Monday, October 26, 2015

Keeping Halloween fun for everyone and Mummy Pizzas!

Halloween is a time full of imagination and fun.  It can also be a time of anxiety and sensory overload for some.  I recently read an article written by a Special Ed teacher in PA who also works with children with ADHD and other disabilities and it really put the night into perspective.

HALLOWEEN FACT: Sugary treats do not cause hyperactivity, but the exciting environment of tricking and other holiday experiences may contribute to an increased level of activity

While I'm all about healthy eating and not a huge fan of the overabundance of candy that goes along with Halloween, it makes sense that the over excitement of the night in general is what makes the experience difficult for children.

Jonathan Brush, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, succinctly sums up how many children with ADHD experience Halloween. “When a child has ADHD, we know that there is a tendency towards impulsivity and over activity in the best of circumstances, and this is exacerbated in new and unfamiliar situations. In the case of Halloween, we add the experience of dressing up in costumes, going out at night, seeing other groups of children around the neighborhood. This is a recipe for the child with ADHD to become overwhelmed with stimuli, leading to less self-control and increased overactivity.”

Here are some helpful tips for school and home:

  • Create a social skill story detailing the adventure to foster familiarity.
  • Plan a costume dress rehearsal…beware of sensory and safety costume issues.
  • Take a test run of your treating route…surprises create stress.
  • Preset candy rules… schedule a donation! ( we do the "Switch Witch" at our home. Kids keep 5-10 pieces of candy,depending on size, the rest is left for the Switch Witch who takes the candy and leaves a small, non candy gift. LOVE IT!)
  • Safe Costume = Safe Trick-or-Treating
  • Try to stick to your regular bedtime routine!
  • Fill up on a healthy dinner before treating!
  • Collaborate with teacher & preview school celebration plans!
  • Take calming breaks using hard impact exercises…20 jumping jacks!
  • Schedule daylight trick-or-treating vs. night time.
  • Less is more…fewer houses, more control!
Remember, Trick or Treat is NOT a required activity. If your child really doesn't like it, skip it!  Do something else that's fun as a family. 

Mummy Pizza Recipe

A Halloween tradition in our house is having friends over for dinner before we all head out Trick or Treating.  I always like to fill the kids bellies with something fun and healthy before the onslaught of candy and shenanigans.  It wouldn't be Trick or Treat without Mummy Pizzas

What are some of your Halloween traditions?  What do you do that helps have a fun and safe night for all?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Deliciously Fall

The crisp New England air is upon us once again. This time of year I instantly want to get cozy and start cooking hearty soups and baking delicious treats!  

I love the simple beauty of fall!

After our most recent visit to the apple orchard, and there have been a couple trips, I made a delicious apple crisp before my kids devoured the entire peck!
  Warm apples and pears (they're also in season) cinnamon, honey and brain boosting flax seed meal; this is a healthy twist to a fall favorite!

For the filling
6 medium anjou pears
4 medium macintosh apples
3/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour ( I used Gluten Free flour with xanthum gum already in it)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

For the topping:
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (again, I used Gluten Free)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats ( I used Gluten Free Oats)
2 stick unsalted butter, cold, cut into chunks ( I used Earth's Balance vegan butter)
1/4 cup flax meal
1/2 cup light brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. To make the filling, peel and core the pears and apples, then cut them into large chunks.
3. In a large bowl, combine the chopped fruit, cranberries, lemon juice, flour, honey and spices.  Using a large spoon, mix gently to combine.  Set aside.
4. To make the topping, in a separate large bowl, combine the flour, oats, butter, flax meal, and sugar.  Using your hands, mix the dough together until it looks like large crumbles.
5. Pour apples and pear mixture into a 9 x 13" pan.  Top with crumble topping.
6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned and the fruit is tender and bubbling.
7. Serve warm.

This recipe is forgiving and flexible.  Add more or less fruit depending on your tastes.  As always I give you options to tailor recipes according to you and your family's particular needs.
I absolutely love this recipe and hope you and your family does too!