Tuesday, September 29, 2015

What Not To Tell People With Autistic Children

Welcome to a special Autism edition of The Cherry On Top.

As most readers know my husband and I have two young boys on the Autism spectrum.  Our oldest is high functioning while our youngest is not.  Our mission is to find out everything we can about Autism.  We also want to find ways to help minimise the symptoms and prepare for the future.  If you know of excellent resources, share them in the comments.

A great way to help folks with their life long journey with Autism is knowing what not to say to them.  If you're not sure, don't say anything.  It's always best.  The spectrum is huge and not all Autistic folks are the same.  Not even close.  If you know just one, you don't know them all.

Consider these suggestions.

What NOT to tell people with Autistic children:

That they are spoiling their children.

For years both my in-laws and my parents continuously accused us of spoiling our children until we received official diagnosis from a team of professionals.  What a relief it was for us.  Our own family could finally stop BLAMING us for our children’s difficult and challenging behavior.  (Our very own experience has taught us that corporal punishment increases ill behavior 10 fold.  Find out why here and read about other ways to communicate besides hitting here.)

Do NOT tell caretakers of Autistic kids that it will pass.  For one, you will sound like a complete ignoramus because we are not talking about gas here.  It will not pass.  Autism is a lifetime sentence.  There will be terrible, unbelievably challenging phases where one will want to pull hair out, slam doors and cry into the pillow and there will be less traumatic phases, but every single day is a challenge and if one thinks otherwise, then they are looking at a world through rose coloured glasses where unicorns fart rainbows and leprechauns are waiting at the other end with a pot of gold.

Do NOT tell parents of Autistic children they have been blessed.  Hello!  Logical, rational, intelligent people do not believe in being blessed.  We all know that shit happens and some get more than others.  Autism is not a blessing.  We have learned a lot through our experience and we love our children to the point of physical and mental deterioration, but if we could ditch the Autism, we wouldn’t think twice.  Why else would so many desperate souls be looking for a cure?!

I’m pretty sure when people say it’s a blessing they actually mean they feel blessed by not having kids with Autism.  Now, THAT is something I can get my head around.  

Do NOT bother with the Evil Jedi Mind Trick Glare.  For one, it doesn’t work.  You will only make things worse for yourself.  When a smart, receptive parent feels the power of a negative force, they won’t even bother to try and deal with whatever annoyance that person may be having because they only have to deal with Autism for a tiny fraction of their life while the caretakers will continue until they’ve made the grave.

Another reason this is a waste of time is many kids with Autism do not GET what the people are even doing and if it were my kids, they would probably make fun of that person, point and laugh because to them, they look funny and weird.

This goes back to the whole corporal punishment tactic and why it doesn’t work.  Many Autistic kids don’t feel guilt, shame or even have the slightest bit of responsibility for their actions.  Cause and effect is just as obscure to them as to most people’s conceptualization and understanding of Autism.

Do NOT tell folks dealing with Autism that you don’t believe in Autism.  It isn’t religion!  It has nothing to do with faith or belief.   Autism is very real.  Autism spectrum is a “complex set of neurological disorders that severely impair social, communicative and cognitive functions” and “scientists have determined that Autism is a genetically based condition”. 

So what should you say to a parent whose life has been turned absolutely upside down?  Whose entire future will be dedicated to this eternal struggle?  Who will more than likely have to care for their child or children their entire life because over 90% of Autistic people are unemployed and are not capable of caring for themselves?

Nothing!  Keep the gob shut because the 5 minutes of agitated impatience and lack of compassion only makes people look like a fool.  If these are people you know and love, ask if there is anything you could do to help.  Tell them they are doing a great job and that you are there if they need you.  Be honest and say you don't understand if you don't or that you can't possibly imagine what it's like or how difficult it must be.  If it isn't constructive or helpful, don't bother saying anything.  (This goes for life in general, too. ;)

These are my musings.  It’s not a debate or open for discussion.  Just some truth laid out as I see it.  After over a decade of dealing with Autism I have been given one very important gift.  The gift of not giving a crap about what other people think about my kids and the way we are raising them.

I've got another blog entry with tips on how to host a party for special needs kids as well as tips on how to attend a party for a kid with special needs.

If you're looking for support or advise with your Autistic children, friends or family go ahead and leave a comment and we'll see what we can work out together.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Autumn Decorating Fast, Easy and Inexpensive

Welcome to The Cherry On Top.

We've put together a variety of decor ideas to give you inspiration with your fall decorating.  In typical Cherry fashion, we keep it easy and we also keep cost in mind, too.  Try our family friendly, easy on the wallet ideas to make your home feel warm and cozy this season.

This first one is ours.  A large, tin tray full of seasonal nuts, a candle, small pumpkin, pine cone and a free printable that we modge podged on a shoe box.  I just love that quirky quote.

We blogged all about our Halloween decorating last year.  In Belgium, Halloween isn't all that popular, but in our tiny village, we're trying to change that.  Here's a shot of our front yard.  I made this out of plastic bags and some current clothes.   Hehehe...Those are my rain boots and my hubby's hat.


 I got these awesome images from Pinterest, drew them on to some sturdy, old card board boxes, painted them with black craft paint and used scissors and an exacto to cut them out.  Click on the first image to get to the site where I got the images and the second to see the blog on how we made this window.


Pretty cool, eh?!  We got a lot of attention for this window.  I just put a white sheet behind it all and some lighting behind it as well.  People were snapping pics left and right and were truly impressed.  Ha!


We've also got a blog on how to make this simple witch's broom from stuff you've probably got laying around the house.  You can make this in minutes.


Here's a totally economical way to decorate with natural goodies that might be laying right outside your door.  Clean up your vases, drop in a nice seasonal candle and put the nuts or small pines cones all around the candle.  Ready in minutes and so, so cozy!  This image is hooked up to even more fall ideas.


 Click on this image to get ideas for pretty wreaths using burlap.


These next three are totally fabulous and all three images are hooked up to a site where you can find even more lovely seasonal wreaths.  I cannot choose a favourite.


Grab all of your remnants and get tying this lovely wreath.


How's this for scary chic?  If you don't have the black elements like these, paint some you do have.


How lovely is this area?  Seasonal colours reflecting the colours of the view from your window.  Bringing the outside in without that chilly air.


Check out our Pinterest boards for Fall/Thanksgiving and Halloween ideas! 

We just rustled up this lovely, free printable for you!  Use it for a Project Life Style layout, in your agendas, use the four Cute Cards as tags or grab the png version and use it digital style.  There's so much you can do with it.  Either download directly by right clicking on the image or download our png version from Photobucket.

 free printable

We hope we got the wheels turning and the feeling of fall in your fingers.  

Thanks so much for checking us out!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

How To Store Fresh Fruits And Vegetables

Welcome to The Cherry On Top.

We're back with more helpful hints in the kitchen and a bit of scrap-a-licious goodness, too!

We've recently started receiving organic fruit and vegetables delivered right to our door, once a week.  We never know what we are going to get.  So it's always an adventure.  We will be having an abundance of these fresh lovelies and I want to be sure I get as much life out of them as possible.  I went and did some research to make sure I had it right.

These wonderful strawberries are from our own garden.  The only thing our garden gets is rain water and perhaps a banana peel or egg shells.  No chemicals, ever.  If you pick your own berries and want or need to store them it's important to remember not to wash them until you are ready to eat them and if possible, lay them flat and not stacked.  Our berries never last because they are eaten almost immediately.

Here's a handy chart to help you with the rest of the typical fruits and vegetables. I had no idea that pairing particular fruits together actually promotes decay. Yikes! We've put a star next to those in the list.

Here's a glance at the lovely digital kit I used to make this chart.  It's from my gal Amanda at A-Manda Creation.  This kit is perfect for this time of year and it would be great for designing recipe cards, too.


Here's the proof, that the berries never make the jam!  Hehehe...This kit is from LouCee Creations and you can see more of Farm Fresh over at the Digital Scrapbooking Studio by clicking on the image.


 If you want to learn more about storing fruit and veg properly, check out this site.  It's really good and full of juicy details.

Thank you so much for making The Cherry a part of your day!

Our blog is full of recipes, tips and tricks and free printables that make life easier and more enjoyable.  Here are a couple of our most popular.  Simply click on the images to check out the blog.






Saturday, September 26, 2015

Free Princess Paper Stacker #4 From The Cherry On Top

 Welcome to Scrappy Saturday at The Cherry On Top!

For three weeks, we've been giving a new stacked paper to fans and this week is the last one.  Make sure you hop around and get all four stackers.  They will make a great digital mini album or hybrid album for your princess.

Scroll further to see our completed hybrid project with the free Cute Cards, take a peep at what we did with the free paper stackers and get the newest free stacker.

 free stackers

So, there are all four of our paper stackers. Did you miss some?  Check out our awesome gallery at Photobucket and find them all by clicking on the above image.

Take a gander at our inspiration.

This is the hybrid project we whipped up.  Use the Cute Cards in digital form and insert your pictures, then print them out.  It's the easiest and fastest way to make the mini.  Haven't got your Cute Cards yet?  Click on the image and get them while you can.

 free cute cards

Cut out the number of cards you'll need.  I used 8 for this project.

Then I used this color coordinating, pink card stock from my paper stash.  I left the original width and cut a bit off of the length so that the cards had a frame of the pink card stock.

Simply take your long piece of card stock and gently figure where each crease should be according to the width of your Cute Cards.  It doesn't have to be perfect.  I find when it's a little off, it actually gives the album a more dimensional appeal.

In typical TCOT gluing fashion, I use both double sided tape and my all time favourite glue pen.  (The bottom end is for large areas and the tip is obviously for tiny ones.)  I use the tape around the edges and the glue in the middle.  This way there is a little give for getting your piece right where you want it.  Then press gently where the tape is and it will stay in place.

I added this fun, bright washi tape down each crease.  It's a bit of contrast, but it brings the mini accordion to life and gives the mini album a bit more rigidity and cohesion.

I layered up a second image of the card with photo by cutting just enough off around the edges that you can see the difference, but you don't have to do this.  You could add some dimensional/foam tape for an even deeper effect if you go with this lengthier tactic.

This particular mini is for the little girl with the striped shirt.  She goes to JJ's  school for special needs and is also my husband's best friend's girl.  One out of three, now!  I didn't put any extra dimensional elements on it to keep it sweet and simple.  She can handle it as much as she likes and no worries about how she handles it either because nothing can fall off.

Shoo!  We'll have some more free clusters coming up from the Princess Collection so that you can use them with your stackers and Cute Cards.  Looks for those on Friday's, right here on the blog.

If you can't get enough freebies, you've come to the right place.  We post free stuff continuously and our Pinterest and Facebook is even better yet!  Join us at all of our outlets!

Remember that all of our goodies are free and they are Personal Use ONLY.  Do not resell or claim them as your own.  Thanks for all of your liking, sharing, Pinning and +ing!  We love that and it's the best way possible to say thanks.

Have a super scrappy weekend!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Pizza Power, Baby!

Welcome to my dream blog!

Hehehe...I love most things food and home related.  I also love crafts like scrapbooking and digital scrap as well.  This entry is giving me a chance to do both!

I can show off some cool scrappy stuff and set you up with some awesome recipes that will get you on your way to making the best pizza ever.

Our entire family is pizza crazy.  It's always been a favourite of mine.  There are so many ways to make pizza and we'll talk about a few, ranging from mega easy and super cheap to gourmet delicious and a bit more time consuming.  We've also got Paleo/gluten free recipes for you.

Keep scrolling to get your free recipe cards, check out some layout love, view a few lovely, new kits from BoomersGirl Designs and take a gander at some awesome recipes.


That's Liam and I preparing a pizza with the recipes provided here.  The dough is the best and the sauce is just super.  Any time you can get the kids involved, you should.  My guys love hanging out in the kitchen.  Here they can learn some cooking skills, experiment with food and their favourite part, taste.
My biggest beef I had with dough related recipes was the stickiness.  Until, I figured out that my dough was just too moist.  Keep adding flour a tablespoon at a time and when the dough stops sticking to your fingers, then it's good.  Hehehe...I've made several different recipes and this one I like the most.  No frills ingredients.

Sauce is such a particular, personal kind of taste thing.  The above recipe is a great base.  You can add your favourite veggies in there.  Think about that when your trying to get those veg into picky eaters.  Puree them and stick them in the sauce so they don't know.  I do it all of the time. I also omit the sugar.  Tomatoes are sweet on their own and so are other veggies that you may add.

The above recipe cards are all ready for download.  Right click and save to where you need it.

How about this adorable kit that I used to make these recipe cards and the layout above?  It's from BoomersGirl Designs.  Click on the preview below to get to Lori's shop at GingerScraps and get a closer look.  Pizza Power is Cowabunga Cool!


Let's look at some of those other recipes.

This first one is the easiest and quickest.  Grab a tortilla, spoon a bit of sauce on top.  I use one of those silicone brushes to spread my sauce.  You can also use the back of a spoon.  Sprinkle some shredded cheese over the sauce.  Mix it up!  I often use two or three different types of cheeses.  Fresh mozzarella, goat cheese, cheddar...The choice is yours.  That right there is simple basic pizza.  You don't need any more, but of course you could add shrooms, meats, anchovies, etc.

Bake this sucker at 200C for about 5 minutes and you're ready to eat.  It just has to melt the cheese and heat through.

JJ loves making his own tortilla pizza and I like that he can't complain about his pizza because he made it himself.

Here are two other, alternative ideas for you.  Slice an egg plant about 1/4 inch thick, cook slightly on each side and make your pizza using the egg plant as your crust.  Voila!  In this image, I used freshly diced tomatoes with a lot of herbs, green onions and tried out some vegan mozzarella.  It was delicious!

Another way to cut carbs and get a total protein boost is to use eggs as your crust or base.  Cook up a lovely scramble of eggs, add your sauce and whatever toppings fit your family's dietary requirements.

Pizza Power, Baby!  It keeps the family happy.  It doesn't cost a lot of money and can be ready in under 10 minutes.

Here's another new kit from BoomersGirl Designs.  Let's Shell-ebrate!  All of this bright, fun awesomeness rolled into one fantastic kit that you could use for any pictures or party projects you may have on your to do list.


Here's the layout I created with Shell-ebrate.


Remember that all of our free goodies are for PERSONAL USE ONLY and are not to be resold or claimed as your own.

Thanks for giving The Cherry a couple minutes of your time.

Have a super day!

If you are looking for more family friendly recipes, check out these popular posts by clicking on the images.


Click on the below image to get to our blog about meatless lunch ideas for the kids.


We've also got weeks worth of recipes in our Weekly Menu series.   Check it out by clicking on the image of our pasta bake or going to the search at the top of this blog and enter Weekly Menu.

 Weekly Recipes Board

We are dedicated to getting our readers, inexpensive, healthy, fast, easy and insanely delicious recipes.  Share yours here, if you like.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Awesome Natural Lice Treatment That Works And Keeps The Lice Away

Welcome to The Cherry On Top.

Have you ever had lice in the family?  Oh, my goodness!  It can be a very timely process to get rid of the crawly critters.  I couldn't help to notice that since my child started going to the school with special needs, he got lice continuously.  We'd finally get rid of it over the holidays and he'd go back to school and back it came.

In the beginning, we tried over the counter foam shampoo.  What a disaster that was!  JJ's scalp became totally inflamed and he screamed his head off.  It was just terrible.  I vowed never to use it again and the doctor also agreed.  Have you ever read the warnings on them?!  The side effects are just crazy.

The next thing I did was comb, comb, comb.  That's right three times a day.  At one point, everyone in the entire household had lice!  Can you imagine having to use a lice comb through hair thick and curly like this, three times a day?  My hair was fried!

In the morning, after school and before bed, we all got combed.  Then I changed the sheets, everyday.  Yip!  Everyday!  Goodness!  All that one must do to get rid of the lice, naturally.

I tried a couple of different combs and this kind was the one I found most effective, less painless and less pull outs.

Then a friend of mine suggested mixing up tea tree oil with my combing routine.  I read a bit about it and since was an all natural product and good for your hair, I got started right away.

I combed through JJ's hair, getting rid of all of the lice I could find.  JJ is Autistic.  Getting him to sit the 15 minutes or so was not easy.  I gave him a lollipop and stuck him on a stool in front of the TV.  This seriously worked like a charm!  Change it up with a popsicle or something else that takes some time to eat.  A bowl of yummy nuts and raisins maybe?

I washed his hair every other day with all natural shampoo and a few drops of tea tree oil mixed in.  Then every morning after the combing, I'd put a couple of drops in the nape of his neck.  I'd also drop a couple drops of the oil in the palm of my hands and rub it all over his hair and scalp.  Concentrating where those buggers like it most, in the nape and around the ears.

 tea tree oil
Click on this image to find more uses for tea tree oil and what it is.

Ever since I have been vigilant about keeping the lice away, this has worked.  We went for years with lice and haven't seen any since I started this, in the winter.  I typed up a pamphlet for the school and told them to hand it out.

It was appalling to see so much lice on so many little heads.  If you see your child scratching a lot, take a peek and make sure it's not lice.  If it is, for goodness sake, treat it right away before the entire school gets infected.

Lice has little to do with dirty hair.  The varmints actually prefer cleaner, drier hair.  Don't be stigmatised if you get it.  It's really no biggie.  Just take care of it as soon as possible.

If you want to learn more about lice, head to these sites: