My So-Called Sensory Life

http://www.mysocalledsensorylife.com

My So-Called Sensory Life celebrates the Unexpected Gifts of Twins & Motherhood.Laura is Mom to boy-girl twins (1 w/special needs). She inspires others with her daily gratitude proving that we CAN find the silver lining everyday even on the tough...

Between getting kids dressed, fed and out the door on time mornings can be hectic! What tips do you have for making morning routines easier?

People often say twins and other multiples have an extra special bond. Has there ever been a time when you noticed an especially unique connection?

What are your tips for celebrating joint birthday parties?

What is your favorite holiday family tradition and how did you start it?

Laura Rossi

Our family loves Christmas. Having a son with Special Needs makes me appreciate the little moments most of all. I'm so thankful for my family. We have several special and fun family holiday traditions that I’d like to share: 1. A favorite: Making Christmas cookies in a warm kitchen with Christmas music blasting and dancing and silly Santa hats. Everyone gets covered in flour and food coloring and sprinkles. The kids make crazy cookies. We all eat too many warm cookies right out of the oven! This tradition started when I was a young girl and we continue it in my home. 2. Writing Dear Santa letters. My twins are still small and so they write letters to Santa by themselves. Santa replies with a personal hand-written note from The North Pole and our local paper prints the children’s letters. 3. We sing Christmas carols and songs starting the day after Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day! In the car, making dinner, at bedtime. Never enough Rudolph for us! 4. We watch traditional Christmas shows like Rudolph, Frosty, Charlie Brown and all decorate the tree together with a fire in the fireplace, hot chocolate. 5. On Christmas Eve, we track Santa and like other families leave cookies and milk and carrots for Santa and the reindeer. We all wear Santa Hats on Christmas morning! Happy Holidays! Thank you for asking me to post about our family.
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How can families give back during the holidays?

Laura Rossi

Families can give back in so many ways during the holidays! It's the one time of the year where I can easily teach our twins to think about others and that is the true lesson of the holiday season. Of course, the traditional route is to donate and we do that: we donate new toys to needy children via our local community. In addition, we donate canned goods to local food shelters. In my opinion, perhaps one of the very best ways to give back during the holidays is to give someone (a friend, neighbor, even a stranger) a helping hand -- carry a bag of groceries for someone struggling, spend time with a lonely pal, drop off cookies to an ill neighbor, pitch in before someone asks for help. Doing something for someone is free and is one of the greatest gifts you can give during the holidays. I hope this is the holiday lesson my twins will take with them as they grow up and wonder how they can give back during the holidays.
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When your child has a friend who is a bad influence, what can you do?

Laura Rossi

The most important advice we have always given our twins is that our family has a set of rules that we alwasy follow and sometimes other families have different rules but our rules are our rules. Part of our advice also includes a reminder we always want our children to talk to us about anything -- good or bad!
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What are the secrets of a smoothly-running carpool?

Laura Rossi

Here are my tips for great carpool experiences: 1. Give yourself enough time -- leave yourself enough time to chat with the other Mom at pick-up or drop-off and/or for that late child. 2. Great music makes for a great ride. 3. Snacks, snacks, and more snacks!
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What's your funniest potty training story?

Laura Rossi

One our funny moments -- allowing our boy-girl twins to sit on matching potty chairs in our family room in front of the television at the same time while Mom and Dad bribed them to GO PEE and GO POOP! I would never have believed that I'd have allowed my twins to sit on potty chairs outside of the bathroom. But never say never!
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What are the best ways to keep kids entertained & well-behaved at a formal event or luncheon such as wedding?

Laura Rossi

I'm a Mom to boy-girl twins and because our son has special needs, I am an expert at preparing for events, weddings, and more. My secret: I create a fun book that details the day. Here's how: 1. Get on the computer or grab some markers and papers. Write a descriptive title such as "Auntie Lisa's Wedding Story" 2. Using fun images and a rough schedule -- map out the day with visuals and a little text. You can be as specific as you'd like (starting with wake up, have breakfast get dressed) or you can simply feature the event 3. Let your son or daughter help with the story! And don't forget to include incentives in it such as "After the wedding ceremony, Mom will give us special snacks." OR "If we have quiet mouths and quiet hands during the toast, Mom will give us a small present" (the present is usually a new book or coloring stuff -- something small but that will engage the kiddos) 4. Finally, bring the book with you and use it to guide your children through the day and help the little ones mark time (which is so hard for kids) This can also work with older children -- make more of a schedule and use time so he or she can follow along on a clock when necessary and wrap up the day with a big reward like movie night or a special dinner or activity. My last bit of advice: I always make sure my twins know we can "take a break" and go outside or to a quiet spot if they need a moment to refresh or a minute of Mommy attention. And I involve them in everything: reading the program, assisting with taking photos, picking out food to eat and finding a new friend if the event includes other children. Instant playdates are always fantastic to pass time. Happy Celebrating! PS: If all else fails, streaming movies on phones, tablets, etc can save the day!
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What's a great source to buy formal clothing for children?

Laura Rossi

From their very first matching Christmas Outfits to First Communion, THE CHILDREN'S PLACE is my go-to store and e-retailer for formal clothing. (And for all wardrobe needs.) I have been thrilled with every single purchase I have made for my boy - girl twins (now 9 years old) at THE CHILDREN'S PLACE. The prices are great, the styles are classic, sales are always happening online, sizes are accurate, and the clothing is beautiful. And since I have to always buy for a boy and a girl (twins), i love the one-stop shopping which also includes shoes. I can't think of a better store -- where can you buy bathing suits AND First Communion Dresses at the same time??!!! www.childrensplace.com
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What are some creative ways that a bride can involve children in her wedding day?

Laura Rossi

My twins were participants in our nanny's wedding. She is a member of our extended family and chose our daughter to be her flower-girl and our son the ringer-bearer. The twins did all the traditional tasks but there were a few really original ways the bride involved our children, too. It was a special day that we will never forget: 1. Our daughter J was the bride's partner in everything at her bridal shower. My daughter helped open the gifts and was like a little bride. By the time the wedding day arrived, my daughter knew the bridal party and felt like a big girl and part of everything and was ready to walk down the aisle with rose petals. 2. On the wedding day, our son (who loves vehicles) had a special ride in the limo and as ring bearer, got to hang with all the big "boys" and he, too, felt incredible comfortable and happy to be part of the celebration. 3. The Bride danced a special dance each with my children - one dance with my daughter and once dance with my son. I could not hold back the tears! 4. The Groom gave my children the chance to select some songs they liked to be played during the wedding for dancing and fun. 5. Our two members of the wedding party were given cameras and they took pictures and floated around the room like a mini bride and groom. 6. My twins rec'd matching gifts that connected them to the Bride and Groom. 7. The Bride did a great job of having kids food, dessert, drinks and goodies that my children and others would like to eat. Finally, our table was near the wedding party and the twins felt special being so close to the Bride and Groom. # # #
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What's your family's favorite board game, and why? (Please mention the best ages for the game)

Laura Rossi

We still love Candy Land. It's a classic we all enjoy and my boy-girl twins are 9! We also enjoy War (the card game) which I have LOVED since I was a little girl. Happy Gaming!
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How did you know you were ready for another baby?

Laura Rossi

As a Mother of Twins, I didn't need to make this decision. 2 for the price of one! Doubly blessed with my boy and girl.
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What are your tips for organizing a child's closet so that you can stay ahead of growth spurts and seasonal changes?

Laura Rossi

Here is how I manage two different closets for my Boy-Girl Twins. I've been doing this for 9 years and it's fail-proof : 1. I only have in-season clothing in each closet. 2. I organize the closets by clothing -- pants with pants, shirts with shirts, etc. 3. I always buy transitional clothing, layering pieces, and coats in a slightly bigger size so we are always ready for growth spurts and also can get more wears out of each piece. 4. When I change clothing out (winter to summer for example), I do an inventory of what we will need and make a note of it for future shopping. 5. For undergarments, I buy the current size I need and the next size up -- I can't have my babies wearing tight undies! 6. Finally, we fill in with hand-me-downs whenever we can from our big and generous family. Happy Dressing!
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Can you recommend a great summer snack to feed kids on break or to pack for days at camp? (Please include a link to the recipe.)

Laura Rossi

I LOVE all the creative and delicious sounding recipes here. Wow! I'm sticking to my original submission idea and so I hope you won't find my idea silly -- here goes: one of our go-to snacks for camp (or traveling) is dry cereal in a zip lock bag. It does not need refrigeration, it won't melt, it's cheap, and best of all it's healthy if you chose whole grain and non-sugary cereals for your children. Since my children started finger food, we've kept this in rotation. The recipe is simple: open a box of cereal, pour in a zip lock bag, pack! If your child has sensory needs or special needs the bonus is crunchy cereal provides sensory input. Happy Snacking!
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What's on your bucket list of things to do with your kids this summer?

Laura Rossi

As a child and teen, I always created my SUMMER TO DO LIST. The list was usually long and mostly impossible to complete but it was fun trying. As a parent, I'm just as ambitious about summer. My Summer 2012 bucket list with our boy-girl twins, age 9, includes: 1. Learning How To Fish 2. Learning (Some Basic) Italian 3. Playing One Board Game a Week 4. Reading, Reading, Reading 5. Writing (Some) Blog Posts Together 6. Cooking One New Recipe Every Week 7. Running Through The Sprinkler in Our Yard Here's to Sun, Sprinklers, and Summer Fun!
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What's a great finger food that your kids love? Please include a link.

Laura Rossi

Sliced Banana with crunchy peanut butter is tied with good ol' fashioned popcorn! Http://www.mysocalledsensorylife.com
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What's the funniest thing your child has ever said?

Laura Rossi

The funniest thing my twins have ever said (and they still say it all the time) is, "Mom, you talk TOO much!" -- it's funny because they are 100% right! I'm a talker -- as a Mom, for my work, and in life. I love to chat.
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What's a great school lunch box meal your kids love? Include a link to a photo if you have one!

Laura Rossi

My twins LOVE my cold pasta salad -- hands down it is their favorite lunch box meal. The salad can be made in advance and since it's a cold salad, it travels well in a thermos. It's fun to eat for all kids -- K and up. Best of all: it is a complete meal (carbs, veggies, protein). Pack some fruit and a drink and your little ones will have healthy fuel to get them through the school day with flying colors. (Note: I usually make a big batch and serve it to the twins a few times in the same week.) Mangia!
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What's your best household management tip for organizing the family's school year schedules? Include a link to a photo if you have one!

Laura Rossi

I have 9 year old girl-boy twins. The two are VERY different and have different activites and schedules. They are entering 4th grade and like I've done every year since kindergarten, I make a universal color-coded kid schedule that we tack up to our refrigerator. It's very simple (and not fancy) but it works like magic. Here's how: 1. Using Word on my computer, I select the Table icon and make a chart with columns 2. I color code (our daughter is pink, our son is blue, combination activities are green). 3. As soon as school sends home schedules, we huddle around my lap top and add everything: specials (like PE and ART and library - don't forget those books!), after school activities and clubs, sports (karate, ballet), and any other appointments. 4. Once our masterpiece is finished, it goes up on the fridge and everyone also gets a copy. During the first few weeks of school I make sure to have each of the twins review the schedule and eventually they memorize their days (along with Mom). 5. For special items that come in during the year, we use a wipe board/bulletin board and tack those sheets where we can see them. We rarely miss anything with our time-tested method. Happy Scheduling!
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What makes a great family holiday card? Please share a link to a helpful image or resource.

Laura Rossi

The very best holiday cards capture a pure, candid moment of love -- between siblings and/or entire families. Over the years, I've learned that the season does not matter (winter, spring, summer, fall) it's that special look that shares your family's unique personality and love for others that makes the best holiday card. Happy Holidays and Don't Forget To Smile for the Camera!
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What's your child's favorite thing to do in the snow? Please include a link to a picture if you have one.

Laura Rossi

My daughter's favorite snow activity is making Snow Angels. She's always LOVED this tradition (who doesn't?) and most of the time the whole family ends up laying down in the snow flapping arms and legs to make the very best Snow Angel Family. Fa la la!
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What are the most important things to do while on maternity leave before going back to work?

Laura Rossi

REST! SPEND TIME WITH YOUR NEW BABY! Enjoy every second, be present, be in the moment. Freeze dinners, organize your home, have playdates, lunch dates and FUN.
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Does your family have a special St. Patrick's Day tradition? Please also include a link to a photo, if you have one.

Laura Rossi

I'm Italian but my husband is part-Irish and our twins LOVE being able to celebrate St. Patrick's Day by wearing green head-to-toe. For this Italian Mama, it's fun to celebrate St. Patrick's Day for the first time!
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If you were giving a commencement speech, what's one piece of advice you'd give to young women who want to include motherhood in their futures?

Laura Rossi

The best piece of advice I can give is this: Plan for motherhood the way you plan for your career. Don't be afraid to seek success professionally AND personally. Women today (and in the past) are encouraged to focus on career only and then it is too late to start a family. You CAN have it all ladies!
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Can you suggest a fun summer activity like berry picking that helps kids learn where food comes from? Please link to a picture we can use if you have one.

Laura Rossi

The very best way we teach our twins about food and where it comes from is a true gift: we are part of a local farm community (run by a family member!) and we visit the farm weekly to pick vegetables, fruits, and learn about what is growing now and why. It's inspiring and beautiful because my children try new, just-picked veggies every week ranging from kale to radishes to bok choy. It's like going back in time -- visiting the farm, gathering our food, cooking it that night and week. It's a weekly gift we are delighted to have in our family every summer (and this winter we are joining the winter share for year round produce). Eventually, our twins will work on this farm, too. Good food, community, giving back, and supporting local farmers -- life lessons that I know our twins will pass along. NOTE: most communities have local farm shares and they are easy to fine online and to join. I suggest everyone look into this. And we are also growing our own veggies this year, too.
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