriously make and hog the whole batch, and keep them all to myself! Thank you so much for sharing!”

teachyourchildempathy

Tiffany chose Teach Your Child Empathy in 3 Simple Ways from Simply Lindsey Loo. “I love this post because this is something I am trying to teach my children daily. To feel for others and not only themselves. LindseyLoo gives some really great and simple tips to help any parent get there.”

Do-you-need-a-Homeschool-Planner

Jillian chose If You Need A Homeschool Planner If You Are Figuring Out Your Own Curriculum? Dynamic Reader Question from Lina’s Dynamic Homeschool Plus. “My son will be leaving day care to stay home with me, soon. I want to be sure he continues learning as much as he was in the classroom, while he’s home with me. I’ve been wondering about curriculum for his age and this post starts taking me down that path.”

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Tenns chose Valentine’s Day M&M Mason Jar Gift from Three Kids and a Fish. “I love this idea for Valentine’s Day or Galentine’s Day! Its sweet, simple, and oh so cute. These little favors are so versatile, the perfect little something to give some on the day of love!”

CraftRoomOrganizationIdeas

Chantale chose 10 Creative Ideas for Organizing Your Craft Room from Typically Simple. “I can relate to the walking into a craft store with the intention to buy one thing and walking out with so much more! What a great collection of organization solutions and ideas for craft supplies!”

matchingsign

The post with the most clicks is Matching Sisters from No Bohn’s About It.

Stop by and show some love to our featured bloggers this week! I’m sure they’d all appreciate it!

If you were featured above, feel free to share the badge below with pride on your blog or website!

Epic Mommy Adventures

 

And the Best of the Best is…

Decadent-Brownie-Trifle-by-Wanda-Ann

Individual Decadent Brownie Trifles from Memories By The Mile

CraftRoomOrganizationIdeas

10 Creative Ideas for Organizing Your Craft Room from Typically Simple

Show some love to our Best of the Best bloggers this week!!!!

As the Best of the Best, you win free ad space on Epic Mommy Adventures for 30 days! Please showcase the badge below with pride on your blog!

Please send an e-mail to Natasha at 1EpicMommy@gmail.com and she will provide you with all the details for the free ad space!

Epic Mommy Adventures

Our very own lovely and amazing Cathy from A Peek Into My Paradise is hosting a great giveaway this month and some of us are co-hosting, so we’d love to feature it here for all of you! Enter to win cash in the Romantic Cash Giveaway – you could win up to $500! Three winners will be chosen! There’s only a couple more days left – so enter today!

Enter to win here!

Romantic Cash Giveaway

So now that you’ve met our Sponsor for the month, our hosts and guest hosts, our Featured and the Best of the Best, and the Romantic Cash giveaway,

let’s get started!

*Show some love to your hosts and co-hosts simply by following them on social media and leaving a comment so they can follow you back.

*Link up as many posts as you’d like! The more, the merrier!

*Check out some of the other posts and make some new friends!

*Grab the button below and showcase on your sidebar! Invite your fellow bloggers to join the fun!

Epic Mommy Adventures

 

Link up your posts, make some friends, and earn the chance to be featured or become the Best of the Best on Turn It Up Tuesday! We will feature the favorite posts each week!

Disclaimer: Adding your link to this link party gives permission to Epic Mommy Adventures, along with co-hosts, guest hosts, and participants of Turn It Up Tuesday, to share your posts and pictures via social media and as features, roundups, etc. with an explicit link back to the original source.

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Interested in reading all of our favorite posts on Turn It Up Tuesdays – past or present? Or do want to know if your post was featured before we go live next week? Follow Natasha Peter’s board Featured on Turn It Up Tuesdays! on Pinterest.

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  • Special Moms Magazine

I am very happy to share that I have been chosen as a contributor for Special Moms Magazine! This free digital magazine was designed to celebrate the contributions of women, mom entrepreneurs who are making an impact in the special needs community. In each issue, you will find great resources and inspiring stories!

My first article for the magazine is Turn Your Staycation Into a Simulated Vacation. Since my sons were born, we have only taken staycations so I have a few tips to share on how to simulate a vacation even when you are not traveling. Just in time to help you plan your spring break. Register below to get your free copy right in your inbox!

Special Moms Magazine

 

Register to receive your free copy of

Special Moms Magazine!

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