Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Should you really run after eating….

10 courses of Yum Cha????


This morning I woke to rain.  And naturally, I rolled over and went back to sleep, promising myself that I'll run later.  It was a mental battle but thankfully I overcame my aversion to running after the morning, sucked it up and ran 7km.  My ankle feels the best it has since I sprained it - I'm on the mend!

Fat Buddha - QVB

I had booked for my mother-in-law and I to experience a 10 course yum cha feast.  As T1 was home from school with asthma, he tagged along, and behaved beautifully.  He spent most of the time colouring in and was a perfect angel.  If T2 could be trained to behave like that a restaurant I would be stoked.  I love the Queen Victoria Building and I'm pretty partial to yum cha so the combination is irresistable.  So when I saw the Scoopon deal I was powerless to stop myself.  There was so much food - pork buns, dumplings, dim sim, salt and pepper calamari, fried rice, spring rolls, custard tarts, all washed down with copious amounts of Chinese tea.

No visit to the QVB is complete without going to Haigh's chocolates and buying something - I usually try to restrict my purchases as the prices are pretty….pricey!

We were about to exit the store when my mother-in-law spotted Cooper Cronk and Corey Parker.  They must be training for the NRL test.  They were so lovely to T1 and were happy to pose for a photo.  My eldest is a tad jealous I think!  I wish I could post the photo  - it is gorgeous.


One of my aims for T2 is to get him playing more functionally with his brothers and friends.  This arvo when he requested an activity which was well,  lets say a little quirky, I made a deal with him. First we play with his brothers for 15 minutes then he could do what he wanted for 15 minutes.  I quickly drew up a choice board of activities where he and T1 took turns in choosing activities and they had to do each one for 5 minutes.  It worked pretty well.  I'm going to try and gradually increase the time and demands.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

6x400m; Spiderman & reaching my eating limit


My program told me I had to run 3x 400m with 100m jog in-between .  Then jog for an extra 400m and do it all again.  It was painful but I really felt like I had accomplished something afterwards.  The grass was really wet at the park and my feet and socks go really wet.  By the end I was squelching in my shoes.  At least the soft grass and low mileage was good for my ankle.


Is it just me or is Spiderman getting just too young?  Like policeman and doctors?  Ooohhh - it means I'm getting older (notice I didn't say old).   My eldest had a bonus pupil free day so we headed off to the latest Spiderman movie.  I really enjoyed it actually - what's not to like about a superhero saving New York city?

Then it was off to Thai at Redspoon restaurant.  It was delicious actually. We had curry puffs and a chicken stir fry that my mother-in-law chose.  My son had oyster chicken and loved it.

curry puffs
Chicken in oyster sauce

It reminds me of eating in a wooden cave or tunnel

It takes a lot to conquer me food-wise but I'm seriously considering skipping dinner tonight.
Sunday night - seafood buffet.  Monday morning - high tea with some school mums.  Today Thai lunch and tomorrow I've booked a 10 course yum cha.  In between I'm still polishing off my Easter choccies too.  I'm starting to feel - really, really full - all of the time.  I'd need to run an ultra every day to keep up with this kind of consumption.


I got my last theory assignment back for my TAFE course (and passed - yippee!) and am trying to find a placement - so far no luck.  No rejections but many answering machines.  I've had enough for today.  Hopefully there'll be a breakthrough tomorrow.  Meanwhile just as I was about to get all 3 kids back to school, T1 has bad asthma and will be home tomorrow.  I love having them home but am starting to feel rising panic about the absence of any uni work being done.  Aaaaaahhhhhh.  Seriously - rising panic.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

19.4km and The Corn Exchange


My human alarm clock (who is usually very effective aka as T2) woke up late so I didn't get started until about 7.15am but hey I'm not whinging about a bonus hour of sleep!  This morning was my first long run since my ankle sprain.  Funny enough, my ankle felt pretty sore during the first hour of my run and then felt ok during the second half.  19 (.4!)km is the longest I've ever run in my whole life and now I feel confident that even with a dodgy ankle I'll be able to complete the half-marathon.  Three weeks today!  And what better way to recover than to go to a fancy seafood buffet and attempt to eat my body weight in food!

The Corn Exchange - Four Seasons Hotel

Now I have confessed before that I have a weakness for Groupons, Scoopons, Ouffers, etc etc.  I'm especially weak when it comes to high teas and seafood.  I'm not really tempted by the shopping except I did buy my last Asics Gel Kayanos using one of these sites and they are still going strong (though I should have changed them by now).
source: the Corn Exchange

Tonight we he had a dream run into the city (Sunday nights are a good night to dine in the city).  The buffet was reasonably busy and I didn't attempt to take photos because frankly, I'm a little scared of hoard of people at the opening of a buffet.  I hope you're not too bored with all the photos of my dinner - I should have taken a couple of photos of the hotel but I was having too good time with my husband and forgot.
yum, yum, yum, yum

Cream of broccoli soup - I know I should have had this first but the prawns were too tempting

Under the salad is roast lamb, beef goulash & a chicken noodle dish

Pavlova! brownie! Rocky road!

And because I'm just a big kid at heart I could't walk past ice-cream with sprinkles and lollies :-)

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Parkrun and Playdates

Parkrun - 5km

I wasn't keen.  It was my first Parkrun since I rolled my ankle.  Last Parkrun I got jostled a little (I'm such a sook) so I was scared I might fall. But, I just sucked it up and did it.  Not a PB but only 20 seconds off it - happy with that!  Unfortunately my ankle aches after I run.  I've never had an ankle injury so its all new to me.  I iced it and now have strapped it.  I've also trawled youtube for exercises - no, I can't afford any physio (it all goes on ABA!).  My mother-in-law broke her ankle a couple of years ago and she has given me her stretch bands and has shown me the exercises and stretches her physio made her do.  Fingers crossed!

My new best friend - the resistance band (sorry about the terrible photo!)

Kids with autism don't like people/ don't feel emotions/ have no friends - have you heard crap like that??  Stereotypes make me ANGRY.  Most kids with autism just lack the skills to develop meaningful friendships - play skills, language skills, turn-taking - the list goes on.

The sad truth is that if we don't help our kids make friends and teach them these skills the 'no friends' stereotype may became a reality.

As T1 has mostly 'recovered' from autism, his program supervisor has mandated playdates, playdates and more playdates.  I, on the other hand have responded with fear, avoidance and excuses - until now.

Now T2 isn't going so well with the playdates - he got pretty upset when we had some other kids over.  Luckily T1 covered for him but T2 needs to practise.  And that's what we're going to do this term.  I'm going to recruit eldest and T1 and have 'playdates' for half an hour of good play every arvo.  Then when other kids come to play I know he can at least play for the first 30 minutes.

Here are some links that I really found helpful regarding playdates for kids with autism.  I'm sure there are more (feel free to share any you have)

The following link is a bit technical but I love how it is scientific, ABA-based and they recommend data-taking for playdates - awesome!

Do you have any tips for successful playdates? 

Have you ever sprained your ankle?  Any recovery tips?

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

7km & Monkey Mania Top Ryde


First, a little catchup of the last couple of days.  Tuesday night my eldest, myself and my husband were at the movies watching Captain America.  I was feeling a bit headachy but that wasn't stopping me scoffing my movie chocolates.  About an hour in I thought, these choccies aren't going down as well as they usually do.  I started to think about the nearest exit.  About 3/4 of the way through the movie I looked at my eldest who was whispering to my husband.  He was clutching his stomach.  Screw the movie (although it was really good), we got out of there.  It must have been quite a sight - myself and my son staggering to the exit clutching our stomachs.

The next morning my eldest bounded out of bed like only the young can do.  I, on the other hand was just happy to loll on the couch the whole day.  So today I was ready for a good run.  I ran 7km and although I was really happy to complete it, my ankle has been aching slightly for the rest of the day.  I'm going to be researching ankle recovery this arvo (and maybe studying blood vessels).

After that I did an ABA therapy session with T2 and he was really compliant and it went really well.

Monkey Mania Top Ryde
My kids all love indoor play centres.  I think they're ok.  Most autism parents know that its not optional to be a helicopter parent and I spend the whole time walking around the centre stalking my kids, making sure they are safe and happy, behaving themselves and not being assaulted by any other kids or vice versa.  Occasionally I let myself feel jealous of the parents with their nose in a book/magazine/ipad - but its fleeting.  I know that I wouldn't be able to help myself and love to play!  Thankfully all the kids at Monkey Mania were really well behaved and my 3 lasted almost 2 hours.  One tip - always end an outing when things are going well.  Don't stay until things turn pear shaped and then leave.

What I loved about Monkey Mania

  • Compared to any other indoor centre I've been too this one is the place where its easiest to see your child.  Its possible to properly supervise your kids from your table .
  • There was an employee on the play floor who was doing a really good job of reminding the kids of the rules and just being a 'presence'. I like that!
  • Sorry, I don't drink coffee so I can't comment on that.   My kids enjoyed their hot chocolate though.
  • There's a jumping castle
  • There's a separate area for the under 5s (though I don't have any :-)
  • Kids get to choose a balloon on the way out
  • There are ball 'guns' which are really fun
  • There's is a cage where balls are collected which dumps balls on the kids when its full - my kids loved this.

There's a triple slide and many climbing structures - but getting photos minus kids was near impossible!
Lots of room to explore

It sucks up balls and spits them out the top

My Eldest was into the ball gun

Who doesn't love a jumping castle? 

Off they go!

Kids get to choose a ballon when they leave - cool

What I wasn't such a fan of
  • There are dodgem cars, which do look really fun and look well-run.  But its an extra $2 a ride so when my kids asked I just said I didn't have any more money (which, by the way, wasn't far off the truth!).  Maybe on a special occasion, but I wasn't in the mood for forking out for extras.
  • I didn't buy any food off the menu, but it didn't look particularly healthy ( though the pizzas and chips were tempting)
We'll definitely return here as it was a great outing.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

3km; Lego movie and how to get cheaper movie tickets!


My ankle has been feeling so good the last couple of days that I decided to give it a 3km test and I had no soreness afterwards!  I'm going to build my mileage this week and hopefully be back on track by the end of the week.

The Lego Movie

The kids really enjoyed this movie.  There was plenty of action which is what they like and it was pretty cute visually.  But what I really liked is that cost less than $18 to take 5 people to the movies!  I have a number of tips on how to get cheaper movie tickets.  I love going to the movies, but I don't love the prices.  Read on for my tips.

The kids loved this one!

Firstly, if your local cinema has a club I recommend joining it.  I'm one of those people who nearly always says yes when they ask if I want to join their 'club'.  The undesirable side effect is the disturbing number of cards that clog my wallet, and mostly I never see any benefits.  But today I logged into Cinebuzz and I had gained enough points for 2 free movie tickets!!  I used those and then 2 of my kids had screensavers so I only had to pay for one child and the booking fee (which I hate by the way- why do we have to pay $1.10 to book online? So annoying).

the only black card I'm likely to own!

My second tip is that if you are a Telstra or Optus customer you can buy $10 movie tickets .  Telstra Thanks  is where you can get $10 movie tickets for Event cinemas and Optus Yes Rewards for $10 Hoyts.  Many other smaller cinemas have clubs too.

Don't forget there is also family tickets to kids movies which can save money too.

If you like a touch of luxury you can also get Gold Class tickets cheaper before 5pm on weekdays or on Tuesday nights.  There is no way I'm going to pay $38 for a movie ticket - no way!

Do you have any tips for saving money on movie tics?  

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Livvi's Place - Timbrell Park- Five Dock

(Another day off running but I'm planning on testing the ankle tomorrow morning)

While my husband, eldest and T1 went to watch a Rugby League game, my mother-in-law and I took T2 to Timbrell Park.

Yes - its fenced! :-)

This is the second Livvi's Place park we've been to and my son appeared to enjoy it better than the one at North Ryde (though we did go to that one on a stinking hot day).  In fact he really loved this park today.  Livvi's Place parks are parks that have been especially designed to accommodate children with additional needs to play alongside 'typical' children.

Firstly, they all have a gated fence around them.  But I did notice that the gate didn't self close and a family left it wide open (its funny how ASD parents notice many things that typical parents don't notice - we are always on danger alert!).   So if you have a runner you might want to keep your eye on that.  There are also bbqs in the enclosure, which in the past would have made me a little nervous for 2 reasons.  Firstly when he was little he would grab food and just eat it (very quickly) and secondly, as he used to have no conept of danger I would have worried he may have touched a hot bbq.  Thankfully, he no longer does those things so I was in a relatively relaxed state for the entire time, even though it was a busy long weekend and there were many kids playing at the park.

The park had a number of interesting features including xylophones, a 'bull ride', a fort, sandpit, climbing structures, and my son's absolute favourite - the merry go round.
There are a few different xylophones in the park

The park has plenty of shade

Plenty of accessible climbing structures

My son absolutely LOVED this!

 He spent ages on that!  After about an hour at the park (which is quite a long time for T2) we took a break and he scootered (while I ran after him) around the surrounding park which had a path around it.

We had a little scooter break

Then we headed back to the park.  Then the most amazing thing happened.  T2 made a little friend and played chase (his favourite game!) with this little boy for ages.  While we were on a positive note we headed home, but I think we spent close to two hours at Timbrell Park, which is a very good indication that he had a fantastic time.  If you would like show your child a video so they know what to expect, the Touched by Olivia Foundation have uploaded a video on youtube.  You can find it here.

Have you been to a different Livvi's Place park?  I'd like to check out the others.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Dyeing Easter Eggs

(No running today as my ankle is still healing)

When I saw the gorgeous dyed eggs that were on The Autism Helper 's website, I knew we had to try it.  I'm not exactly crafty, and I was a bit worried about the whole thing (make sure you do this outside).  But it was a great success.  I have learnt a few things for next year though (like do the blowing the day before).

The finished product!
Step one is to buy a dozen non-caged eggs (we got the Aldi ones)
non-caged eggs

Step two is to get a pin and puncture each end of the egg.  Wiggle the pin around to break the yolk and then blow really hard.  My eldest, T1 and myself did this.  T2 would have ended up with egg all over him and shattered egg.  It was pretty hard work but the boys were into it.  Then we washed them with the hose and blew the water out and let them dry in the sun.
put a fairly large hole in each end of the egg

Blow really hard - this part was pretty gross but the kids were into it.

Then rinse out well

Next I got jars and put 1 teaspoon of vinegar and about 1/2 cup of very hot water in them.  Then it was time to put drops of food colouring in each.  The instructions I had said 10 drops in each jar - but we ended up putting about 30 drops in each jar.
A teaspoon of vinegar in each jar

these yoghurt jars worked really well

We used a LOT of food colouring

all the pretty colours

Next step was immersing the eggs.  This wasn't as easy as it appears as they kept bobbing to the top.  We ended up holding them down with 2 teaspoons for about 5-10 minutes.
We kept a very close eye on T2 but he joined in really well

Eggs drying in extra jars

Almost dry - I love the bright colours

Then we got them out with teaspoons and dried them in spare jars until they were dry.

All the kids pitched in at one point or another in the process, but my eldest was really into it and clearly enjoyed it.

Oh and if you don't like coloured fingers you should really wear gloves :-)

This will definitely become an Easter tradition in our house

Later today I did an ABA therapy session with T2 and he did really well.  Besides being therapy its really great quality one on one time with my son.  And don't worry, plenty of play is a big part of a session.

Ankle Update
My ankle is SO much better today.  When T2 wanted to be chased I tested it out a little and it held up really well.  Fingers crossed I'll be back running on Tuesday.

Have you ever dyed Easter eggs - any tips for me?