Sunday, January 27, 2008

Mardi Gras Make Your Own Mask

With Mardi Gras seemingly early this year, the stores have been stocked with King Cakes, beads, masks and decorations. My kids are already getting excited so we thought it would be a great theme for my son's recent 3rd birthday.

The kids created their own Mardi Gras mask. I purchased plain masks, feathers, glitter stars, stickers, ribbon and other bobbles. I set out the accessories in a plastic veggie tray so the kids could easily access them. I also set out tape, glue and scissors.

The masks were spectacular and everyone enjoyed making them. Make one of your own for Mardi Gras this year. (or your own Mardi Gras-themed party anytime. We also played Zydeco-musical chairs.)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Whole Foods Offers Child Care

I love Whole Foods though I do understand how they get the nickname "Whole paycheck." A shopping trip there costs quite a bit more than a store like Krogers. But, the higher prices do mean higher quality organic and natural foods. Plus, helping support Whole Foods to "promote environmental stewartship."
AND they've just opened their first in-store child care facility! The extra price for shopping at Whole Foods sans kiddos just might be worth it!

"The Sugar Land (TX) store will offer shoppers the ultimate Whole Foods Market experience, with an incredible variety of natural, local and organic foods all in an environment designed for every member of the family," said Jay Dalton, Store Team Leader. "We are proud to offer the first ever Sweet Peas Clubhouse™, a supervised play area for children ages 3–7, as well as an extensive landscaped plaza designed as a relaxing haven and social gathering stop for friends and families." (from the Whole Foods Press Room)

Finally, now until February 5th if you purchase a Mardi Gras King Cake from Whole Foods, a portion of the proceeds will go to help rebuild the Louisiana Shrimp Community.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Neurofeedback - healing the brain, healing the soul...

I've seen the power of neurofeedback first-hand. My dear friends, Lynette and Dessa, are both practitioners. Lynette is showcasing her amazing talents and story in her one-woman show

"THING TO THING TO THING" Friday Jan. 18th, 2008 at The Complex Theater in Hollywood, CA - 6478 Santa Monica Blvd.

She'll be performing one last show before upgrading to bigger theaters this April during Autism Awareness Month.

"Thing to Thing is a one woman show filled with the variety of a woman whose life has been multifaceted. This woman’s journey is revealed through slapstick, standup, music, characters, stories and neuroscience. It is a marvelous blend of intelligent information and goofy fun. Lynette has led an inspirational life. She shares her journey with honesty and bluntness. She hides nothing. In order to make a success of her life Lynette required self healing which led to the healing of others. She has a lot of wisdom to share. This uniquely talented woman presents her life with in a mosaic of mesmerizing energy, thigh-slapping comedy, tears of struggle and a love of others. There has never been any show more rewarding to be a part of."

"In 2003 Lynette Louise became the only professional from the Autism Treatment Center of America to be certified in two modalities: Option Process Mentor Counselor and Child Facilitator. Lynette has been practicing the Option Process since 1997 and working unofficially with autism since 1983 when she first began adopting children (four of which ‘were’ on the spectrum of Autism). Her incredible life story of raising two biological children and six adopted children is truly an inspiration.
After having helped hundreds of adults and children with a combination of playroom, dialogue, and family dynamics counseling, Lynette added
Neurofeedback 3 years ago to the list of ways in which she can help heal the brain. Lynette, has also worked successfully with BiPolar, Cerebral Palsy, Alzheimer, Parkinson’s, Tourettes, Seizure Disorders ADHD, Depression, Addiction, and Traumatic Brain Injury."
reprinted from

I distinctly remember meeting Lynette's most challenged son, Dar almost 10 years ago. He must have been 17-years-old at the time. He was naked, jumping up and down and grunting loudly. I couldn't help but love him. For many years, I was not able to understand a thing Dar said. Since he's had neurofeedback, Dar's speech has improved immensely. I can now understand him.

In Lynette's own words, "Of all the miracles I’ve ever seen happen for someone with autism my son Dar’s Neurofeedback story moves me the most. He was my first patient. He was twenty-three years old. He was easily frustrated, non-verbal, self- injurious, occasionally violent. When not in a fit of sensory overload he was totally sweet. Dar was 100% dependent on others. His hands were mostly closed he could manipulate very few objects and had an intense tremor whenever purposefully reach for something. I’d done everything I could think of to help him and still he was truly the most autistic man I have met to date. Then Dar did Neurofeedback. By the time he was twenty-six others could understand him a little, he could play his CD player and help fold cloths badly. He still gets better every day. All I do to facilitate that is Neurofeedback. At this point my family coexists in harmony with him and the neighbor kids occasionally invite him along. Best of all he doesn’t hit anyone not even himself. Dar requests Neurofeedback if he feels stressed, though we don’t always understand his request because Neurofeedback is hard to say. According to Dar Neurofeedback makes him ‘always feel better’. And that’s enough for me."

"Neurofeedback is biofeedback for the brain. Simply put it help strengthen the brain, calms it and improves its stability. Also called neurotherapy, neurobiofeedback or EEG biofeedback it is a therapy technique that presents the user with realtime feedback on brain-waves activity, as measured by brain wave sensors placed on the scalp, typically in the form of a video game or video display accompanied by a “beep” or music. The aim is to enable conscious control of brain-wave activity. If brain activity changes in the direction desired by the therapist, a positive reward or positive feedback is given to the individual, and if it regresses, no feedback is given. Rewards can be as simple as a change in pitch of a tone or as complex as a certain type of movement of a character in a video game. This experience can also be called operant conditioning for internal states.
Other areas where neurofeedback has been researched include treatment of substance abuse, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, and MTBI."
read more at Brain&Body

YouTube has samples not only of the show (go to:, but also documentary style footage showing a beautiful young girl before treatment and after treatment (go to: This clip clearly demonstrates the miracle of play and neurofeedback therapy mixed together.
For more information on neurofeedback and its applications you can visit these links:

Monday, January 14, 2008

Star Wars at NASA

One of my childhood dreams came to life recently at Space Center Houston. And the best part, my kids were able to share the experience with me. The Space Center held a Star Wars Fan Day complete with a "large presence" of Storm Troopers. I saw a full scale X-wing fighter and the lightsaber used in the movie by Luke Skywalker. It's actually considered a space artifact now!

"The Jedi lightsaber was carefully stowed aboard Discovery and flew into space with the seven STS-120 astronauts to the International Space Station before returning to Earth 14 days later."
"After travelling six million miles, the Jedi lightsaber was part of a new exhibit at Space Center Houston that showcased a small collection of famous Star Wars movie props and a full-size X-wing starfighter."
(reprinted from more here)

I'm so glad we attended the event. It truly was a one-of-a-kind experience! I was not only star-struck, I was nostalgia-struck. I remember waiting in line for several hours outside the Alabama Theatre to watch Star Wars with my family. (The theatre is now a book store). After watching Star Wars, I left that theatre in awe. I felt that same awe as I stood on the floor of Space Center Houston surrounded by movie memorabilia and characters.

As for my kids, they hadn't really seen much of the Star Wars movies, but they still enjoyed seeing the starfighter and especially the many characters. Return of the Jedi aired on satellite the next day and both my kids were glued to the TV!

(Someone's video of the lightsaber-

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Back to the ol' routine...

well, sort of...

Getting up in the morning's a bit of a challenge after the long holiday break!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

It's a (New) Family Tradition...

Our family Christmas included a few new traditions this year and they went over BIG!

The kids were instructed to make some sort of art project to bring to our Christmas Eve gathering.

Most of the kids brought a drawing or painting. There was a paper mache Santa, some hand-painted ornaments, and a snowman made from torn pieces of construction paper.
All the projects were amazing and the kids really enjoyed creating them.
The adults held a silent auction. Bids started at $1 with a $20 maximum bid. (Though a few coveted art pieces went for $27!). To be fair, the money raised was pooled together and divided amongst the children. Each child was also given an award certificate.

CHRISTMAS PHOTO BOOK-My cousin, Charlotte, created a Christmas photo book from pictures taken at last year's Christmas get-together. She used the website BLURB to create the book. Charlotte wrote that it was time to combine her love of family and passion for photography-we're glad she did! Each year the adults participate in a "Scrooge" game similar to a "White Elephant" gift exchange game. Charlotte's ever-so popular Christmas book was stolen the max of 5 times! I didn't get the book-guess I'll be buying it off the website.