Sunday, September 24, 2017

Avocado Ice Cream



Healthy Ice Cream Option


When we made a decision a long time ago for Emma to be gluten, dairy, grain and corn free we knew we would have our work cut out for us when it came to some of the "luxuries of life".  I mean a life without a movie and popcorn is one thing but a world without ice cream....WE CAN'T HAVE IT, not on my watch!!!!

There are dairy free options in the stores but we also work very hard to avoid dye's, sugars, antibiotics, pesticides and additives.  One common ingredient in store purchased ice creams and yogurt is the addition of Carrgeenan.  Carrageenan is a common food additive that is extracted from a red seaweed, Chondrus crispus, which is popularly known as Irish moss. Carrageenan, which has no nutritional value, has been used as a thickener and emulsifier to improve the texture of ice cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, soy milk, and other processed foods.  Some animal studies have linked degraded forms of carrageenan (the type not used in food) to ulcerations and cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. More worrisome, undegraded carrageenan – the type that is widely used in foods – has been associated with malignancies and other stomach problems.  In 2012, Joanne K. Tobacman, MD, who has published multiple peer-reviewed studies that address the biological effects of carrageenan, addressed the National Organic Standards Board on this issue and urged reconsideration of the use of carrageenan in organic foods. 


The more I read of course the more discouraged I got.  I also had the daily tasks of getting more healthy fats into Emma.  She is basically on a Ketogenic diet for mitochondria support.  For more information regarding a keto diet and mitochondria follow this link:



Now on to the good stuff!



Ingredients:

6 avocados
2 bananas
cacao powder
honey / agave / pure maple syrup
coconut milk


Also a great way to keep those avocados from going bad.  I will freeze mine if running short on time.


Add all ingredients to a blender.




Blend until smooth adding more honey, syrup or agave.  Emma likes a little of each, they really all have a very unique sweet taste.


Pour off into container of choice, cover and freeze.


ENJOY!!!

Remove from freezer about 15 minutes ahead of time to thaw a bit and soften up.


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Kindergarten learning videos

What does your child need to know by the end of Kindergarten??????

In January 2017, when Presley was 5 1/2 years old and halfway through her kindergarten year, I decided to look up exactly what children are supposed to "know" by the end of their first year of school.   I searched many educational websites, and I also looked up what is typical for our state.  Our state has what is called a "refrigerator list" for parents to print and display.  Making homemade learning videos has been a wonderful way to teach my girls and gives the convenience of repetition, which allows them the opportunity to memorize.   We homeschool, so these videos became a learning project for us.  

Presley was already a great reader (4th grade) and knew all her colors, letters, and numbers, so I did not include these in the videos.  I focused on some concepts and seeing if she could implement what she knew.  She understood big and little, but she also needed to be able to apply it when asked in different ways.   I had watched an entire speech therapy evaluation (and took notes) and I noticed this is what they focused on alot. 


The first video includes topics such as: 

Pledge of Allegiance, colors of the rainbow, drawing a face, left vs right, living vs non-living things, sequencing (put in order: first, next, last), counting (1-10 10 to 1, by 2's, by 10's, 1-100), American symbols, yours/mine, his/hers, alike/different, matching letter sounds, small/big, piano keys, basic math examples, money identification, solid to liquid by ice melting, five senses, more/less, empty/full, and heavy/light.

Kindergarten Part 1




The second video includes topics such as:

Following directions, which is broken, big/little, reflection in mirror, math symbols, sequencing, low/high, five senses, counting, mine/yours, which is not an animal, map details (land, water, directions), counting by 2's, job cards (understanding what they mean), big/small, stand & hop following directions, which is different, matching shapes, alike/different, crossing a street safely, weather (cloudy, rainy, tornado,....), more/less, music cards, apple core, types of fish, doing chores/being helpful, jumping to identify letter sounds, things you see in the sky, near/far, stacking items, musical instruments, and Arkansas symbols (flag, bird, tree...).

Kindergarten Part 2

 
 
 

This video is all about opposites.  We made it last year, but thought it would be good to put with the kindergarten videos.


Opposites Movie




This video is just an extra we made two years ago, it has a variety of learning, such as addition, states & capitals, what to expect at the doctors office (I used a video through Payton's entire well check up to familiarize Presley how fun it could be), manners, chores, how to help at the grocery store, brushing your teeth, fruit vs vegetable, helping in the kitchen, and asking for help.  It runs much longer than the others at 50 minutes.


Life & Learning
 




We will continue to make these for each year of school.  I hope you find these helpful.   I always welcome your ideas and input.  You can also follow us on facebook at 3of21 to see other topics and updates by Tricia and I. 


Blessings,
Robin

Friday, February 24, 2017

QRI Helmet: information & review

 
 
If you are new to light therapy (aka photobiomodulation) then please read my previous article here that explains it uses, benefits, and supporting research, as well as information about reflex integration.  I also recommend reading Bonnie Brande's book called the Symphony of Reflexes.   If you would like to do your own web research, you may search transcranial light therapy.


Our QRI experience:

We began using this QRI laser in June of 2016, one week after Presley turned 5.  She was diagnosed with speech apraxia shortly before this using the standardized apraxia test from a local SLP.    She began talking and communicating more immediately.  We also saw an increase in cognition and understanding.  We began slow and noticed every change in detail.  We began the TALK program three months later and saw another increase with more spontaneous speech.  Then, we began using this QRI helmet in November 2016 and saw an incredible "explosion" of speech, communication, clarity, muscle tone, balance, cognition, and more.  It was as if my daughter "woke up".  Presley had never been able to make the D, N, or T sounds, which require the tongue to touch the back of the top teeth, which is difficult to do as well as teach.  We have worked diligently on this for a long time.  She began saying all of them within one week of beginning the helmet, beginning at the middle and end of her words, and then progressed to the beginning of words very quickly.  Coincidence?  I do not believe so, because other letters like L's and R's followed spontaneously.   For the first time, she told me "tummy hurt" and that she had a "hangnail" when she experienced discomfort.  This is huge for our children (with Down syndrome) to actually express what is wrong and what they are feeling.  Within 3 weeks, she began introducing herself saying "I'm Presley"  to strangers and offering her hand out to shake.   Her fine motor improved, and she began drawing more.   Currently, 4 months into the helmet, she uses 4-5 word sentences often and has had a few 7 word sentences.  She asked me to turn the radio on when we got into the car yesterday and said "turn it up, mommy, turn it up" when her favorite song came on.   Earlier, she came to me and said "I'm sorry", so I asked what happened, and she showed me her legs and said "marker on my knees".  She was showing me she had been drawing all over her knees.  I also got the "get back mom, I'm a do it" during her first golf lesson last week.  While we do many interventions to assist Presley, this has been our "game changer".  She seems to say more, do more, and understand more and to put it simply, she is more present.  Many people have questions about the helmet, so I thought I would compile the questions and information I have seen to make it easy for other parents to understand.


This is Presley singing Happy Birthday to me 2 years after her diagnosis of "severe apraxia". 






What types of lights are in the helmet?  

All the lights in the helmet are LED and NOT a laser.  Therefore, it should not be dangerous to the eyes.  There are 180 LED lights on the inside of the helmet with 3 different types of lights.

RED light = 650 nm
VIOLET light = 405 nm
INFARED light = 780 nm

There are numerous studies supporting  improvement in cognition, dementia, Alzheimer's, inflammation, PTSD, brain injury, depression, and more.  The frequency range of upper 700's to 810 Hz is typically mentioned.  I spoke with Michael and in the near future, they will be changing the infared light from 780 to the 810 LED. 


What is the difference between the CMT and QRI buttons on the unit?

QRI frequency sweep button:  this has 60 pre-programmed frequencies Bonnie has personally chosen to assist in reflex integration.  There are 3 frequencies for each reflex in a specific order.  The unit will continue each frequency approximately 30 seconds before going on the next.  This means it takes about 30 minutes to run through all the frequencies.  These were chosen to address reflexes, stem cells, love, emotions, and more.

CMT frequency sweep button:  this does a sweep of frequencies 1-2000 Hz and continually repeats itself.  The body then chooses to utilize (absorb) which frequency it needs.  This is the same as the CMT on the laser. 

You may run each button individually or both buttons simultaneously.  Bonnie uses the helmet and the QRI laser at the same time during her sessions for clients.  The helmet will not integrate reflexes on its own, but can speed up the process of integration.  If you are able to use both, the laser will already have the CMT running, so you may just choose the QRI frequencies button on the helmet. 

Can you use the helmet while it is charging?  

Yes

When is the best time to use the helmet?

Bonnie uses the helmet while she is also using the laser during reflex integration sessions for her clients.  If you have a young child, they may not tolerate this.  It is advised to use the helmet/laser while the client or child is calm and relaxed.   Many parents use the laser or helmet while their child is asleep.  I have used the laser and helmet many, many times while they are watching TV as it keeps my daughters still and some progress is better than no progress.  Bonnie has said the frequencies from the TV will conflict with the frequencies from the CMT though.   Recently, I had not gotten in our session during an extremely busy day, so I placed the helmet toward the back of my daughter's head after she fell asleep.  I sat with her and left it in place for 12 minutes, the next day, she talked non stop with new words, as well as her first 7 word sentence.  Even her music teacher said she had her best day and almost played Mary had a little lamb on the xylophone by herself.

How long should I use the helmet?

Small kids can be as little as 5-10 minutes and adults can be 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Bonnie has said it has been used for a stroke victim one hour twice a day before.   This is going to be different for each child/person.  Let your child and your intuition be your guide.  They will let you know when they have had enough, and this may actually vary daily for the same child.  The child may tell you they wish to stop, squirm more, push it away, or want to leave when they have had what is enough for them.

What does our typical session look like? 

We do our best to use our laser according to Bonnie's protocol at least three times a week.  After we finish a session, I try to use the helmet for 5-10 minutes for Presley.  Sometimes, I like to wear the helmet while I am using the laser for her reflexes before giving the helmet to Presley.  She doesn't like to wear it yet, so I "hover" it over her head. 

Why did I personally choose using the helmet versus neurofeedback? 

Before purchasing the helmet, I talked with a wonderful warrior mom who had used both at different times, and she made a good point that stuck with me.  (Thank you Jane!)  She said that neurofeedback attempted to create typical brain waves according to what was typical for "neurotypical" children, which are children are not.  However, the laser and helmet encouraged the body to heal and repair itself and make its own necessary personal adjustments.  So, the body is figuring out exactly what waves were appropriate itself.

Can the helmet be used for children that have seizures? 

This is a topic for your pediatric neurologist.  One mom stated she had the neurologist sign off that her child had no light sensitivity reaction that would cause seizures.  The staff at QRI are not medically trained and will not advise on subjects such as this, so please discuss with your physician. 

Why are there 3 jacks on the unit?  

You may use any of the three open jacks located on one side of the unit (opposite of the charging jack).  The additional jacks can be utilized for other components such as the laser or an LED attachment. 

What if the helmet is too big for my child?  

I placed some soft helmet inserts like this in that I purchased from Amazon.  I was sure not to block any of the lights, but this elevated it some and provided a softer surface for contact.


Please let me know if you have any additional questions I could add to help others along their journey.  I hope you have found this post helpful. 

Happy, healthy blessings to all.

Robin

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Smile Farms







The values upon which Smile Farms was founded reflect those of the McCann family, which has for generations believed that as citizens, neighbors, coworkers and friends, we should all strive to make a difference in the communities in which we work and live. This belief is manifested in their passion for delivering SMILES in their business and personal lives.

So in April of 2014, the McCann family created Smile Farms, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the unemployed, and often forgotten developmentally disabled neighbors in our communities across the country!


Their Story:

Jim McCann, Founder, CEO and Chairman of 1-800-flowers.com and Chris McCann, President of 1-800-flowers.com helped build a greenhouse—this may seem like an ordinary task, but it was far from it—you see it wasn’t just building a greenhouse, in doing so they afforded developmentally disabled adults with an opportunity to become an intricate part of their community, delivered a safe, nurturing location for socialization, and provided jobs to a well deserving and inspiring population.

It all started with a phone call from the Founder & CEO of the group home where their brother Kevin lives. The home was having difficulty finding local jobs for all of their residents, and they were hoping the McCann’s could leverage their business relationships to help with such placement. Knowing first-hand the importance of integrating developmentally disabled adults into a community structure, and a little something about flowers, they sprang into action and personally funded a year-round greenhouse operation to create those jobs.



From its peaceful nook on the east end of Long Island, the Flower Barn was born, and quickly became an enrichment epicenter for developmentally disabled adults who age out of traditional educational programs at twenty-one years old.  Year after year, Kevin and his housemates have grown flowers and plants that were sold to local florists and communities—providing them with a steady salary, lasting social ties and an unmistakable sense of pride. ​ ​ The families of these new found gardeners quickly saw positive changes in their demeanor, and it became clear to everyone that the Flower Barn was filling a huge gap in social services for these important members of our communities.  As word spread of the Barn’s success, Jim and Chris started getting calls from families across the country about expanding and assisting the group homes in their respective areas.  The seed was planted, brainstorming began and the concept of partnering their business with this humanitarian cause took shape.

 The McCann family has an innate belief that as citizens, neighbors, coworkers and friends, we should make a  difference in the communities in which we work and live. More importantly they are passionate about  delivering SMILES. So in the beginning of 2014, the McCann family created Smile Farms, a non-profit  organization dedicated to supporting developmentally disabled adults by building fully operational, self-  sustaining greenhouses that provide meaningful worksocial interaction and immersion in their  communities across the country.

On
 September 18, 2015 the Flower Barn transitioned into a Smile Farm, and our goal is to partner with citizens, corporations, and government entities to fund and create an additional 5 farms over the next 5 years— spreading smiles one job at a time.



How to connect

Telephone
516-237-4578


Address

Smile Farms Inc.
734 Franklin Avenue, #193
Garden City, New York, 11530


Email

Info@smilefarms.org