Tag Archives: cape coral

Oma’s Matzo Ball Soup!

9 Nov

P.S. on the Matzo thing…(my apologies for my wacky punctuation and grammar… I’m hiding right now. I don’t know why I can’t hide and use proper grammar, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it….)


Here, have a picture that has maybe just a wee bit to do with the rest of this post… It’s Alex (a very little Alex as I was holding him up while this picture was being taken and I haven’t been able to do that for a long long long time) and me at Oktoberfest here in Cape Coral at the German-American Social Club.  Only in the south would you find this wooden picture thing with the cleavage this covered up!  The hat is Alex’s.  It’s his first traditional German wool hat.  We try to add a pin to it every year, but we did not go to Oktoberfest this year due to scheduling and me being so damn sick.  I did find a little charm that says “Kunzelsau” which is where my grandparents lived and where I used to visit them when they were alive.  I found it on ebay and I have it in my pile of stuff to fix and make… I’m going to modify it into a small pin for his hat.  He does need a bigger hat now, but as it’s so hot here, I think we’ll just keep decorating the one he’s had since he was 2….


The recipe I started out with was this one:  Oma’s Fabulous Matzo Ball Soup.  I chose this one because I had nearly all of the ingredients and the “Oma” in the title gave me the warm fuzzies.  My mom is from Germany and Alex calls her “Oma” (my dad is Popi pronounced “pop E”… My mom claims she never spelled it this way.  Every time we see them we have the “Pope I” or “Pope Eye” discussion. Every. Single. Time.  I called my dad’s dad “Popi” when I was growing up and it is spelled “Popi” in the funny little captions my mom put in all of my baby albums.)… I called her parents “Oma and Opa” and my dad’s dad (my grandmother died the year before I was born) “Popi”.  So anyway.  The word Oma gives me warm fuzzies and makes me remember some of the foods my Oma made for me during summer visits to her house on the Kocher river in Kunzelsau, Germany.  She never made Matzo ball soup.  But she did make tasty treats like Pflaum kuchen served with Kartofle Suppe (potato soup)… Please don’t mind my spelling… I’m blogging in secret right now as if kiddo discovers I’m out of the shower I’m going to be his captive video game audience before I make him some dinner.    Oooh and she would make baked apples for my grandfather and a pitcher of cool vanilla sauce to drizzle over them.  She would give me a glass of the vanilla sauce to drink (it was like a thick but not frothy vanilla shake…and not too cold.. perfection)… Summer was one of the few times I was allowed to have such sweets and treats…. Ok… I’ll post how I modified the recipe in a little bit…  I’m also baking a cake tonight as a surprise for a belated 70th birthday for my dad, 8th birthday for Alex, and 36th birthday for me.  We haven’t been together as a family, with me feeling up to baking anything, in the past few months, so I figured that I’d make a baked cake inspired by icebox cake (Dad’s favorite)…  Ok. Off and running!




Smashes Clay & Alex Bowls

10 Oct

I recently had the adventure of taking a parent & child class in hand building clay at Cape Coral Art Studio. Every Saturday morning for 8 weeks, Alex and I hopped in the car and dragged ourselves to the studio to play in the mud.

Our teacher, Teri Aldred, was fantastic. She is a talented clay and mosaic artist and also works as a substitute teacher in our local school system and she has experience teaching other parent-child pairs with Autism.

Class was a challenge, but definitely gave me insight into some of the quirks and challenges Alex has in a classroom situation, which I’m not privy to at home, and those insights were definitely priceless when writing his IEP for this school year.

We made a couple of things. Our first project was a bowl made by slump forming. Alex put “m” all over the outside of his, as he decided the bowl was going to be for something tasty that would make a person exclaim “mmmm”. I put his name and he stamped mine on my bowl, and we used netting from a bag of oranges to make sort of a fishing net/fish net stocking texture. I learned that Alex cannot sit and listen to directions and understand them in a lecture and then hands-on sort of a setting. He was hugely distracted by the stereo in the classroom and all of the features and buttons.

So the next week we got to class a few minutes early. We took a photo of the stereo system on my iPod touch (we aren’t cell phone people…no need for them.) so he could zoom in and look at all of the features after class. I then took notes of each step Miss Teri spoke of. Due to low muscle tone, Alex has some trouble manipulating a rolled slab of clay into anything more than a pile, and with my weakened (RA fun! I’m working on regaining my hand strength and dexterity now that the joint swelling has subsided some) hands I wasn’t exactly adept, but we made do. So I wound up rolling him a footed cylinder and he decorated it. I then went to work carving my footed pot.

Alex needed to move more so he puttered around the classroom, playing with a sponge and water. I decided the goal for next week would be to get him to not play with the sponge during class. He really enjoyed the tactile experience of the sponge and water, particularly after handling red clay and having dried out and dusty feeling clay hands. I promised him his own soft sponge at home, if he only used it when he was supposed to in class (and not to dribble over our work when we were waiting for coats of glaze to dry)…

Our bowls were bone dry, so Alex gently sanded his with a little square of scotchbrite pad, and I used my super pointy stick thingy (the technical term) to etch and carve sharper details into the sides of my bowl.

Then the inevitable happened.

It slipped from my hands and broke into a pile of dusty chunks. Our teacher was so upset. I didn’t even flinch. I’ve been dropping things my whole life. One of the reasons I chose to work primarily with vintage plastics/phenolics way back when is because of my unpredictable hands.

She told me I could glaze the pieces anyway, and use them for a mosaic. So all was not lost.

All in all, I learned so much about Alex and his learning style. I thought I knew that stuff pretty well, but add in actual real life scenarios with other kids and teachers and a new set of rules in a new location with all new sensory stimuli, and it’s the same beast, but it’s in high definition.

Alex and I had some great conversations going back and forth to class, particularly about how he wasn’t focused and wasn’t fully engaged and how he was not really enjoying the class but he was enjoying spending time with me. We realized that the reason class felt more stressful than we anticipated, is because we were basically working as parallel entities. Two projects, two people. Side by side. Two Aspies and parallel play. Not exactly a rarity, is it? To keep him engaged, and to enjoy more of the cooperative aspect of the experience, we decided to work on one project but make all of the decisions together. If I say that the surviving bowl is his bowl and that he made it, he corrects me “It’s our bowl, Mama. We share.” So sweet.

I was hoping to pick up another class with him, but he doesn’t want to do clay anymore.

The end result is that we have a gorgeous bowl on our kitchen/work table and two footed pots and a better understanding of each other. And we have shards. Lots of shards. When we have a yard and garden or our first real (non-condo/apartment) house I’m going to use them there. Someday…. I hope.



For me?

16 Jun

School’s out FOREVER. It’s true. Kiddo’s school closed for good- no camp this year, no brand new school year in August. The economy and the resulting drops in enrollment have left us scrambling for options for his second grade year, and without an appropriate summer program. Eeeeek! Trying to figure it all out, trying to heal and get strong (I now have Enbrel on board), trying to get our shidoobie together as it feels like we’ve been in survival mode for far too long and that stress has taken quite a toll on all three of us.

I’m sad about the school closing, but also aware that this is an opportunity to change things up and maybe put a more holistic program into place for kiddo and for me.

Necessity is the mother of invention and the mountains that appear unconquerable at first, in time become the source of great opportunity and unparalleled learning.

Puttin’ mah boots on and waiting on a new pair of wellies for kiddo. We’ll climb the mountain, and stomp in a few puddles before this summer cools off.


Autism & Testing 1-2-3…

21 Oct

Originally uploaded by CleverIndie

This is from our local Autism Speaks’ Facebook page:
***Please note that the Care Mobile will also be at the Autism Speaks SWFL Walk Now for Autism on November 7 at Estero Community Park*****

The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, in partnership with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwest Florida, will offer free monthly autism spectrum disorder screening for toddlers 18 months to 36 months of age.

The first screening will be held Nov. 6 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, located in the Cape Coral Hospital parking lot. Additional screenings will be conducted monthly at different locations across Lee County.

It is estimated that one in every 150 children is diagnosed with some form of ASD, making it more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes and pediatric AIDS combined.

That’s why parents are encouraged to bring their toddlers to the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile for a free screening. Clinicians will use the M-CHAT, with Denver Developmental Screening Tool to assess the toddlers. The screening is not intended to make a definitive ASD diagnosis, but rather to determine whether your child may be at risk and needs further evaluation.

Medical consultants for the project stress that an early diagnosis can make a vast difference for toddlers and their families. They say early intensive behavioral intervention, or EIBI, can make an immense difference not just in the development of the child, but in their families as well.

The ASD screening is conducted by the Neurosciences Center at TCH, under the guidance of pediatric neurologist Jose Colon, MD, MPH, and pediatric psychiatrist Marianne Krouk, DO. The onsite screenings will be administered by an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, who has extensive training and experience in typical child development and developmental disorders.

A physician referral is not required. To schedule a screening, please call 239-985-3608.”

If you have any concerns, I’d make an appointment. For those who think that a pediatrician would have mentioned something during the annual checkup, I wouldn’t put all of my trust in that, though it is getting better. Remember, getting clarification and help for you and your child, is the best thing for your kid and their future, and the earlier, the better.

Just wanted to share….Hope this helps someone…


18 Aug

No Diving!

Originally uploaded by CleverGirlBek

Here she comes….

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