Autism Struggles From a Mother’s Perspective

I used to see how people would look at my son and me when we were out and about. There once was a time that I cared what others thought about me.  I still remember when Antonio was young, and I knew he had autism. It was tough to do storytime at libraries; I had to leave so many times because I would break down and cry in my car. 

There was once a time when I had high anxiety because… 

  1. He wouldn’t listen: This can be so hard, I see people looking at me wondering why he isn’t listening. I felt like I looked like a bad parent but really, my child is just having a hard time listening and figuring out what I am saying. This might led to a tantrum, or behavior breakdown, I just have to pick my battles. “Normal” kids can go through this just as much as autistic and it can be stressful for any parent. 
  2. He would stim: Stimming is like someone constantly humming or making noises. It is uncontrolled and can be bothersome. It is how kids deal with being excited, happy, or even anxious. There is no way to have someone stop this, it is their way of dealing with feelings. However, people used to look at me, wondering why I couldn’t get him quiet or controlled. It hurt as a parent and caused so much anxiety.  I wish I could explain why he was doing this to every person, but instead, I would hurry up and leave whatever I was doing. 
  3. He couldn’t talk back: If I got frustrated, or he did, he couldn’t tell me what was wrong. It would more than likely lead to him stimming, which in turn made people look at us more. It is so hard sometimes to know and understand what is wrong with my little boy. 
  4. He had a hard time communicating: I ask each of you to be patient and not judge someone from the outside.  Parenting is hard as it is. If a child can not communicate, be kind and know auistic parents are doing the best they can do. 

The truth is that having an auistic son,  I realized what patience truly meant, and how to really deal with it. I wouldn’t have it any other way, I have learned to grow and be patient by this beautiful blessing.

Susie Liberatore is the owner, and Art Director, of Visions2images Creative Services. She helps established businesses grow their brand awareness by using digital marketing and professional branding techniques. With over a decade of agency and corporate experience, she brings businesses’ visions to life, while watching their return on investment increase.

Susie helps businesses grow their brand presence and connect with their target audience.

The Ultimate Branding Guide to Win New Clients in 7 Days

Get Comfy This Winter

Winter has been so cold and snowy lately. I hate the cold and snow, so I ordered comfy items to help me get through this winter and keep me warm, especially for days in the office.

Cosybay Down Alternative Comforter- Grey Corner Duvet Tabs

SOCHOW Sherpa Fleece Throw Blanket, Double-Sided Super Soft Luxurious Plush Blanket 

Susie Liberatore is the owner, and Art Director, of Visions2images Creative Services. She helps established businesses grow their brand awareness by using digital marketing and professional branding techniques. With over a decade of agency and corporate experience, she brings businesses’ visions to life, while watching their return on investment increase.

Susie helps businesses grow their brand presence and connect with their target audience.

The Ultimate Branding Guide to Win New Clients in 7 Days

Top 8 Ways to Save on Your Electric Bill

The winter months can be tough to pinch pennies; I get it. But, know that there are some great tips for you to save money by merely reducing some simple electricity draining activities.

Here are great ways to save money this winter:

  1. Replace Incandescent Light Bulbs With LEDs LEDs are much more energy efficient. These bulbs will not only save more power, but they’ll also last longer. Check out these LED bulbs.
  2. Unplug Electronics After Use. You might not be charging your phone, etc., but the chargers could still be drawing energy at home. Try using a smart power strip that shuts off the current when the electronics are not in use.
  3. Use Cold Water For Laundry. Using hot water will consume more electricity simply because the water heater will need to run. You can merely try not to use super hot water, but something that isn’t too cold either.
  4. Take Shorter Showers. By taking shorter showers, it will reduce how much water you use, which will limit the amount of time that your electric water heater needs. Sounds simple enough, right? Just use a timer and take a shorter shower.
  5. Energy Efficient Showerhead. You can save 2,000+ gallons of water every year by using a more efficient showerhead. This measure will save you tons of money on your electric bill, for sure.
  6. Adjust Your Thermostat. We keep our thermostat at a certain temperature and keep it there all winter long. We do not touch it unless absolutely necessary.
  7. Use Solar Lights Outside. We love having these lights outside. They’re relatively cheap and don’t need energy due to being solar powered, so it’s a win-win!
  8. Motion Sensors. All of our outside lights have these detectors, etc. Motion sensors can significantly help you when someone might forget to turn off the lights.

These suggestions are just some simple tricks that we have done to reduce our electric bill in the winter time. They have really and truly helped us. What have you done that has cut your electric bill?

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New Ways to Save Money This Year

A New Year calls for new ways to save money and set goals. Am I right? I feel like it happens more often than not. I try not to make a ton of changes, but I know I need to make some. I put together a list for you to enjoy. Pick one or two of them and kick some butt this year!

  1. Cashback Rewards Cards

I love these perks!! You can make easy money by having a credit card and using it on your daily purchases. With the right rewards card, you can save money on anything from your regular bills to your household expenses; you name it, you can earn back from it.

  1. Switch Bank Accounts

I am in the process of doing this now. Some banks have started charging if it dips below a certain amount, etc. Look into this, and make changes. Those little fees can add up over a year.

  1. Use Coupon Apps

You can find some of my favorite choices here. I get money back just by shopping… at a ton of places. Here’s a quick recap: Ibotta, Checkout 51, and Ebates.

  1. Prepare Meal Plans

All you need to do is plan. This step will also make sure that you don’t have the same food every other night. Allow for quick meals, too, because there will be times when you need something fast after a long day… because mom life.

5. Make a Grocery List and Stick to It

I actually started doing all of my grocery shopping online. It is a lifesaver; it is the best way. I can reorder and stay focused. And, seriously, time saver y’all.

   6. Buy in Bulk, but Be Careful

We don’t buy items in bulk that we don’t think we will use swiftly enough. We buy pantry products in bulk because those don’t expire, but if you are going to purchase perishable items, ensure you can use them in a timely manner.

7. Brown Bag Your Lunch

We try to pack our lunches more often than not. I love being able to bring my meal and have limited take-out foods. It makes us more appreciative when eating out.

8. Learn to Use Up Leftovers

I am a huge fan of this action even though my husband might not be. I like to use the remaining food and cook something else from it. Whenever we have ham leftover, we create a ham and cheese noodle casserole. MMM soo yummy.

We will add more options in as time goes on, these are just some super simple ways for you to take charge of your savings now. What are some ways you save money?

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Gluten-Free Traveling Problems

Since becoming gluten-free we have noticed many changes. First up, we all see a difference in my son’s behavior and learning. We also experienced some weight loss and the feeling that we do not need caffeine all day. I remember I used to have so many cravings like chocolate and snacks; this is not the case anymore.

It is hard to find gluten-free products, though. You have to make sure that you identify what’s truly gluten-free. We have put together a list of favorite items that we buy weekly now. Sticking to real goods (meat, fruits, and vegetables) helps when shopping. We still enjoy snacks, so we have to be careful with what we purchase.

More importantly, it is hard to be gluten-free when you are traveling. We try to take trips as often as we can. Throw that diet away when you go places. Let’s see… people aren’t considerate at parties. You also have to find specific restaurants that cater to gluten-free eating and hope that they have good food.

When we came home from a recent visit, we noticed a significant difference. We had stomach aches and were bloated. You know, all the pains. We felt down and super tired. It took me about three full days before I got my food back on track.

What do you do when you go on trips? Do you take a lot of snacks with you and look at restaurants before you travel? We are starting to research more ahead of time since we haven’t had the best of luck. We do not use fast food when traveling and try to pack our own food. We also make sure we have our own kitchen area in the hotel so we can shop/bring gluten free items with us. There is so much more than going gluten free (bread).. so much more than it. 

glutenfree

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Easy Ways to Live a Healthy Life

I don’t know about you, but lately, we have been on a health kick. Meaning, we are trying to live a natural and healthy lifestyle. We have gone gluten-free (read why here). I have always loved the spa, massages, and super girly things. They REALLY do help. I have changed so much over the years since becoming an adult. We evolve and learn what is important.

Here are three easy ways to live a healthy life right now:

-Facial. I use Aveda Cream Cleanser. I do a facial once a month in their location, and then purchase the items that I need to take care of my skin at home. Skincare is just crucial for many different reasons.

Rock Salt Lamp. I got into a rock salt lamp kick last year (insert link), and they have been amazing. I recently went to an in-person rock salt cave. It was the most amazing experience I have ever had. I felt better both the day of and the day immediately following. You feel so relaxed and improved. It was better than a massage, and I LOVE massages.

-Diet. Your diet is vital; it goes along with the facial. You are what you eat, and if you do not eat healthily, your skin can be affected. I have cut out many foods., read more about our gluten free journey.

Don’t forget to add in some exercise as well. I like to switch it up whenever possible. Sometimes I choose Zumba, sometimes yoga. Changing workouts keeps my interest.

There are so many great ways to live a healthy life, and each person is going to be different. You have to find what you like and want to do.

healthylife

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Eight Ways to Declutter For The New Year

Before the holidays, we started to declutter our home. We had boxes unopened from when we moved in THREE years ago. I mean seriously, get rid of crap. We loved decluttering, and it really does make all the difference. We were going to sell things and keep putting it off, so I just decided… stop procrastinating and discard it all.

Here are eight ways to declutter for the New Year:

  1. Give yourself five solid minutes. Do a little bit each day for only five minutes, or break up into five minutes every half hour or hour. You will get distracted, so allow for that and track the time. Buy a timer here
  2. Give away one item each day. I felt amazing giving back (especially in the winter) a bunch of clothes for men, women, and kids. If you can part with a little bit by a little bit, you will be amazed at how quickly the results happen.
  3. Fill one trash bag. You will be shocked by how fast this bag fills up. Pack it up, and then drop it off the same day. I find that if I don’t do take this step, then I will let the sack sit in my car or garage for months. Purchase trash bags here.  
  4. Make a list. Find out what you need to get rid of, make a list, and check it off. I love lists period.  Separate what you want to donate, sell, or keep. It is the easiest thing to do.
  5. Take the 12-12-12 Challenge. This event is something super simple. All you have to do is locate twelve items to throw away, twelve items to donate, and twelve items to return to their proper home. This method is an entertaining and exciting way to organize 36 pieces in your house quickly.
  6. Experiment with items. If you think you might wear it again or use it again, try it on and see how it looks. If it is something that you like and forgot how good it appeared, then add it to the keep section and make a list of when you can wear it 
  7. Use your imagination.  If you have not worn or used something ever, or it is in the original packaging, the chances are you do not need to keep it. Go ahead and discard it now before it takes up space again where it is.
  8. The Four-Box Method. As I started to declutter, I brought in four boxes: trash, give away, keep, or relocate. I would place items in every room into one of the four categories. This approach might take some time, but it will benefit you in the long run.

No matter what technique or route you choose, you are making progress and strides. Every little bit does help, and you will feel great knowing you eliminated stuff collecting dust.
declutter

 

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Tips For a Gluten-Free Journey

Here we go starting one theory to help my son with his autism. Moms after moms have sworn by so much to improve the situation. I have learned a lot on this autism journey that I could never have imagined. I never realized how much our food is critical for learning and development. How food affects us EVERY SINGLE DAY.  

I thought I ate well. All this time? I mean, I like chocolate and bread. Those are my addictions, if I am going to be honest. Time and time again, I have heard moms talk about going gluten-free when their child is autistic. I have listened to them talk about going dairy-free, and getting rid of red-dye items. I am like WHAT is this nonsense?

When Antonio had chronic ear infections when he was much younger, we put tubes in his ears. I did research. He was still getting ear infections with tubes. SO, we went dairy free because milk increases mucous (who knew). P.S. I am not a doctor nor do I claim to be. This information is my personal experience. We had to put in new tubes, so what better time to go dairy-free? We did, and NO ear infections, nothing. TWO years later, we still have the same devices and have had perfect hearing and NO more ear infections.

Back to being gluten-free. PARENTS SWEAR BY THIS. I researched again to find out more before we began. There are numerous different ideas and theories. You just have to think about it.

  • Why we chose to go gluten-free/red-dye free. We heard it helps with behavior, learning/processes, and even our son’s stimming. I want the best for my son, and I am willing to take risks (see our last blog post). I am a fighter and do not let anyone tell me something until I have tried it. Even his doctors and therapists have said it is worth a try.
  • I am not sure how I am going to give up chocolate and bread. OH, and pasta. But, you know what? We will adjust. We are strictly eating meat, fruit, and veggies. These should be the only items on your plate. We stopped taking vitamins just because of the fact that they contain the red-dye in them that is HORRIBLE for anyone. Get rid of it.
  • My husband has been gluten-free for under six months, so he has been waiting for us to be 100% on board with this lifestyle. It’s kind of scary and nerve-wracking, but at the same time, I need to do this for my son and hope for the best.

I’m sharing this journey now with you all, also. Keep up with us and maybe you will learn something or even get healthier along with us!

glutenfree

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How We Saved Over $1000 a Year!

We got rid of cable.. Heres the thing, we had direct tv for many many years. They were great to us but over in time they changed their pricing and packages… To the point that the prices weren’t going to do any good for me.. I want willing to spend over $100 on cable… It would of been $122… After 6-7 years of being with them Id hope we could at least get a better deal than that? We were only spending $80 a month on JUST cable. It wasn’t worth it to me anymore. Thats over $1000/year… for what?

So we cancelled it. Then my anxiety kicked in, I go OH crap how is Antonio going to watch mickey? How can I watch ncis? So we of course improvised. But the thing about it was that we kept hearing about sling, it was seriously the first thing we got AFTER we cancelled cable. We already have Netflix, iTunes, Hulu, etc. So we had many options but none of them had Disney of course.. Spoiled kid, right?

So we jumped on the wagon to get sling. It was AMAZING.. The interface was amazing, so much easier to manage and even cheaper than cable. We literally are paying 1/3 of what we paid for cable!! We have the shows we want and we managed to be happy. It is internet and cloud based, but that doesn’t bother me because direct tv wouldn’t work when storms kicked in, so this wasn’t any different.

I know so many people willl benefit from sling, so go jump on the wagon. Once we got our sling set up we invested in getting a Roku (enter link). We also got (enter link).

I encourage you to get it – you can get 7 FREE days.. Aren’t friends awesome? Your friend just referred you to get $5 off your first 3 months of Sling TV – the only live TV service that gives you the choice and control of a customized TV Experience.
save1000

 

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New Year’s Decorations

New Year’s is such a fun time of year.. I really do enjoy this holiday. Who doesn’t love to have a few drinks, get a kiss, and watch the ball drop? I have some of the greatest memories and really enjoy them. What are some of your favorite memories?

newyears

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