40 iPad Apps That Our Homeschooling Family Loves

We are an iPad loving family.  We don’t just love tablets in general, to be clear.  Specifically we love iPads.  When the Captain bought us another type of tablet, the Galaxy something-or-other, we promptly returned it.  What a faker.  Could never live up to the real deal.  iPads rock.  And I have frequently said, since becoming a believer, that it’s my favorite homeschool resource.  Of all the books, workbooks, videos, computer programs out there, I’d do without every single one of them just so that I could have an iPad.  It’s, hands down, my favorite thing.  We actually have three.  My husband has a business related one.  I have one that we all use.  And Drayken has one, a mini, that he saved up his money for and bought himself.  We all agree that the mini is not preferred over the larger iPad.  It’s just too small.  No one around here likes it, not even the owner.

Anyway, people who know we love the iPad have often asked us for names of our favorite apps.  So I finally took a little time to compose a few lists for you.  The kids and I each have a list of ten apps that we simply love.  There is some overlap (a few apps that two of the children would have chosen) but I’ve only listed each app once.

Enjoy and let us know if you have any questions!

First up, Hunter, my 9 year old son.

1.  Army of Darkness

2.  Survival Craft

3.  Minecraft

4.  Little Things

5. LEGO Creationary

6.  Tic Tac Toe Phonicsth

7.  Presidents Vs. Aliens

8.  Dyslexia Quest

9.  Beemo

10.  Band Together

Next up, Ronin, the 7 year old girl.

1.  Wheel of Fortune

2.  CanastaWheel-of-fortune-logo

3.  Uno & Friends

4.  Bookworm

5.  Bible Story:  Esther

6.  Naughty Pony

7.  Counting Money

8.  Rocket Speller

9.  Text Now

10.  Light Board

Third is Drayken, our 4 year old boy.

1.  Sonic Dash

2.  Monster’s Inc. Run

3.  Legends of Ooo

4.  Bamba Apps:  Burger, Ice cream, Pizza

5.  Fire House

6.  Curious George Zoo

7.  Letter School

8.  Fix-It Felix

9.  Wood Maze World Flags

10.  Little People Market

And finally, my list… the 35 year old homeschool mom.

1.  Spelling City

2.  Evernote

3.  NPR Music

4.  Stitchernpr

5.  Telling Time

6.  Alphabet and Number mazes

7.  NBC

8.  Skype

9.  Kindle

10.  Homework Radio

And that’s it folks.  (Most of) my family’s favorite apps for the iPad.  A few that we had listed I could not find links for so I had to list something in its place.  But this is a pretty decent sampling of what we use our iPads most often.  We hope you enjoy our lists and that you find something wonderful and new for your  homeschools or your free time or to help out in your busy lifestyles!  Let us know if you see any mistakes in the list.

Have a great school year!

Why I Believe That I’m an Aspergirl Part 6

I had no idea that this would turn out to be such a… verbose series.  So many words!  In case you are just joining me, I’ve been breaking down the Females with Asperger’s Syndrome Non-Official Checklist and this is  the second to last entry in the series.

Section I: Confusion

I feel like I spend every day of my life beung confused.  I’m confused about the state of my marriage (are we trying right now?  is he about to leave me?  is he going to kick me out soon?).  I’m confused when Facebook changes.  I’m confused about how to use things like Twitter and Pinterest and even WordPress, which I’m trying to overcome right now.

Learning that people are not always honest (or good or kind or right) was very difficult for me.  I’m not sure I’ve learned it yet, actually.  I still think that if someone has lied to me or treated me badly, I must have done something to cause it.  It never occurred to me that I should avoid being around people who lied and so I didn’t avoid them and it’s gotten me into pretty distressing situations.  When people, ” ostracize, shun, belittle, trick, and betray”, I am also convinced that I must have deserved it.  I was recently shunned by a group of bloggers who had taken me on as a writer.  Then, suddenly, I’m wanting to talk about some vibes I was getting from them and the next thing I know, they have removed me from the group, changed my password, and refused to respond to my request to get my article back.  Who does that?  I have no idea what went down there but it felt bad.

Without my calendar, I cannot keep up with appointment times.  If it’s not written in my calendar, I will surely forget it.  That said, I’m good about referring to my calendar so appointments aren’t forgotten or missed around me… ever.

I’ve never really thought about it before but I’d say it is true that extreme emotions are easier for me to identify than more calm, even emotions.  In fact, I’m not sure I even recognize those more calm emotions in myself.  In those states, I’m just being.  And then bam, there’s a feeling and it’s big.  I think it might be fair to say that is why I seem to be having mood swings at times… because when a big emotion hits, it feels like it came out of no where but in reality it was creeping up inside and I didn’t notice until it was so much bigger and impossible to ignore.

Jokes have often been difficult for me.  It’s not so much that I don’t understand them or they “go over my head” but I just don’t think they are funny.  Which is interesting since comedy is one of my passions.  I guess the truth is that jokes aren’t a type of comedy that I like.  If someone is telling a joke, I may or may not think it is funny.  I find humor in the awkwardness of reality.  Which is probably why “The Office” is my favorite show.  To me, there are no jokes in those scripts… just a bunch of awkward and subtle interaction that gives us a glimpse inside of the people and their awkwardness or their desperation or their weakness.  Now THAT is funny. And relatable.

Many a time I have felt sorry for people who have persecuted me.  Rarely has there ever been a person who has been mean to me or done something to hurt me who didn’t end up with my sympathy.  It takes a LOT for me to fantasize about revenge against a person.  There is this one particular person who I am especially annoyed with.  I have never met her.  But she keeps doing something to me, indirectly, that I am really hating.  And as mad as I am at her, and as good as it felt to block her from my business facebook page just because I don’t like her, I still feel bad for her.  I can’t tell if I’m pathetic or a good person.  It’s just how I am.

I’m not sure that I really think that a small fight might signal the end of a relationship so much as in my experience, small fights HAVE signaled the end of a relationship.  I cannot think of too many times in my life where there has been a disagreement and the person didn’t abandon me afterward.  Occasionally they came back but when they did, there was irreparable damage done.

Small compliments do make my day and I will remember them for the rest of my life.  No joke.  I remember probably every nice thing that has ever been said to me.

Section J: Words and Patterns

Speaking of remembering things… I forget more than I remember but the things that I do remember about people or events are very odd things.  And it’s awkward when I see someone for the first time in years and I spout off something strange that I remember about them.  I hear, “I can’t believe you remember that” a lot.

You mean, liking to know word origins isn’t just a sign that I’m a nerd?  Hmm, who would have know?

“High interest in song lyrics” just makes me laugh.  I mean, I have spent so many hours of my life reading the lyrics to my favorite songs.  Analyzing them, memorizing them, clearing up parts that I may have misheard.  I see this in my daughter too.  She’s currently obsessed with the song “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.  She’s studied and learned every single word and now she proudly says she can rap.  I learned so much about history and pop culture from TMBG lyrics.  Their lyrics were a gift to my brain… learn the lyrics, look up the references, learn something cool.  Yay!

I wouldn’t say that I’m confused by multiple meanings of words… but I am exhilarated by it!  It’s so much fun when words have more than one meaning.  I want to learn them all!

I certainly have emotions that are connected to various words.  I use words or phrases from my past and emotions or memories come to me.  My favorite word is “salient”.  I learned it in college.  It makes me happy because it reminds me of my days of feeling smart for making good grades and doing research.  I also love cathartic for similar reasons.  Words are cool.

My assumption is that I have a visual memory.  I don’t remember things like I am reading a journal entry.  I remember pictures.  But the pictures rarely include the people in my memory.  They are blurred, like they would be in a dream.  What I see are the places, the environment.  And I remember emotions.  How I was feeling.  I am thankful for photographs or else I’d have no memory of what my kids looked like in their younger years.

Writing is one of my best anxiety relievers.  I’m using writing to relieve anxiety right now.

(Optional) Executive Functioning

Learning to drive a car was so terribly hard for me.  It took me years.  I had to take my driver’s test five times before I finally passed and even then I think they just finally gave me the license so that they could get rid of me.  Certain aspects of driving are still difficult and I prefer to avoid driving.  But my mom was like that and I hated it because we never went outside of our town because of it so driving is one of those things I do despite the anxiety it causes me.

Rounding corners sucks.  Just ask my poor bruised up hips and thighs.

Simple tasks can definitely cause me extreme hardship.  For instance, back when I used to try and balance a check book.  That.  Or reading and understanding “Lord of the Flies” in high school.  Or finding my car in a parking lot.  Or following the directions my gps gives me.  It’s not enough to have a gps.  That requires being able to follow directions and once in a while, that is too much for me all together.  Doesn’t help that my gps often leads me to the wrong location.

It is quite likely that I am dyslexic.  I definitely cannot follow steps, follow choreographed dance moves, fix things, assemble things, learn how to play a game from reading directions (I always rely upon my husband or my daughter to teach me), and yes, a trip to some grocery stores can be overwhelming.  There are certain days when driving and going out in public are just too much for me. Most of the time, I just have to suck it up.  And I end up offending someone or something because what I really needed was to stay at home!

In Part 7, I’ll talk about where I am in my journey and making peace with this self-diagnosis.  Thanks for reading.

Hunter’s Ways to Live Forever

July 30th will mark the third anniversary of my oldest son’s leukemia diagnosis.  Three years since my entire world was flipped upside down.  Three years since I thought my heart would literally break from the pain and that I would never be able to shower enough to wash the stench of fear off myself.  Three years.

Three years ago, a six year old Hunter had just started chemo and his new life living as a cancer patient in the hospital.

Three years ago, a six year old Hunter had just started chemo and his new life living as a cancer patient in the hospital.

Hunter is no longer taking any cancer-related meds.  He’s graduated from occupational therapy.  He’s playing catch up academically with his tutor and doing rather well most of the time.  He’s making progress in physical therapy and hasn’t walked with a limp nor a cane in weeks.  He appears to be pain free.  He doesn’t have to return to the cancer clinic again until November when he has to undergo his thorough 3-years-past-transplant tests.  They will last all day.

From the surface it might look like the cancer part of our lives is over.  At least for now.

But there is so much beneath the surface.  Lurking.

My youngest child Drayken, who, in theory, was too little to take in too much of what happened to his Bubbie, asked us if we were going to take Hunter to check up on his “blood cancer” on the way to Hunter’s last clinic visit.  None of us have ever referred to leukemia as a blood cancer, which it is, around here.  Somewhere, somehow, over the past three years he’s taken that in.  What else did he take in?

My daughter, Ronin, has fears that limit her.  Limit her from feeling comfortable with walking down the hall in the dark.  Limit her from looking in all of the closets when we can’t find her older brother.  Fears that leave her trembling and hysterical when we still cannot find her brother and end up calling 911.  Because she didn’t look in the closets and was too scared to tell me that she didn’t look because she was scared of zombies.  Her fears paralyze her.

And then, of course, there is Hunter who appears to be struggling on so many levels that I don’t even bother to try and list them all.  But they are there and they are being dealt with as best they can be dealt with.  And they lead me to believe he’s taken off in the night.  And they lead me to feel scared and on edge most of the time.

When things get hard, I find it affirming to focus on my goals.  To focus on the things that I want to do in this life before it’s over. 

Recently we had a chance to preview a new film that is set to release in theater this Friday, July 19th.  “Ways to Live Forever” is a story about life and a boy’s attempt to live as much of it as he can while he still has a chance.  The main character in the film has leukemia so, needleWays-to-Live-Forever-poster

ss to say, many elements in the film hit home, deeply, for us.  So much so that my daughter refused to watch and my son has turned down any request to watch it again (for the sake of capturing a genuine reaction from him for this article).

Sam made a list of things he wanted to do before he died and then set about doing them.  In honor of the film, my children and I have also made a list of the things we’d like to do before we die.  And in many ways we have also already set about doing those things.  Some of the items on our list are goofy.  Some are redundant.  Some will possibly break your heart when you consider the source.  Some were left unsaid for fear they couldn’t possibly come true (for instance, Hunter is no longer focusing on his option to marry and then adopt if his treatment proves to have left him sterile…instead he’s focusing on bachelorhood and cat ownership).

Here are some things we wish to do before we die:

Drayken, age 4:

Play lots of video games

Share with people who don’t have things

Eat a lot of ice cream sundaes

Become a man

Be a husband and daddy

Ronin, age 7:

Go to a Macklemore concert

Travel the world:  Mexico, China, France, New York, Japan, California

Be a wife and a homeschool mom

Work with the FBI for at least a year

Be a lawyer

Go out in the woods and eat wild rabbit

Live to be 100

Never smoke or become a stripper (I think what she means here is to be honorable and decent and moral)

Go to college at age 15 (even taking one college course at this time would count)

Perform in a comedy act

Own a horse

Hunter, age 9:

Go to Mexico, Germany, Japan, France, Italy, and China

Be paid as an actor

Have a cat

Learn Japanese

Earn black belt (or at least a high bel

t) in karate

Mandy, age 35:

Perform in a real improv troupe in front of an audience

Pursue visual arts and create some stuff

Homeschool my kids as long as they want

Finally write that book

Stay married until “death do us part”

What’s on your list?  I’d love to hear how you and your children plan to live forever!  Post links in the comments!

Today they are healthy, happy children but still deeply affected by our cancer journey.

Today they are healthy, happy children but still deeply affected by our cancer journey.

Opening weekend attendance is very important for a successful release when dealing with specialty films such as WAYS TO LIVE FOREVER.  If you live in any of the following cities, please go out and see this beautiful and inspiring film about life.  A certain portion of the total box office proceeds will go out to support various children’s hospitals, cancer-related charities and organizations.  WAYS TO LIVE FOREVER will be showing in both Burbank and Orange, CA, New York, NY, Cherry Hill, NJ, Dallas, TX, Chicago, IL, Norfolk, VA, and Baltimore, MD. 

Check out WAYS star Robbie Kay as he talks about his list of Ways to Live Forever.   

To the cast, crew, producers, writers, and supporters of the film:  Thank you for making this movie a reality.  My prayer is that it educates and inspires a vast number of people to look at life differently and to keep fighting for scientific breakthroughs regarding childhood cancer and finding a cure.  Well done!

Why I Believe That I’m an Aspergirl Part 5

Yay!  Welcome back!  I’m still analyzing the heck out of this checklist.  And now it’s time to talk about how flippin’ sensitive I am.  Maybe it would be more appropriate to have my husband write this section since he has to deal with the outcome of my sensitivities but, of course, that isn’t going to happen.  The fact that my husband, as far as I know, has never read my blog makes me cry.  But I digress.

Section G: Sensitive

Sleeping has become much easier now that I know that there are certain things I can and cannot wear to bed.  Also, it helps to know that if my sleeping environment is over the temperature of 68 degrees I will not sleep (which makes sleeping at someone else’s house very hard because they rarely want to have their house this cold).  Over the years I have learned that I need a white noise machine or else my “mom ears” will wake me up at just the slightest teensy bit of noise.  I don’t do well with certain types of covers… flannel sheets are a no-go.  Bed spreads are too heavy.  And,  I cannot sleep in the middle.  I have to be on the edge of the bed or else.  Everyone likes to cater to mom’s sleeping needs because if mom doesn’t sleep, mom isn’t happy.  And we all know what it’s like when mom isn’t happy, don’t we?

My dreams have always been wild and interesting.  I often have anxiety-filled dreams.  Especially if I’m going through a tough time (like losing my mom or having my kid go through a bone marrow transplant).  I have found that when my dreams become particularly difficult to deal with, there is relief in taking Holy Basil.  There have been several times in the past when I’ve had precognitive dreams.  For instance, I recall one time that I had a dream which predicted the storyline of the upcoming Baby-sitter’s Club book.  And another time I dreamed that my friend had gotten engaged and she had.  Like, that day.

I definitely feel as if I am highly intuitive to the feelings of others.  I can tell what people are feeling, especially toward me.  I am not always able to understand why they are feeling a certain way toward me but I can pick up a vibe that they don’t like me.  Which is probably why I feel uncomfortable in certain social situations (around my in-laws, at church)… I know that people are sending out negative vibes and while they may act perfectly nice on the surface, I can read their energy and I know I’m not getting a loving kindness vibe from them.  It’s usually a fearful vibe that I get from these people.  Which is strange to imagine… people being scared of me.  I also sense that folks are annoyed or put out by me.  They don’t have to just mutter profanity under their breaths after I speak to them (which happened with “family” recently)… I get that sense from more subtle behavior as well.  I often can tell that I’m not answering people’s questions sufficiently.  I am never sure how I was supposed to answer, I just know that I am supposed to answer differently than I did.  At this point, I’m usually exhausted and I need to retreat.  People, certain people, wear me out.

Criticism is not something I can deal well with.  I understand, on a cognitive level, that no one is perfect and constructive criticism is something we all need.  And frankly, if it’s done in a healthy manner, I can handle the criticism.  I will remember it the rest of my life but well-given criticism will be well-received.  I don’t let it damage my self-esteem or my relationship with the person who gave it.  But criticism that is dished out in a condescending or hurtful manner will destroy me.  Many times I have no idea what it is that I did wrong and I figuratively curl up in the fetal position and stay there until I’ve punished myself so deeply that I will surely not screw up again.  Yes, I know this is unhealthy.  And that when people say hurtful things or accuse you of doing something you didn’t do or saying something you didn’t say, it’s more about them than about you.  I just have a hard time feeling that and knowing it in my heart when I’m in the middle of a hurt.

Because I have always felt like I wasn’t right or good or normal, I’ve often found myself trying to change what I believed or how I behaved in order to gain acceptance from others.  This is how I ended up in a marriage that isn’t healthy.  When my future in-laws said that I couldn’t come around them as long as I had gay pride bumper stickers on my car, I should have thought to myself… “Hmm… gay pride is something that I believe in.  I probably don’t need these people in my life.”  But instead, to gain their “approval”, I removed the stickers and remembered to never mention my weekends at the gay clubs around them.  Of course now I see the tragedy of my mistake.  I thought that, since I was weird, I must have been wrong.  So I needed to try to be more like them.  Because they were “normal”.  And therefore right.  Right.  I’m proud of the fact that I’ve moved away from the mindset thanks to an amazing support system provided by my amazing friends.  But there is so much damage that has been done by trying to be someone who I am not simply because I didn’t think I was good enough being myself.  Now I know that God loves me just the way that I am, gay lovin’ and all.  Thankfully I have realized all of this in time to save my children from the same kind of heart break.

Daily I have to acknowledge that I am limited in so many areas.  I am dealing with some non-diagnosed learning difficulties.  My husband explains it this way… “I know you have some learning difficulties because often I have to explain something to you twenty different ways in order for you to understand.  But you are very smart.”  What he doesn’t realize is that a lot of the times, I don’t really understand and I’m just pretending to so that I don’t have to listen to him explain something anymore.  I do that a lot… pretending to understand.  I graduated with honors at the top of my class yet I can’t read and understand the directions in most board games.  It’s a strange thing… and I’d love to find help.  I am also limited socially.  Every Sunday morning I have to emotionally prepare myself for church. It’s so stressful. Luckily I’m teaching in a four-year-old classroom now and those kids don’t threaten me and make me cry the way the 3rd graders did.  But there is the whole having to say hello in the hallway to a million people who mostly didn’t know me before my kid was sick.  I liked being anonymous.  But now a lot of those people know my name and I don’t know their name.  And they speak to me.  Which is fine and normal.  But I miss the days where I could walk through the hall and keep my head down and know that no one noticed.

I am so sensitive to the suffering of others that I have had to limit what I watch on tv and in movies or read in books.  It will take over and I cannot function when I’ve read about suffering or watched something about suffering.  When someone I know and love is suffering, I just stop.  I have a hard time separating myself from it.  I want to create a plan to fix things or at the very least, provide my own assistance in some shape, form or fashion.  I will think, pray, research.  I simply cannot stand it.  I have to do something.  I was a vegetarian for many years because of a pamphlet sent to me by PETA.  I only started eating meat again because I was unable to be healthy and nurse my children the way I needed to without meat.  And so, even now, I have to zone out when I’m eating meat and think of other things because if I think of where the meat came from for too long, I’ll get sick.  In high school, I opted out of dissecting the animal in 10th grade.  I was the first person the teacher had seen refuse to do this but she allowed me to do the work in the library while everyone else did the dissection.  I was proud of myself for saying no to something that I couldn’t handle.  I do not collect animals.  I actually do not like living with animals very much.  But the other day when I saw that I had hit a turtle in the road, I started to cry and luckily my friend was with me and she was able to help me deal with those feelings.

Clearly I see certain things as an extension of myself.  I am a fangirl.  Particularly of “The Office” and the B-52s.  Everything that is going on with those things directly affects me, is related to me, and is about me.  Recently Cindy Wilson, one of the members of the B-52s was ill and they had to cancel tour dates.  You would have thought it was a family member who was sick.  In all honesty, I have referred to them as my family before.  But I even sent my husband a text with an update on Cindy’s health.  He did not respond.  :/  A good friend of mine has been trying to watch “The Office” and she’s tried several times for my sake.  She cannot get into it.  She has been scared to tell me for fear of hurting my feelings.  Yep, I guess that is a pretty good clue there that I have some issues with this!

Environmental sensitives affect my life deeply.  We have a completely chemical free home.  Not just because it’s better for us and we had a kid with cancer but also because chemicals. make. me. sick.  When I am in a regular supermarket or store (Dollar Tree and Walmart come to mind), I have to plan where I walk in order to avoid the cleaning products.  They give me such a headache.  When my son lived in the hospital, they would come in and clean his room and I swear, every time, I’d get a head ache that I’d need to sleep off.  I am also very sensitive to caffeine and alcohol… very little will affect me and so I have to limit myself to one.  One beer.  One glass of wine.  One cup of half caffeinated coffee.  My daughter can drink coffee all day and sleep at night.  One Trader Joe’s sample after noon and I’m up all night!  I am also sensitive to gluten and also beans and fried foods… I have to be careful about what I eat 🙂

Section H: Sense of Self

Until I became a mom, I feel that my sense of self was very shaky.  But I feel like I am living authentically and not trying to be anyone I’m not now, and it’s quite a relief.  Only trouble is that it’s not been good for my marriage.  So, whatever.  At least I can look at myself in the mirror again.  I don’t exactly feel trapped between wanting to be myself and wanting to fit in anymore.  I used to, but that is not an issue for me anymore.  I’ve grown.  I do often suppress my true wishes in order to keep the peace a lot of the times.  It doesn’t help that I have gotten in trouble so many times for being honest so I fear that if I admit that sometimes I want to fly out to live in California, someone will take my kids from me or something!

Rejecting social norms is something I started doing as a kid.  I couldn’t understand social norms or the people around me using them.  If I didn’t even care or try then when I messed up, it wouldn’t be a reflection upon me and my inability to conform.  People confused me and angered me so much that I wanted to be nothing like them (at least the ones I was around in my home town).  So if I tried to be different from them at least I’d not be like them.  Anyone and anything but them.  Now I know and love many people I admire and occasionally they will inspire me to do something or be something (like eating better or being nicer or treating my kids differently or something).  But for the most part, I am who I am who I am.  I will squelch who I am (not change but squelch) around certain people now… just because my true self has been tattled on and rejected and criticized so many times by these people that I know it’s pointless to be myself around them.  But I never change for others now.  Never.

I do have a young sounding voice and I’m not sure that I care about my appearance and hygiene very much even now.  I can remember the last time I got really dressed up… it was on my wedding day.  I didn’t even want to get dressed up then but, you know, wedding and all.  It was just a hassle.

As for difficulty recognizing faces… I don’t think I struggle with that too much.  But I do have a hard time picturing the faces of people.  Even my own children.  I am better at remembering weird random facts about pe0ple.  I remember people’s birthdays or things they love.  Like their favorite shows or movies or music.  I remember how they make me feel.  All of that makes a bigger impact in my memory than faces.

I often battle feelings of extreme isolation.  It always amazes me how a person can live with four other humans and a dog and still feel alone.  I have felt entirely alone in the world since the day my mom died and I’ve just recently started to feel less alone now that my kids are older and I can really open up and share myself with them and I see, the older two at least, accepting me and loving me unconditionally.  It’s pretty awesome to have their love.  But it’s often hard to feel like I can share every part of myself with my kids because who wants to burden children with the cares of an adult (and I use the word adult loosely)?  My friends help.  This blog helps.  Facebook helps.  But mostly I just feel completely alone in the world and it. sucks.

Join me next time when I explore confusion.  Thanks for reading.

Gluten Free Chocolate Chess Cookie Squares

For Father’s Day, we made my husband a delicious gluten free dessert.  It turned out so well that I want to share it here.

Gluten Free Chocolate Chess Cookie Squares

Instructions and ingredients for crust:

2 cups crushed/blended gluten free cookies (I used Mo-del gluten free chocolate chip cookies that we found for cheap and thought were nasty…  a nice way to use them up)

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

Mix all ingredients together and press into a sprayed glass casserole dish.  I used an 8×12 Pyrex pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes.

Instructions and ingredients for chocolate chess filling:

4 eggs

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup milk (I used coconut milk)

2 cups coconut sugar

1/2 cup organic cocoa powder

Beat eggs and then add the rest of the ingredient.  Beat until well mixed.  Pour over the cookie crust and bake at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes.

Enjoy!

Moist, delicious, and a huge hit at our house!

Moist, delicious, and a huge hit at our house!

Why I Believe That I’m an Aspergirl Part 4

Thanks for coming back for the 4th installment in this series.  I’m having a lot of fun writing about this stuff and I hope you are having a lot of fun reading it!  The topic of Asperger’s is so fascinating to me so it’s a real privilege to write about it and have people actually read what I’ve written.  Today I’m continuing my commentary on the Social Interaction section of the Females With Asperger’s Non-Official Checklist.  I’ll also be discussing aloneness in this post.

Section E: Social Interaction (continued)

Eager and over-zealous at times?  Me?  Nahhhh, never. Bahahaha. Right, whatever.  I am frequently told that I’m yelling when I’m talking about a topic that interests me and excites me.  And by the feeling of burning in my throat, I guess I probably was yelling.  Hee hee.

I don’t think that I’m narcissistic and controlling.  But perhaps I come across that way.  I live with someone who comes across that way.  Big time.  So maybe his behavior has helped me keep my own in check.

If I didn’t hold a lot of thoughts, feelings, and ideas inside then I would never shut up.  I mean, I never stop having thoughts, feelings, and ideas.  It’s exhausting.  They aren’t racing thoughts.  They are just never ending streams of thoughts.  My husband tells me he cannot relate to having so many different conflicting thoughts.  It never occurred to me that he might get angry and upset when I told him that yes, sometimes, I have thought about what it would have been like if I’d married the guy I was serious with in high school and college before we met.  And that yes, especially after he has told me that he didn’t love me and didn’t like me and didn’t want to be married to me, I have occasionally thought maybe my life would have turned out better if I had married him.  I mean, doesn’t everyone have these thoughts?  I also thought about what might have been if I’d returned the follow-up call for an interview with the Americorps.  Or what would have happened if I’d gone for that doctoral program nearly handed to me my senior year in college.  I have all kinds of thoughts.  I assumed that was normal.  It’s not, according to my husband.  I guess I must be missing that conversation gene and thought filter.

As for conversation…  I do feel confused about certain rules related to having an interaction with a person.  I find the fact that I’m supposed to look people in the eye while talking to them to be exhausting and I’m really excited about being able to wear sunglasses now that I have had my eyes “fixed” in order to avoid having to look people in the eyes.  However, phones are worse (I avoid phones like the plague) because you cannot read people’s body language or see their face over the phone).  Skype is really ideal.  There are no rules really other than don’t poop on the toilet while using Skype.  Right?  I don’t feel stressed out about distance so much.  Or touching.  I feel like I have that figured out.  I really hate it when other people don’t have it figured out, though.  I have started to question everything I do and say in relation to most people over the past few years… after the friends dumped me and I lost a customer for our business because I was being “unprofessional” over the phone.  So I tend to just avoid interaction with people who make me so nervous that I question everything.  What’s the point?  It’s exhausting.  There are some people I cannot avoid entirely and it’s really upsetting to hear them mutter under their breath or appear clearly distraught after interacting with me.  I run through the conversation in my head.  “Okay, I looked at you.  I answered your question.  I did what you told me to do.  I didn’t insult you, curse at you, hit you. What did I do wrong then?”  I can tell that I’ve somehow offended or annoyed them but I can’t tell you how or why.  It’s exhausting and discouraging. There are certain people who I try to avoid but sometimes I have to call them and then they keep me on the phone for a really long time and after that I just want a nap because I didn’t like much of what they said and I didn’t enjoy listening to them insult me and then pretend they weren’t insulting me.  These people don’t help my phobia of people, I’ll tell ya.

A quirky and odd sense of humor.  Uh, yes.  Totally.  I remember my mom reading me Amelia Bedelia books when I was a child.  She would laugh until she cried.  And then she’d look at me and I would just be staring at her.  She’d asked me why I wasn’t laughing.  I’d say because I didn’t think it was funny.  So she would start trying to explain it to me.  “You see, Amelia Bedelia is taking everything literally…” I understood.  I got it.  It just wasn’t funny to me.  Same for the Sunday paper comics.  And same thing for the Far Side.  I never got it.  I never  thought it was funny.  My sense of humor has evolved over the years to include more things that the average person might find amusing, but over all, to me, the funniest stuff is still very quirky and odd comedy and I am okay with that.  I think it makes me a better writer and improvisor so I’ll take it.

Section F: Finds Refuge when Alone

Beyond a doubt, having to leave the house is stressful to me.  I enjoy going places, certain places, with my kids.  Like the zoo or the library and Whole Foods.  But I prefer to get it all done at once and then have the rest of my week at home.  This doesn’t happen often.  There are appointments and responsibilities that drag us from our home nearly every day.  But let it be known that I wish that we could just stay home most days.  Just the whole packing drinks and snacks and making sure everyone is wearing underwear and shoes and has brushed his or her teeth (my own underwear, shoes, teeth, and hair are a burden as well) is exhausting to me.

If I have a doctor’s appointment or a special trip coming up, I will be anxious for days leading up to it.  My way of preparing for such outings is to make sure I have all of the housework done beforehand so that when I come home I can more quickly unwind and relax.  When I’m tired and I’ve had a long day, I’m known to put on my pjs and watch tv in bed from six pm on.  Strangely enough, having (certain) visitors over doesn’t really bother me.  I’m pretty hospitable.  Which seems odd.  I’m becoming less so over the past few years. Just me and my kids… otherwise, get out (with a few exceptions) is how I’m starting to feel.

Not sure that I require a large amount of down time or relaxation time.  Because what is a large amount?  But I sure can tell when I’m needing it.  I’ll crave it all of the way to my bones.  And just a few hours of cuddling in the bed while watching a favorite show with my kids (I can get my alone time with them around) can be very healing to me.

I do question my next moves frequently and I honestly function better if I’ve written a list of everything I need to do in a day.  Otherwise I have to keep remembering what comes next.  And that is tiring.

While I’ve felt guilty after spending a lot of time on my interests at times, I think that might be linked more to the fact that I don’t feel like my job around here is as valuable at the job my husband does because it doesn’t bring in money.  So if I watch tv or work on writing too much I feel guilt because I know he didn’t have time to do anything he wanted to do and so I shouldn’t either.

Public bathrooms suck.  Locker rooms suck.  Crowds suck.  Basically anything that involves people outside of my children and my closest friends sucks.

Next time I’ll be talking about my sensitivities and my sense of self.  I know you can’t wait to hear about my psychic abilities.

Go back to the beginning of the series here.