Monday, October 20, 2014

Love One Another; Veggietales Beauty and the Beet and GIVEAWAY!

"Would you like to review a new Veggietales DVD?"

The reply from my girl was an enthusiastic, "YES!"

The enthusiastic reply makes me very happy!

My teenage daughter with ASD did not enjoy Veggietales when she was a little girl. Now, she enjoys them and the messages in the animated videos are not lost on her. We are finally (in the teenage years) able to discuss the content and meaning. I love to hear her voice singing along with the Veggietales songs.

My daughter and I are excited to have the opportunity to review for you the newest video from Veggietales, Beauty and the Beet. Click on the photo to go to some clips from the DVD.

My daughter gives it the review of "Fantastic!"

The story of sweet potato Mirabelle and her family of singing vegetables. I can't get enough of Mirabelle! Mirabelle is so loving and sweet, even when she encounters an individual who is nothing but nasty. She reminds us that we all deserve to be loved, even when we are nasty. The story idea comes from "Beauty and the Beast" and the scriptural foundation of the story comes from 1 John 4:11, "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."

 Veggietales captured the verse and the concept of offering grace to those around us in a very fun animated story. The songs are catchy and the harmonies have me wanting to hear the songs again and again. Kelly Pickler voices the character of Mirabelle and she creates magic that my kid w/ autism and I are drawn to. The story gives us something concrete that my daughter and I can discuss. For example, I am not proud to admit that I am more like the grumpy siblings who complain about the Beet's nasty behavior and am not very much like Mirabelle who sees the person beneath the nastiness who needs to be loved.

We loved the story. We loved every single second of it. And we've watched it more than once and will continue to watch it again and again. (That's what we do here.)

There are so many concepts that are difficult to teach to a child with autism, concepts that are not concrete and rely on examples. For a very literal child, one example can create a skewed understanding of that concept, and we as parents and teachers need more examples to draw from. As the homeschooling mom to a child on the spectrum, Beauty and the Beet has given us several opportunities to relate events to the story and to talk about them over time. 

If you are homeschooling a teen or tween on the autism spectrum, looking for ideas to present difficult concepts about faith, love, grace, etc, I highly recommend including Veggietales in your box of resources.The musical on DVD is in stores now priced around $10.

I get the impression that the Veggietales folks are autism friendly. "That's Larry the Cucumber," the volunteer in the concession stand told me. We were selling snacks at the high school football game and a tall gentleman was at the window placing his order. The volunteer working alongside me happens to work in an autism classroom and she told me about a day when "Larry Boy" came to her school for a lengthy visit with a boy whose special interest is all things Veggietales. That story makes me love them even more. (If only I could introduce them to my kid w/ autism. She wants to be a voice actress one day. And man oh man, she can sing!)

In the media materials I received, I read this little tidbit that I want so share with you: 
"BEAUTY AND THE BEET is just the start of the fun in store this fall for VeggieTales fans, because the gang will also star in a brand-new Netflix original series, VeggieTales In the House, which premieres Thanksgiving weekend."
"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

I have been offered a copy of Beauty and the Beet to give away! Post a comment about what you like about Veggietales on my blog to enter. Be sure to leave me contact info, too! That's it! My homeschooler and I will draw a winner a week from tomorrow, Tuesday, 28-Oct-2014!

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

College Visit Road Trip

My firstborn and I hit the road for a long-distance college visit. We had two days packed with meetings and tours. One of our favorite activities was watching the college marching band on its practice field and later on the football field. We toured the campus, met staff, experienced a college class, ate in the dining facility, shopped at the bookstore. What fun!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Wings to Soar

Homeschool field trips are fun. We really enjoyed the Wings to Soar program. I have attended bird shows before, but they were always outdoors and at a huge theme park. The program indoors in a small meeting room was very special.The program was about 40 minutes long and my homeschooler with autism was engaged the entire time. We learned a lot about the birds. My favorite - a tie between the vulture and the bald eagle. The vulture has quite a personality. :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Special Thank You

I got an opportunity to say "Thank you" tonight.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Mariano Rivera's Story: The Closer

The guys at my house love baseball. They are not New York fans, but when I got the opportunity to review The Closer, My Story by Mariano Rivera with Wayne Coffey, I jumped on it.

I have the impression that the lives of major league baseball players are easy and have always been easy. I picture these men as golden children who were naturally talented and landed in the major leagues without much effort.

Mariano Rivera's story burst a bubble in the fairy tale in my mind about major league baseball players.

He grew up a kid in a poor country without a proper baseball anything. No baseball diamond. A glove made from a milk carton. A stick for a bat. Who would ever dream that a boy's accuracy in killing iguanas  with rocks to put food on the table would translate into a young man's ability to throw a baseball with that same accuracy?

His life plan was to be a mechanic. He retired as the best relief pitcher in baseball and one of the most popular MLB players in history. (His is the most popular jersey sold today.)

The story of how Mariano Rivera made it from a fishing town in Panama to Yankee Stadium is captivating. Rivera experienced a lot of what I call God-incidences in his life, and he is quick to reveal his his own awe and his own faith to readers and he reminds us that his success and blessings come from God. Rivera gives us glimpses into what he was thinking every step of the way and that insight and perspective draws me deeper and deeper into his story. (I have to admit that I would like to read a companion book by Rivera's wife, Clara, the story from her perspective, too!)

My son, the baseball nut and Detroit Tigers fan, read the book first. He said Rivera's story is humbling. Rivera started with very little compared to what we have. My son calls Rivera an inspiration after reading the book.

The Closer is a 288 page hardback list priced at $28. I highly recommend it for all the baseball fans and non-fans in your life. Barnabas Agency gave me a copy of The Closer at no charge to review here on my blog. I was not paid for this review and am not obligated to provide a positive review.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

School's Out For Summer

The sky and clouds this week have been spectacular. The sky looks like a painting. We had an Irlen update - my girl's dark lenses are working well for her - and we as a family have been busy with skating, baseball, and marching band as it kicked off this week. One mom said, "It's water jug season!"

Monday, May 26, 2014

New Pet

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Impromptu Field Trip (Lessons in Flexibility and Prioritizing)

We had plans to shop at the Scholastic warehouse sale. My girl had already handled one disappointment. She wanted to go last week, but my schedule would not allow it. But as I backed out of the garage to take her brother to school, we had an unexpected surprise.
I had to find a way to get my son to school. I had to call roadside assistance and get the spare tire on the vehicle. I had to get a new tire - which involved a lot of unexpected waiting. I managed to model my thinking process aloud for and with my girl., real life, in context, working on cognitive goals and objectives.

At first, she was concerned only about her trip to the warehouse to look for books. I explained how sometimes, we have to change our priorities and that I was making a list in my mind of what we needed to do and wanted to do and that I was ranking them by importance. I explained that the rules of the spare tire include driving 40 miles or less on it, so getting to a tire doctor quickly is very important. The book warehouse is across the city and we want to go on a tire that is safe for that.

She brought some activities to work on while we waited. I brought some activities to do while we waited. But the waiting was longer than our activities and she and I were tired and bored. We bought junk food from the vending machine. 

We watched the clouds. Usually we look for cloud formations, but this day, we saw sky formations the clouds left. See the heart? 

She came up with spinning coins by herself.

We finally got the tire changed and were on our way to the warehouse. We came home with a bounty of new books to enjoy. And this impromptu field trip took us out of the house and on to learning in new ways.

I'm proud of me for being able to self-regulate in a way that allowed her to be a part of the experiences of the day. She wasn't happy about another delay to the warehouse; she wasn't happy about the unexpected wait; and yet, together, we managed. That is a good day.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Little Victories

The boy had another baseball game tonight. I love to watch him play!

His sister, who has been slightly grumpy the last two days, was given (by me) the assignment to come up with some things to do during the game. I am working to give her experience and practice in forethought. I suggested some items she could bring. She rejected most of my ideas. (I suggested she bring her math workbook, for one.) To add to the grumpiness, my daughter's skating coach was sick today and my girl did not get on the ice. Skating feeds her senses. However, she managed to get to the game REALLY prepared:

And, guess what else?! She made a friend.
And our team won.
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