Saturday, July 31, 2010

Thoughts on Autism Speaks from a Volunteers prespective

As I clean my 10 year old eMachine (or what was formerly called the kids computer until the laptop bit the dust a few months back) tonight, I was amused to find a link to Autism Speaks 2006 tax return. The original link is now broken, but you can access the tax return at Autism Speaks website. Finding this link made me wonder if other people wonder why I am so bitter towards Autism Speaks and maybe that this might be a good time for to tell about my life before Autism and why it frustrates me that an organization who raises so much does so little for families and kids with Autism.

In June of 1997, my husband graduated from Cleveland State. With our 2 children, Ashley and Nick, age 7 & 5, in tow we packed everything we could into our Plymouth Neon and a turtle shell thing on top of it and headed back to our home town, Carlsbad. You would seriously laugh at the things we brought with us in that tiny of a car. Our clothes, obliviously, what ever toys the kids could fit in a back pack and play with on the ride, our TV, stereo and video games all squished in the trunk. We honestly did not care if we had nothing we just wanted to go home to Carlsbad.

Unfortunately there was one Primer who was NOT so happy with leaving her friends and basically her entire 2nd grade life. The school year was tough with Ashley missing her best friend, Emily Kestner, and trying to adapt to a new way of life and new friends. So Ashley was promised she could do cheerleading through Carlsbad Pop Warner. I went in March of 1998 to sign her up; I was looking for her a scholarship. I try really hard to never promise my children anything I can’t deliver and here I was basically looking for the most favored toy at 6pm on Christmas Eve, and hoping I could deliver since I knew our budget could NOT!

Ed was working as substitute teacher in Carlsbad Unified School District, and I was subbing as anything and everything in San Deiguito Union High School District, we were trying to make ends meet and keep food on the table and gas in the car. For anyone not familiar with how substitute teachers (or any other sub position) in a school district get paid here it is. In the state of California, you get paid a month behind. Basically you work September 1st thru the 30th and then get paid on October 31st. It’s a long, long, did I say long time between pay and work.

So long story short, my stint in volunteer work began. They gave Ashley a scholarship as long as I coached 10 little 7, 8, & 9 year olds in cheerleading, something I had never done, EVER!!!! This led me to join the Carlsbad Pop Warner Board the next year and eventually co-run the Carlsbad High School Football teams snack bar for 5 years.

By now your wondering what in the world does this have to do with Autism Speaks? In reality it has EVERYTHING TO DO WITH AUTISM SPEAKS!!!

I know when you hear snack bar, you think oh like we had at Little League, candy and pop and maybe a hot dog if you were lucky, and let me tell you that perspective is completely wrong. At the high school level it’s huge! We had sales between $5000 to $10,000 a night on an average of 4 or 5 regular season games and hopefully 1 or 2 play off games with home field advantage.

To put this in to perspective, at the time I worked at the most popular breakfast place in Carlsbad, Don’s Country Kitchen. Don’s has 7 inside tables, 8 counter seats and at the time 4 outside tables. A very, very, very small restaurant! On Sunday morning between 7 am and 2 pm (7 hours) we averaged between $2000 and $3000 sales a day. Our football snack bar between the hours of 4:30 pm and 9:30 pm ( 5hours) was averaging $5000 to $10,000 a night and at that we did it on volunteers, no one was paid. Over the 5 years I did it I worked pretty much with Kelli Strawhun and Wendy Butler for hours at a time, we did all the purchasing, pretty much all the stocking and pretty much all the scheduling. Emily and Austin pretty much thought the snack bar was a second home. Kelli, Wendy, and I never took money for any of our time, none of our home copy supplies, internet usage, gas, and mileage on our car from shopping or pricing different products to get the best price or begging local stores to give us free stuff or at least discounts to cut costs. We were in it to lower costs to help kids who could not afford to play, for bigger and better football and cheer gear, and to pay the extra stipends the school district did not cover for coaches. We were in it for the kids.

So the moral of this story you ask? The moral is here is a community project I worked on, where I raised the money, I did not have a child on the football team at Carlsbad at the time, but I did it without advertisements, with out celebrities and without putting the bottom line in jeopardy. Waste not want not was our motto.

Yet here is this giant Autism organization, with a great little logo, or as I call it the evil little blue puzzle piece, raising $60 million dollars a year and I have yet to find one child this money actually helped., actually made a difference in their life. Over the life of my husband’s football coaching career, I can find many children who are now adults that the money raised at that snack bar, no matter who ran it, had their lives changed for the better because of the CHS football program. No matter where I go in my community, I hear people yell out for me or my husband and thank us for our work and ask how our kids are doing. We made a difference, my husband is still there making a difference.

Our football program now also has (off the top of my head) 3 NFL players who are giving back to the Community of Carlsbad. These are people who now make a difference because some one fundraised so they could play high school football. We also have many successful graduates in many other professions who give back to the program and many kids who go into teaching and coaching because of their love of the sport. This love came from the CHS football program that was fundraised by parents!!!

For Autism Speaks I still only see their bottom line! A Park Ave office, huge salaries, huge travel expenses and yet in my journey over the last 6 years of Autism I can’t find one family who yells from the mountain tops Autism Speaks helped me, they changed the life of my child.

So when you hear my adorable 10 year old say with a straight face, “Autism Speaks does not speak for the Primer’s, TACA does”. Please realize there is a reason, a very important reason they DO NOT SPEAK FOR US or anyone we know.

I post often on Facebook and on my blog on why I like certain Autism Charities, but the number one reason is I can find many families shouting from roof tops saying how this organization’s changed their child’s life. As for Autism Speaks and their $60 Million budget, I have yet to find one.

As always here are my favorite Charities for Autism, in no particular order, but have given me nothing physical, but have give me the ability to change my child’s life, gave my child camp, gave my child the ability to surf, lobbied for my child with Congress or just educated me along the way. I don’t need physical stuff, neither do the rest of my friends who are Autism parents, we want them, but what we need is tools, tools to make our kids lives better and for our kids to have a chance to be productive parts of society and not a burden on it. So please support the organizations that support us…

Talk About Curing Autism Now (TACA)
Surfer’s Healing
Autism Society of America, San Diego Chapter

National Autism Association's (NAA)
Autism Link
Safe Minds

(I am sure there are other’s I missed please feel free to remind me and I will add them, also)

I will close this with the next time some one asks you for a $1 to put your name on a little blue puzzle piece, please politely decline and then write their corporate offices and tell them Austin Primer prefers Autism Charities that actually help kids!! Until next time PITAup and do something to change the life of a child with Autism, the life you change maybe your own!!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

NuLife Foods Ultimate "Cheese" Pizza and Veggie Meatballs

NuLife Foods Ultimate “Cheese” Pizza is also getting great reviews. Honestly I am having a hard time imagining that we are going to find a product they make that is bad. AND NO I AM NOT GETTING PAID TO SAY THAT!!! Ok they did send me a sample pack to try though, but trust me if my kids would not eat it, you would hear about it.

For anyone who has been waffling about taking them up on the trial pack offer, you will be sorry if you miss out on this deal. Even with the shipping cost it is worth every penny!!!

So I gave Emily 1/4 of a slice to try. When asked what she thought she said it was great! When asked compared to BJ's she said she preferred this one. I asked what she liked and she said nice crust, tasty sauce and good cheese. (I think I might have the next big food critic ob my hands) When I laughed and said the cheese was Daiya's she made a face, yet she is begging me to make the other two pieces which I planned on making for Austin's lunch in the morning! I guess mommy and daddy are not getting a taste of this hot commodity. Since I did not actually taste this, I can say the big thing I noticed was the crust was really soft, it is thin but felt almost like those pizzas they make on French bread. I can see why Emily would prefer this crust because those are a fun kid treat!!! Austin also devoured this pizza!! Now if we could just find some GFCFSF pepperoni, we would have the perfect pizza.

In the trial pack we also received NuLife foods Beefy Veggy Meatballs. The children gobbled these up. I love that they have squash in them. Personally I am a huge fan of the squash but the rest of the Primer’s not so much!!!! The fact that serving these to your children with spaghetti means you are getting 2 servings of fruit and veggies in one meal. I will say my husband said that they were “just ok” and that that they had something different in them. My husband has a huge aversion to squash so his comment was not surprising to me. I do think with a strong sauce I could serve these regularly and he would get used to it! He could use the extra veggies too!!

If you try these new products I hope you take the time to come back and tell me what you think of them!!!

Until next time, PITAup and make the world a better place for someone with Autism!!! The life you change may be your own!

*Please note any links that are in green and underlined twice are being linked by the blog, and are not being linked by me and do not represent anything I am promoting.*

Friday, July 23, 2010

We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility

We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It's easy to say "It's not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem." Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes. — Fred Rogers

We live in a time and a age that I am sorry, you can’t turn a blind eye and say this is not your child, not your community and not your world so by default not your problem.

Autism is a huge problem. Depending on whose numbers you are going on it is either 1 child in 91 or 1 child in 110. This is a problem, for that matter no matter what the idiots at the CDC say this is an epidemic and it’s not GOING AWAY. Polio was an epidemic at 1 in 3000; again I ask the question why no one notices the difference or why no one in our government cares. I know that answer, and its Money, the money our government makes off vaccines and other big businesses, but that is not this blogs purpose.

This blog is about what are we going to do to support those parents of those 1 in 110 children and especially those parents who get 2 kids with Autism. This is not an easy life, I only started blogging on April 6, and this is the 2nd blog I have written on a parent of a child or children with Autism murdering their child with Autism.

I am honestly sorry I listened to the 911 tape, it is truly heart breaking listening to this mom say she killed her two young children and reading the news reports that say she wanted normal children. I cried, I wept, and I still feel like a piece of my heart was broken 2 days later.

As a parent of 3 “normal children” and one child with Autism, we all want NORMAL kids, WTF; we do not take wire to our children that do not fit the norm. We do not kill them.

I will say that had we continued on the path we were on when we met Autism on June 15, 2004 maybe I would have on been on this path too, but I really do not think so. At the point I was at my child slept 2 hours a day, ran full force into walls, he was like the Tasmanian devil and dumped everything out in his path, he pulled everything out of the fridge when given the opportunity, colored non stop and we bought a case of paper a month, and we have not even got to his health. He also at almost 3 years old had liquid poop, like that of a formula feed child and only ate & drank milk, cheese, wonder bread, cereal, and macaroni and cheese. He also had a distended belly and looked like he had two black eyes. He looked like death was just hovering over!

At that point in my life I do not know what I would have done if I was a single parent or a parent who did not have 2 awesome teens who stepped up and let Ed and I sleep. I like to believe I would never become that sleep deprived or insane that I would kill my child.

I think the difference between this mom and me? I found help, real help, not some organization that said and still says they speak for me but instead buys office supplies and a Park Avenue office, but an organization that really helps families newly diagnosed to Autism and what to expect and how help your child and how to learn to get help from the system to help your child.

Honestly I want every parent to find what I have! It is one of the reasons why I created this blog and our local Mom’s Night Out group. I think just realizing you are not alone is huge in our world. If you are a parent of a child with Autism and have not found yahoo groups, let me tell you are missing out on a huge resource. 6 years ago when I walked into Autism there was really no local resources, I learned everything from yahoo groups. It’s actually how I found TACA. I found some Gluten free Casein free groups and started following Dana of Dana’s View and ended up in a local yahoo group.

Without Dana’s View my life would be completely different!!! I might be the parent in the story above. But I am not and I truly hope all my friends who do not have Autism in their lives pass my story on to people who do have Autism in their lives. I want people to know there is hope, there is a better way and that they can reach out and get that help. If you are in that place in Autism where you are thinking about hurting yourself or your children, instead reach out to one of us other parents and ask for help. Or call 911 or drive directly to the hospital and ask for help. It is out there and we all want you to have it.

I am going to close this with a quote from my fellow PITA Simran Garcia, “Yes Autism is overwheming but we can do this.”

So as usual, PITAup change your life and the life of someone with Autism!

*Please note any links that are in green and underlined twice are being linked by the blog, and are not being linked by me and do not represent anything I am promoting.*

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Surfers Healing

Surfers Healing is an awesome organization that was founded by Izzy and Danielle Paskowitz, after their son, Isaiah was diagnosed with autism at 3. Like many children with autism Isaiah suffered from sensory overload. The ocean was the place where the family found respite. Izzy a former competitive surfer came up with the idea one day with Isaiah on the front of his surfboard, and Izzy steering from the back, the two spent the day surfing together. For the Primer Family we are very happy that surfing had this huge of a profound impact on Isaiah, because Izzy and Danielle decided they wanted to share this awesome therapy with other children with autism.

They offer this awesome experience free of charge to families. Surfers Healing provides lunch, healthy snacks and a ton of water! It is truly a magical day. In the Primer Household there is only one day that equals this day and that is the TACA Picnic, it is better then Easter, its better then your birthday and its better then Christmas, yes I said Christmas!!!

This year was our 4th year and it did not fail to deliver even though it was cold and overcast in San Diego. This year Austin had the privilege to surf with Izzy. It was near the end of the day and I can tell you every surfer out there was still energetic and ready to go. It was amazing to watch. The have perfected their system even for children who are afraid or are unsure what they need to do. The Surfers healing team has one or two people help the surfer and child into the water and on to the surf board. Once out, I am unsure how they work their magic, but they do. Then when they finally catch the perfect wave they come surfing in, some kids will be lying on the surf board, others will be standing with the help of the surfer and even some will come in hanging on the back of the surfer. It is truly amazing to see them in action. Where they find the people they do to come out is unknown to me, but let me tell you they are wonderful. They have patience, they have Autism training and they have surfing talent and some how they pull all 3 together at crunch time!!! And when I say talent, I do not exaggerate last year Austin had the privilege to surf with Sunny Garcia, who was as gracious as he is talented.

Surfers healing is truly one of the rare charities who are in it for the right reason. They don’t have a NYC Park Avenue office; they don’t spend an ungodly amount of money on office supplies. They spend their money on “wetsuits, surfboards, rash guards, life vests and other equipment that must be replaced every season. Food and drinks are provided to the kids and their families. Beach permits, insurance, and administration.” I am not sure how many of you have priced wetsuits, but I have and they are not cheap. I am fortunate and live in SoCal and have a mother that processes a talent for finding things at thrift stores and have yet to pay full price, but Surfers healing does not have that luxury they get to pay the going market rate!

So my challenge today is for all my friends who grew up with Ed and I and surf or enjoy our awesome Carlsbad beaches is to donate money to Surfers healing in Austin Primer’s name. Let the Paskowitz family and the Surfers Healing team knows that you appreciate the gift they have given Austin and our entire family. Show them the love, even $5 helps!!!

Until next time, PITAup and make the world a better place for someone with Autism!!!

*Please note any links that are in green and underlined twice are being linked by the blog, and are not being linked by me and do not represent anything I am promoting.*

Monday, July 19, 2010

"Qu'ils mangent de la brioche"

I will say it again, it’s a great time to be Gluten Free Casein Free Egg Free. I’ve been overwhelmed by all the new awesome products we have been trying lately. I hope these companies are hearing all the great feed back because it encourages them to get back to the recipe board and come up with new ideas and more things for me to try!

Amy’s Kitchen was nice enough to send me food for the family to taste after I mentioned them in my blog about Daiya cheese. So on Saturday we took their new Gluten Free- Non Dairy Chocolate Cake (also egg free) with us to a party. We shared it with our friend Paige. Her and Austin devoured it!!! Quite a few PITAs taste tested a bite also. Everyone gave it rave reviews. To date the only Gluten Free Casein Free Egg Free cake I have had that was better then this is the ones the Lundy family makes and so far those are not on the market and you have to be a family friend to be privileged enough to have one made for you. !!! Another PITA pointed out that if you put 3 of these cakes together and frosted that it would be a regular cake pan size cake and could easily be decorated by the creative type. As I type this up Austin is finishing off the cake! Yum!!!! I can tell you from now on Austin will not be having to have GFCFEF brownies for his birthday cake!!! I’m betting Paige’s mom will not be paying $200 for GFCFEF cake and having to drive to LA to get it! Very very exciting stuff here in the Primer world!!!

This cake is very moist, a bit on the crumbly side, but that might have been my fault. The directions clearly state to thaw for 2.5 hours in the refrigerator, ours left the freezer and sat in the trunk of the car in the heat for 4 hours before we got to the party, oops!!! No matter how it is thawed I can promise you anyone who likes chocolate cake will enjoy this product! You can serve this and never bother to mention its GFCFEF, because no one will be asking until they see your GFCF family member eating it!!!
"Qu'ils mangent de la brioche", or as we say in English "Let them eat cake!"

If you try these new products I hope you take the time to come back and tell me what you think of them!!!

Until next time, PITAup and make the world a better place for someone with Autism!!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

“This is not my life”

As sit here listening to KSON, writing a different blog the DJ started talking about weight loss and wanting to go comfortably to the beach! It made me realize I have not made a proper blog about my absolute favorite product the bodybugg. I know this blog is generally about everything Autism related, but I think this is also Autism related.
When we get the diagnoses of Autism, moms tend to drop our lives as we previously knew it and we do anything and everything Autism related. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can lead us to neglecting ourselves, which is a really BAD THING!!! Dad’s also do this when they become Dad’s. Dad’s then become the provider and need to do everything to keep their families afloat. When you get the Autism diagnosis this only gets intensified as our costs of living also go up. Even if you don’t do biomedical, your cost goes up for child care, for all the things your health insurance barely covers for a child with Autism like Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, my favorite Vision Therapy, advocates, lawyers, etc! I could go on and on about all the things we pay for that people without Autism would never ever think about, but you get the point!! Also many mom’s I know with thriving careers end up taking steps down in their jobs if not quitting all together because all the things above also suck you dry of time.

I am just like you. I used to sit at home reading in all of my spare time about Autism and what I wanted intervention I wanted to try next and what I could only dream about affording next (right now that is Stem Cells in Costa Rica). I also neglected myself. I thought I did not have time to exercise and take care of myself.

November 8, 2008 the reality of the situation changed. My husband was admitted to the hospital and a week later we were preparing for heart surgery. He was 39 years old, at the time I kept thinking this can’t be happening, “this is not my life”. And for anyone who knows me, the statement “this is not my life” means something or someone is going to change!!! I also thought someone needs to live for the children, hell we have 4, this would not be fair to leave to Ashley and Nick to take care of the younger children, they deserve their own lives, at least as long as they can!!

One of the local PITAs I know had already been talking to me about this crazy product called the bodybugg. She started at a size 20, but with this product she had gotten down to a size 6 and lost an amazing 85 pounds and kept the weight off until she became pregnant. This is an amazing mom of two kids with Autism, who I know will lose it again just out of self determination!!! She sold me on the fact that there was no crazy fad diets, no eating crappy packaged foods that use crazy spices I would not use at home or or chemicals I would not subject my children to, and that you can eat what your family eats and even though it is basically calorie counting system, it is so much more. You strap this little devise on your arm and magically it tells you how many calories you burn every day. In the calorie counting world this is revolutionary, no longer is there any guessing of how many calories you burn you actually know how many you burn. Then you hook the bodybugg up to your computer and download that information to their website, which is included for 6 months. Once downloaded you put in what foods you eat and can compare the calories you actually burned to those you ate and drank. The goal is to eat 500 calories or what ever you amount you set as your goal less then you burn. Bodybugg has already put in many common foods calories into their system for you, including Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, El Pollo Loco, etc, and it also gives you the ability to add your own custom foods and even custom recipes. You can literally figure out how much a serving of Momma’s homemade Lasagna calories are in just a few minutes.

I also personally bought a food scale; this really helped with any guessing of how many calories I was eating. A great example of this is my favorite local pizza joint (That Pizza Place in Carlsbad) does not have a calorie guide, I can’t put in how many calories of their pizza I eat, BUTTTTT I can weigh the pizza, and pick Pizza’s Huts comparable crust pizza and change the setting from slice to ounce and get a very good guess of how many calories I ate.

The one thing I really truly regret is that I did not do on day one of my life change was take measurements. Yes the measurements you don’t want to know, your waist included, YIKES!!! So the only true measurement I have on how much weight I have lost is pounds and my bra size. Ok even the pounds is questionable, I went by the last time I had been to the doctor, since I didn’t even own a scale when I started.

I am happy to report I have lost 45 pounds, 8 inches in my bust size (no cup size, just excess fat), and went from a very tight fitting size 16 jeans to a nice fitting size 6 since I purchased this on December 24, 2008 and kept the weight off for a year. I also did not give up any of my favorite foods or beer. Instead I did moderation of everything I ate. I also like to eat so I exercised, A LOT! The more you exercise the more calories you can eat. Don’t let that scare you. My best friend is a single mom, who works 30 minutes from home. She took this system and lost the same amount of weight from accounting for her food alone. Everyone I know who has actually done the product as designed has done the same. It is truly amazing.

Since going back to work, I have figured out a great trick, you can burn almost as many calories as exercising an hour at any time of day, if you do a good heart healthy exercise for 20 minutes in the morning. The morning is key word!!! The earlier you exercise the long your metabolism is on high and the more calories you burn through out the day. No I don’t have any scientific proof, but I have a bodybugg that says I am right and walking the supermarket does not count. You need to be almost to the point that you can’t talk walk while working out, just on the edge of winded, where your heart rate is up!!!

There is only one reason to not purchase this product, and yes its only one. The reason is that you do not have the inner strength to have accountability and try, so if that is you, please sit back down on the couch, get the High Fructose Corn syrup filed soda or nasty chemical poisoned diet coke and a bag of chips and watch your DVR, because this is not the system for you. I will say this is also not the blog for you, but hey a reader is a reader, so let’s not go crazy, so just sit back down and continue you to read, I have very impressive persuasive skills and one day I may get you to come to the healthy side!!

So let’s get back to the statement, “I also neglected myself. I thought I did not have time to exercise and take care of myself.”

I also thought taking time for me was “selfish”. Let’s get this excuse over and done with, exercise and good health is SELFLESS NOT SELFISH!! In this life of Autism we need as long of a life as possible because we don’t know what is going to come up next, budget cuts, teacher changes, special education director leaves, etc. We also honestly need the stress release exercise gives. It is great for helping with the depression, guilt and other life challenges Autism throws at us.

So as usual, PITAup change your life and the life of someone with Autism! You will thank me, I promise!!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

WOW!!! Gluten Free Casein Free has never been this good!!!

Wow! I'm speechless, well almost!
Come on this is me we are talking about;-)
Tonight’s dinner was absolutely Devine! In the Primer house we eat very little junk like foods at home and today we hit the motherlode as we indulged in Amy's Rice Macaroni with Non Diary Cheese, NuLife Foods Chicken nuggets and Chocolate Chip cookies.

Let's start with the Amy's Rice Macaroni with Non Diary Cheese (Daiya Cheese) Let's point out that many frozen foods once cooked look nothing like the picture on the box! That is not the case for this product. I followed conventional oven cooking instructions, since I prefer a good baked Mac & Cheese. After cooking and stirring it looked beautiful! I have to say it tasted even better, in my humble opinion! My two little taste testers agreed and practically licked their plates clean. I swear to you any restaurant out there could serve this and no one would ever know the difference! The funny thing is Emily who is 10 was hesitant to try it since she had already saw Austin eating it, so she was clued in that it was GFCF (and may I add soy and egg free). When I asked if she knew it was GFCF she looked at me a sarcastically said "um yeah I've been in this family awhile and Austin could eat it duh!!" (Wonder where she gets that smart arse attitude, lol). She did though eat every last bite! The only downside I see to this product is the calories and fat. The box is considered it one entree and it is 520 calories, 22g total fat (34% of your daily value if on a 2000 calorie diet), 5g saturated fat, and 740 mg of sodium (31% of your daily value). As a wife of a heart attack survivor (at 39) this is definitely a food that should be eaten in moderation. My suggestion is to halve it and serve as a side dish with a lean meat and lots of veggies, and a salad!

Next up is the NuLife foods chicken nuggets, these are GFCFSFEF. If you are looking to replace McDonald nuggets these are not the nuggets you are looking for, for that matter you are never going to find those! McDonald's food is not food! At the San Diego DAN conference in 2008 one of the doctor's hit the nail on the head and said there is no such thing as junk food, there is junk and there is food and McDonald's is just that JUNK! The number one reason these won't replace McD's is they are breaded, not battered. I tasted these at the PITA mom's night in Orange County in June and can tell I understand why Ron from NuLife Foods describes these as their most popular product! They are very kid friendly. Austin had snuck 4 of them before I even served dinner! Let's just say that is a good sign he loved them! Emily also gave them rave reviews. They are 250 calories for a serving of 4. I will say both Austin age 8.5 and Emily age 10 each ate 8, but I know my friend’s boys, age 9 and 6 normally eat 4 nuggets at dinner.

Last but certainly not least are NuLife Food's chocolate chip cookies. These are GFCFSF unfortunately not egg free. So all reviews for this product will be from the non GF members of the family, Ed, Emily and I all give them 3 thumbs up! I might have also moaned when I ate my first one, but I really like fresh baked cookies and rarely have them. My sister Tanya also tasted one; her comment not knowing I had not made these from scratch was that I used a little too much butter substitute. I am unsure if this is accurate as I was afraid to over cook them. The directions said how long to cook, but my experience with cooking cookies is Toll House and you cook until the edges are golden or 1 2 3 gluten free where they taste like toll house but if cooked until the edges are golden crumble once cooled. So I went on the cautious side and under cooked! Ed said they were as good as any gluten filled cookie on the market so this is also getting really high praises from the Primer Family! I would buy these and use them regularly if Austin was not egg free and could eat them.

Until next time PITAup and make the world a better place for someone with Autism!
*Please note any links that are in green and underlined twice are being linked by the blog, and are not being linked by me and do not represent anything I am promoting.*

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Old Favorites

Since I have some new parents who follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and read the blog, I thought I would review an old favorite since they recently introduced some new flavors. These products are all GFCFEF, not soy free. The have an awesome Allergy Alert for those who worry about cross contamination. I love companies that do not make you search for answers like this! They have this alert on several of their web pages.

Kinnikinnick animal cookies, for once this is a GFCFEF product that got it 100% right the first time!!!! Kinnikinnick animal cookies are just as disgusting as the original animal cookie and that is a GREAT thing! There purpose and usefulness are awesome from a parent's perception! Kid’s first and foremost love them. Animal cookies are a great teething cooking for smaller children. The mush up properly causing very little chance for choking and get all over toddler hands and then all over your clothes and you look like you rolled in a vat of talc or chalk. Ok the last part might not be awesome, but it’s a right of passage in parenting. These disgusting little cookies are winning big raves with all the PITA kids even the not GFCFEF kids! The kids that hang out in our smaller sub PITA group (our group that hangs out together every weekend, kids ages range from 13 months to 10 years old). Everyone will eat these puppies, I mean animal cookies!!!

They have also just come up with two equally unappealing versions Graham Style and Chocolate, which all the children love as well. As a parent I'm all for these disgusting treats if all the kids are, I just wish they were soy free. I think in my world sf and ef are not compatible but companies who cater to our community need to realize GFCFEFSF is where it is at! When we started the diet 6 years ago GFCF was recommended today by our local support group Talk About Curing Autism now, but today the website recommends everyone start GFCFSF. In my experience on this journey there is at least 25% of us that add in egg free due to allergies or IgG tests that recommend it. Egg allergies are huge now days due to many vaccines that have been grown on eggs and IMHO cause allergies to eggs! I think in a few years the majority of parents and support groups will be suggesting starting with GFCFEFSF.

Until my next time, PITAup and make the world a better place for all our kids, but especially those with Autism

Monday, July 5, 2010

New favorite gluten free casein free foods

We have two new favorite foods to review!!!

The first item up for review is the new Daiya cheese, its package boasts “deliciously dairy free”. It is dairy, lactose, casein, whey, nuts, gluten, soy and egg free. It is also free of artificial ingredients, preservatives, hormones, antibiotics and is GMO free. It comes in Cheddar style and Mozzarella style. I paid $4.99 for an 8 ounce bag.

After having Austin on the GFCF diet for 6 years I can tell you CF cheese is generally nasty. It has no redeeming qualities to it and generally turns to oil when melted. Honestly at our house we gave up cheese when we started the diet. It was just something that could not be duplicated!!!

Daiya cheese is changing that perception in a big way!!! Not only does it taste good it melts. I made Austin a grilled cheese sandwich the other day and when I tore it apart it spread like real cheese! All I have to say is WOW!!! If you haven’t tried it you need to. In Southern California Daiya cheese can be found at Whole Foods and Mother’s. I am hoping Henry’s hurries and gets the message of how great this cheese is or I will be making those bi-monthly trips to Mother’s again. Won’t be a bad thing for me since I have a Mother's addiction, but the husband may complain since we live in Carlsbad, CA and the closest one is in Laguna Hill, lol.

The Daiya website also has a macaroni and cheese recipe that looks great. The also have other products they have paired up with and it is definitely worth checking out that list as well since NuLife Foods, Amy’s and other well known GFCF companies are in the list. I’m definitely looking forward to my sample pack of foods NuLife Foods is sending since I noticed that Daiya cheese is on their pizza. Very exciting indeed!! Also if you did not hear you can order the trial pack right now for only $10 with special discount code. For the same shipping cost you can add one more item to your cart. My favorite still is the chicken burger, but I hear the nuggets are an overall favorite!!!

The second item up for review is the gluten free pizza at BJ’s Brewhouse, cost $8.99 without toppings. If you order it without cheese it is also casein free. Per Tamara Bersbach, BJ's Restaurants, Inc. Risk Management Coordinator, “The pizza crust does not have dairy nor does the sauce. The only dairy comes from the cheese. Also all of our ingredients for the Gluten Free Pizza's are in a separate area to avoid any cross contamination with other food items.” Per the menu all toppings are gluten free except the meatballs. The pizza is also egg free! I did not inquire about topping being casein free. I went with the safe choice of grilled chicken as Austin won’t eat veggies on a pizza and I know that the majority of pepperonis have milk in them.

So this Pizza is pretty much a typical thin pizza, it is 10 inches and could easily feed 2 or more children. Emily tasted and liked it and Austin ate half of it, so the Primer’s are giving it 2 thumbs up. I did take Daiya cheese and threw some on top of it when it came out. Now if only we could get BJ’s Brewhouse Restaurants to pick up Daiya Cheese for their pizzas and the world of GFCFEF would be a little better place.

One of the things I really like about BJ’s Brewhouse is they have an allergen menu, so if you are going there just ask for one or I have a .pdf of their Allergen brochure that lists 10 common allergens: egg, fish, milk, msg, peanuts, shellfish, soy, sulfites, tree nuts, and wheat. If anyone wants it feel free to e-mail me at and I will send that right out to you!

I do have to say if you are deciding to try BJ’s Brewhouse Restaurants’ I am not recommending the Carlsbad, CA store for anything more then take out. We really love the store in Laguna Hills; they have fabulous service, even with parties of 10 or more. The Carlsbad store we have been to at least a dozen times since it opened in October and the food is great, but the service is seriously lacking!!! I think the only time we have been to the Carlsbad BJ’s and received good service is when one of my husband’s former students served us.

Until next time, PITAup and let us know your thoughts on our 2 new favorite products!!!

*Please note any links that are in green and underlined twice are being linked by the blog, and are not being linked by me and do not represent anything I am promoting.*

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day

What is Independence Day? The birthday of America? Yes, but to most it’s an extra day off.

For many families of children with Autism it’s actually the opposite it can be the day of dependence. It is one of those days where you realize your family is different and you can’t just go to any ole BBQ and 4th of July Party. Whither it is behaviors you are worried about or special diets, in our world’s it is always something, especially when invited to a mainstream party.

Until 3 years ago this was especially hard for our family. We never really went to any BBQ or 4th of July celebrations due to Austin’s Autism. Then 3 years ago the Watson family invited us over. They did not have a child with Autism they just liked us and wanted us to join them. It was probably one of the biggest Independence Day’s for our family. And I don’t mean 4th of July celebrations, it actually made us feel independent to be able to take our kids and part of a normal celebration. It truly was one of the best gifts we have been given. It made us a little more daring and a little more willing to try out new parties and places.

The other awesome thing we got out it from year to year was to see how far Austin had come. The first year we were forever telling him to not touch other peoples food and drinks we had to keep both eyes on him at all times. As the last couple years have shown, Austin has gotten better at only touching his own food and drinks. Now it’s more of a crime of opportunity if thinks we are not watching him. This year the Watson’s will not be having their annual 4th of July party, but the Primer family will still be thinking of them and thankful for the gift they have given us. We know that for many families with Autism the day of Independence has not yet come. Especially to you new parents, who are still in the weeds (new to diagnoses up to about 3 years into Autism), keep moving forward, you too will get here someday soon. I know it is hard to see it now, but please know it gets better!!! Or maybe you get better at it. Either way it feels better!!!

As we are also thankful for this “extra day off” we also give thanks for the bigger picture of Independence. While we are all at BBQ and 4th of July parties here on American soil, there are men and women in uniform all over the world protecting that freedom. I don’t care if you agree with the war or not, I just care that our Armed Service people out there fighting know we love and appreciate their daily sacrifices. They are missing the fun of 4th of July, the BBQ, the visiting with friends and family, the beer, the soda, the potato salad, the Jell-O shots and the fireworks tonight that we all be enjoying. They are also missing their families. I also thank the family of every armed service person, because I know how much they miss them also and how much they appreciate the sacrifice, because they also sacrifice for our freedom. I especially am proud of my sister and her family on this day as my brother-in-law is one of those men and women fighting to protect us! Thank you Brian for fighting for us, thank you Tanya, Kirby and Addie for being strong and allowing the rest of us the privilege of Brian protecting us!!! We love you all and are so proud of you all!!!

Until next time PITAup and if you see someone in the Marine Corp, Army or Navy today or know a family of a military person, thank them for all they do for us!!!
*Please note any links that are in green and underlined twice are being linked by the blog, and are not being linked by me and do not represent anything I am promoting*

Saturday, July 3, 2010

What is the definition of an epidemic?

The CDC's official definition of an epidemic is: "The occurrence of more cases of disease than expected in a given area or among a specific group of people over a particular period of time."

Merriam-Webster’s definition is:
Main Entry: 1ep·i·dem·ic
Pronunciation: \ˌe-pə-ˈde-mik\
Function: adjective
Etymology: French épidémique, from Middle French, from epidemie, noun, epidemic, from Late Latin epidemia, from Greek epidēmia visit, epidemic, from epidēmos visiting, epidemic, from epi- + dēmos people
Date: 1603
1: affecting or tending to affect a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time

So my question for you is, WHY are 910 cases of whooping cough an epidemic yet 1 in 91 kids* with “autism” is NOT considered an epidemic?

California has a population of almost 33,870,000 people making it the most populous state in the Country. If you divide that by 910 you get 1 in 37220 have whooping cough in the state of California . How is 1 in 37,220 people fit this definition, “affecting or tending to affect a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time”, yet 1 in 91 kids with Autism is not even being looked at to even be considered an epidemic.

Honestly it’s appalling!!! It was appalling when Austin was diagnosed 6 years ago and the numbers were 1 in 150. It is still appalling!

Why is that only parents and caregivers of children with Autism are out raged while our government does nothing? I’ll tell you why. MONEY!!! Vaccines for things like Whooping Cough, the flu, Chicken Pox etc, make money, boat loads of $$$. Our government and especially the CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) are filled with people who make money off vaccines.
Here is what I found by searching Google for ACIP CHAIR Dr. Carol J. Baker, M.D:

“Dr. Baker is a pioneer in the study of human infections caused by group B Streptococcus (GBS). She was the first to purify and characterize the polysaccharide capsule of this organism and suggest its use as a vaccine to prevent perinatal infections.”

From Baylor College of Medicines website Dr. Backer’s Research Interests are:

Pediatric Infectious Diseases
Group B streptococcal infections
Maternal immunization research
Vaccine policy

What I read there is Dr. Baker is in the business of trying to research vaccines. It is very well possible that Dr. Baker will make money off her ACIP committee recommending the vaccines she researches.

I wonder if I continued down the list of ACIP how many more we would find.

The ACIP according to Search website, “consists of fifteen advisors to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), selected by the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, to provide advice and guidance on the most effective means to prevent diseases through nation-wide vaccination campaigns.

The Committee develops written recommendations for routine administration of vaccines to the pediatric and adult populations, along with vaccination schedules regarding appropriate periodicity, dosage, and contraindications. ACIP statements are official federal recommendations for the use of vaccines and immune globulins in the US, and are published by the CDC. ACIP is the only entity in the federal government which makes such recommendations.”

Also according to, “Most ACIP members, if not all, have ties to vaccine makers,”

So bottom line those who decide which vaccines to recommend make money off the vaccines and therefore have sold our children down the river for money.

Not sure if you want to believe or my research? Great I encourage you before you vaccinate up to do the research your self and see what you find. I think it might be surprising.

So what is your definition of an epidemic?

My definition of epidemic is a money making scheme on behalf of the pharmaceutical companies of the world, with them acting as our government via the CDC and ACIP.
Want a Doctor's opinion on this? Please read Dr. Jay Gordon's opinion.

Until next time, think for yourself when you hear the media, the CDC, and the WHO throwing the word "epidemic" out there. Remember you do not need to run out and vaccinate your children or update their boosters. Be educated, do the research, do math; see if 910 cases of whooping cough really qualify as an epidemic. In my mind 1 in 91 children with Autism is the epidemic facing California and the United States, not whooping cough.

PITAup and think for yourself. It is the right thing to do!!!
*Note if you wonder why random words are linked to sites? It is because the blog picks words out to hook up to PlaySushi (they are in green and underlined twice) and if I do not like the link the blog's choice, I try to fix them all by picking an alternate link to link them to so I control what is linked, but every time I do more appear. So please note any links that are in green and underlined twice are being linked by the blog, and are not being linked by me and do not represent anything I am promoting.*