A place for posts about our family, our challenges, successes, and everything we do and enjoy. We hope to connect with others who face the same challenges we do and want people to see that they're not alone, that everyone doesn't live perfectly, and that we are all perfectly imperfect.

  • Family,  Tactile Defensiveness

    Our Family’s Two Completely Different Types of Picky Eaters

    The other day, I was talking to my youngest daughter about her picky eating. She commented about how she is a picky eater, but her brother is a picky eater, and he has an excuse. Then she said she was so sorry about being a picky eater. After some thought, I realized my family has two types of picky eaters.

    Our Picky Eater #1 – My Son

    Our family’s number one picky eater is my son. He has tactile defensiveness. (Read more about his challenges with tactile defensiveness). If you’ve been following this blog, you’ve heard about it, but for a quick overview, my son doesn’t like how things feel on his skin. This also includes how food feels in his mouth. Because he has tactile defensiveness in his mouth, he has difficulty eating certain foods.

    Finding something for him to eat at mealtime is challenging and a daily struggle. He won’t eat anything slimy or gooey, such as soup or pasta with any sauce. What usually ends up happening is he will find something he likes to eat, and then he eats that until he doesn’t like it anymore, and then the process starts all over. This makes it hard for me to make dinner for him. He will usually try something new if it doesn’t look too gooey. A lot of the time, I typically have to find something else for him to eat other than what we are having for dinner.

    I know there are a lot of you out there who are probably saying make him eat what you cook. With him, it just isn’t that simple. I try to make food for dinner that he will eat, but sometimes, I like to make what I want to eat. I make him try it, and sometimes he will, but he often doesn’t like how it feels in his mouth. So, with him, I try to do the best I can.

    Our Picky Eater #2 – My Youngest Daughter

    Our family’s number two picky eater is my youngest daughter. She doesn’t like anything. Listen, I mean anything when I say she doesn’t like anything. I try to make a variety of food for her, but she won’t eat anything. She is the most stubborn person I have ever met! Her essential meal is pasta but without sauce. It’s just plain old pasta, sometimes with melted butter. There are very few other things that she will eat.

    It is hard to explain why she has to eat something when her brother doesn’t. She has grown up watching her brother being a picky eater, so she comes by it honestly and thinks she doesn’t have to eat something if he doesn’t. She is still young and doesn’t fully understand her brother’s condition. We have tried explaining it to her, but it is hard for her to comprehend. Now that she is getting older, she is starting to understand, but that hasn’t made up for the years of her picky eating.

    I believe most of her picky eating comes from being afraid. She’s often afraid to try something new and thinks she will not like it, so she doesn’t try it.

    How Do I Handle My Family’s Picky Eaters?

    Now that you understand more about what kind of picky eaters I have, you are probably wondering how I handle it. Honestly, there is no magical way to handle it. The best thing I do to help them with their picky eating is encouragement. I try to encourage them to try new foods. It doesn’t always work, but when it does, it feels like such a milestone for me and for them.

    Is there some magical way to get your picky eater to eat? I am going to say no. I think each child is different. What works with my son doesn’t work with my daughter. I would do the best you can with your child. They can be stubborn, that is for sure. I must remind myself to keep going constantly; you are doing great!

    I would love to hear from anyone with a picky eater and how they deal with it. I often feel at my wits’ end. Please comment and share your knowledge so we can all help each other.

  • Family,  Tactile Defensiveness

    3 Fun Therapy Activities for Kids With Tactile Defensiveness

    Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you decide to make a purchase via these links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclaimers for more information.

    When my son was first diagnosed with tactile defensiveness, we had to do a lot of occupational therapy with him. We took him to an occupational therapist but also had some in-home occupational therapy. I learned a lot from these therapy sessions. I want to share three activities that my son liked the most.

    #1 – Sensory Bins

    Kids playing in a sensory bin filled with rice and small toys as part of an occupational therapy activity for tactile defensiveness.

    Sensory bins are a great therapy activity to do with kids who have tactile defensiveness. To create a sensory bin first take a couple bags of rice and dump it into a medium size container. We always used a container that had a lid, so we could just store it for later. Spread a blanket out on your floor and put the container in the middle of the blanket. Gather a some small toys that your child enjoys playing with and hide them in the rice. Have your child dig through the rice and find their toys. This makes a mess, so you have a blanket to catch spilled rice under the container.

    Don’t push your child too much to start digging in the rice. Let them go at their own pace. It helps them if you play along in the rice with them and show them how to find their toys. Eventually, they will do this on their own. My son used his little pointer finger to dig in the rice the first time he did this. He did not like the feel of the rice on his hands at all. After several times doing this activity, he finally would dig through the rice with both of his hands. I would also give him spoons and cups, and he would scoop up the rice and put it in the cup. Once he was comfortable playing in the rice, I would have him put his bare feet in it. Once again, he did not like this initially but eventually got used to it. After a while, you can get the container out, and your child should be able to play in it independently.

    You can also put dried beans or uncooked noodles in the sensory bin. I had three separate sensory beans with rice, beans, and noodles. When I wanted my son to do therapy, I would get one of the containers out. This would keep him occupied for at least an hour. also offers some sensory bins available for sale, if you don’t want to make one yourself. Here’s a couple of quick and easy options!

    #2 – Shaving Cream Play

    Kids playing with shaving cream as part of an occupational therapy activity for tactile defensiveness.

    Shaving cream play is another great therapy activity to do with kids who have tactile defensiveness. This activity is very messy, so I would recommend doing it on a table. Take a cookie sheet and spray shaving cream onto it. You can start with just a little at first, or you can do a lot. Put toy cars or other small toys in the shaving cream. I liked to drive the cars through the shaving cream with my son. Show your child how fun it is to play in the shaving cream. The hope is that your child will start playing with you.

    Shaving cream play was more difficult than the sensory bins for my son. He started out moving his car around with one finger. If he got too much shaving cream on his finger, he would need to wipe it off. Over time, he eventually put his hand in the shaving cream.

    Another thing that you can use in place of the shaving cream is pudding. If you can get them to put the pudding in their mouth, that is huge. My son would never do this, but maybe your child will.

    #3 – Water Table Play

    Kids playing with a water table as part of an occupational therapy activity for tactile defensiveness.

    If you can, I would invest in a water table. It doesn’t have to be a big one, a small one will do. Our son loved this therapy activity because it allowed him to really use his imagination, and he loved playing in the water. We started with just water in the water table with a couple of fun toys. After our son was comfortable with just the water and toys we started adding additional things to the water. A few ideas of things we added were bubbles, water beads, and artificial snow. You can use anything you can think of as long as you can clean it out of the table. Plus, water table play is a great activity in the summer months when the kids can be outside.

    Water table play was my son’s favorite of all of the therapy activities we did. He would spend hours outside playing with the water table.

    These therapy activities are great for any child but especially great for kids with tactile defensiveness. I hope that these activities help you as much as they helped my son and me. Do you have any activities that you do to help your child with tactile defensiveness? I would love to hear all of your ideas! Remember, you don’t have to be perfect when helping your child. You just need to do your best!

  • Family,  Holidays

    How We Celebrate Valentine’s Day

    When my husband and I first married, we would go to dinner to celebrate Valentine’s Day like everyone else. Valentine’s Day seems to have only gotten more chaotic as we’ve grown older, and we have changed how our family celebrates this day.

    I remember a Valentine’s Day when we used to go out to eat on Valentine’s Day. That year, we made a reservation at a restaurant that we loved, and when we got there, even though we had a reservation, the wait time for us to get in was an hour and a half.

    We decided to go to a different restaurant to see if we could get in any faster. We discovered the restaurant’s wait time was just as long when we arrived. Eventually, we returned to the first restaurant and endured the hour-and-a-half wait. Let’s say that experience was not very fun for either of us. Ever since that Valentine’s Day, we have done things differently in our family.

    These days, if my husband and I decide to go out on a date for Valentine’s Day, which we usually do, we will go out the week before Valentine’s Day so we don’t have to deal with crowds. Instead, we have the most fun involving our children in our celebration on Valentine’s Day.

    We celebrate Valentine’s Day by having a very fancy family dinner. It is one of the only fancy dinners we have the whole year. On Valentine’s Day, my husband will get the girls a single rose and a treat for my son. We set the table in the evening and pull out all the stops. Usually, the girls are in charge of doing this. We have a unique tablecloth we use. We use special plates and have fancy glasses. There are flowers for centerpieces, and we light candles. The girls will make nametags for the place setting. They have so much fun setting the table and making it look like a fancy restaurant.

    We make soup with pasta, a salad, and breadsticks. We also have sparkling cider as our drink. After dinner, we have a nice dessert. We have a good time sitting around our fancy table. The children seem more involved in the conversations and have better manners because they feel different.

    This is a simple tradition, yet it is one of my favorites. I love that it gets the entire family involved. The kids also remember doing it year after year. It teaches the kids that Valentine’s Day isn’t just a holiday of loving your significant other, but it can be about how we love each other as a family. The biggest bonus of all is that the introvert in me gets to stay home and avoid all those crowded restaurants!! Which is a win in my book!

    How do celebrate Valentine’s Day? Do you have any fun traditions that you have as a family? I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment!

  • Family,  Holidays

    Things Our Kids Love Doing in St. George, Utah

    One of our frequent vacation destinations is St. George, Utah. We took the kids there for spring break this past year. The weather was amazing. We were only there for four days, so we didn’t get to everything you could or would want to do. We could only do a few things, a few of which I wanted to share. Our kids love doing these things whenever we visit St. George, Utah.

    Thunder Junction All Abilities Park

    We don’t go to St. George very often, but when we do, this park is the number one place the kids always request to go to. It is an all-abilities park themed around dinosaurs. Our daughter is really into dinosaurs right now, so she loved all the dinosaurs at the park.

    There are so many things to do at this park to entertain the little tikes and the little older kids. There are three major areas at this park. There are different playgrounds. They have a little section for toddlers and a section for the bigger kids. There are a few zip lines and some fun swings.

    There is a splash pad. It has a waterfall and a little stream the kids can play in. The kids love to play in it. We don’t usually take swimsuits for this. The kids go back and forth between the splash pad and the playground, so we don’t worry about swimsuits. To warn you, the water is very cold at the splash pad.

    My kid’s favorite part of the park is riding the train. It costs a dollar per person to ride, but I feel it is not too expensive. The kids love riding the train. It goes around the entire park. It takes you through rocks and a dinosaur bone tunnel.

    I would plan on spending a couple of hours at this park. Also, make sure that you put on sunscreen.

    Pioneer Park

    We took our kids to Pioneer Park while in St. Geroge. This is where the famous Dixie Rock is located. You can spend hours climbing on all the rocks and exploring different places to climb. There is even a little slot canyon called Little Narrows, after The Narrows in Zion’s National Park, that you can climb up.

    You can climb to the top of Dixie Rock. You have to climb up tiny makeshift stairs on the side of a rock to get to it, but it isn’t too bad. Our six-year-old was able to make it up and down. Pioneer Park is also connected to the Red Hills Desert Gardens. This is a fun place for the kids to explore and learn about all the plants that grow in the area. There is a parking lot for the gardens, or you can walk over from Pioneer Park. Once again, make sure that you wear sunscreen. You also want to make sure you take plenty of water.

    Zion National Park

    One of the days that we were in St. George, we decided to go to Zion National Park. It is about an hour’s drive, but it was worth it. We had to go online the night before and get shuttle reservations to travel within the park. Those were a dollar per person. They go very quickly, so you must ensure you get on and get your ticket right when it says. They sold out in about 4 minutes. If you don’t get a ticket, you can wait in line and get on a shuttle after 2:00. At least these were the rules, as far as I knew, because of COVID-19.

    We only did two hikes before we ran out of time. The first hike we took was the Riverside Walk. This one was very easy for our 6-year-old. Many people were on this hike, so we felt a little rushed on it. Once we got to the top, we could sit and rest. Walking back was a little bit slower. There weren’t as many people going back down. The second hike we went on was to the Lower Emerald Pool. This one, as well, was pretty easy for our 6-year-old. The kids enjoyed trying not to get wet from the waterfall that fell into the pool. You can hike to the Upper Emerald Pool, but at this point, the kids were too tired and wanted to head back.

    We also enjoyed getting ice cream at the lodge in between our hikes. We just sat on the lawn and enjoyed the beautiful view while we ate it. Another fun thing we did before entering the park was driving through the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel. It is 1.1 miles long. The kids thought this was cool. Just a side note: you do have to wait in line to go through the tunnel. Only one lane of traffic is allowed at one time.

    I know more hikes are kid-friendly. We just ran out of time. You want to ensure you have enough water and snacks in the park. Always wear sunscreen.


    There are so many fun places to eat in St. George. I am only going to share two that we enjoyed. Our family enjoys Mexican food, so we must find a Mexican restaurant whenever we travel. The other type of restaurant we must find on vacation is Vietnamese. We love Pho. If you don’t know what that is, it is a Vietnamese bone broth rice noodle soup with thinly sliced meat, usually beef. Surprisingly, with my kids, it is the one meal that I never hear any complaints about!

    Angelica’s Mexican Grill

    This is a restaurant I enjoyed that I still am thinking about weeks and months later. It was that good! My husband and I ordered the street tacos, which were the best I have ever had. I only ordered one, and I wish I would have ordered more. You stand in line and order your taco or burrito, and then you go over to the salsa bar and get whatever toppings you want for your item. It was so yummy!!! There were only two downsides. The line to order was long. We probably stood in line for 20-25 minutes before placing our order. I am unsure if it was that busy because it was spring break or because of how they took orders because of COVID-19. I didn’t want to stand in line then, but I am glad we stuck it out. It was worth it. The other downside is that they didn’t have chips and salsa. I love chips and salsa. I could eat chips and salsa every day and never get sick. We picked to do a Mexican restaurant because I was craving chips and salsa. I was a little disappointed that they didn’t have any. It would have made the meal that much better if we could have had some. Even without the chips and salsa, this restaurant is worth going to.

    Ah’sya Vietnamese Restaurant

    We always like to find a place where we can get Pho. If you have never had Pho, it is something that you need to try. We like to get Beef Pho. It is a bone broth soup with rice noodles and thin slices of beef. It will also have onions in it too. When you order Pho, they will bring a plate with bean sprouts, basil, jalapenos, and limes. You add whatever you want to your Pho. You can add some Sriracha hot sauce and Hoisin sauce if you like. We also like to order a side of rice that we can eat with our broth. Our entire family, including our 6-year-old, loves this meal. This restaurant’s Pho is very delicious. The customer service isn’t the greatest, but the food makes up for that. If you want to try something outside the box, this restaurant is for you.

    There are so many fun things to do in St. George that we’ve done before that it would take too long to tell you about all of them. Hopefully, some of these suggestions can help while on your perfectly imperfect vacation. Happy Traveling!

    Let me know if you have any other recommendations on places you and your family love to visit in St. George! I’d love to add them to my list!

  • Family

    How Am I Supposed To Get My Son Ready For College?

    I went to a meeting last night that was a huge eye-opener! My son is a junior in high school. Maybe that can give you a hint. The meeting was about how to pay for college. I was screaming inside the whole time I was at this meeting.

    In my mind, I was like, there is no way I have a child old enough to start looking into going to college. Where do you start? The only nice thing for us is that my son knows exactly what he wants to do. That narrows down the college choices and the applications.

    I came home with two main concerns about starting the college process. First, I feel have nowhere near taught my son enough to be out there on his own. Second, how are we going to pay for this? These kept me up all night long.

    Sending my child out into the real world is such a scary thought. I feel like I still have so much to teach him and such little time. He hasn’t even had his first job yet, and I have to start thinking about college. This can’t be. I know it is impossible to teach your child everything, but they still need to learn to be successful before you send them out there.

    The list of things I want to teach him seems a mile long. On top of that, he is a teenager and doesn’t want to learn anything right now. So how do I teach him without him knowing I am teaching him?! I guess that is the million-dollar question. I want my children to be successful and be a good person in society. I might be more concerned about my son because he is an introvert and ikes to be at home. He doesn’t like to go out and be in the public. That issue is a whole other post. My top priority for the next two years is just teaching him life skills.

    My second concern is paying for college. I haven’t been out of college for that long, but I guess it has been longer than I thought. Back in the day, I thought my college was expensive. Compared to the expense of college now, it was so cheap. When I took financial classes in high school or college, they only discussed saving for retirement. There was never any mention of saving for your children’s college education.

    In this meeting, they talked a lot about scholarships. I know that is a good option, but that was so overwhelming. There are so many options out there that I don’t even know where to begin. Scholarships are great, but there is no guarantee. More likely than not, even if you get a scholarship, you will still have to pay a lot in tuition. The other question is, Do you help pay for your child’s college or make them pay for themselves?

    I am sure you can tell how overwhelmed and stressed I felt after this meeting. So until I can figure it out, I advise you to start teaching life skills as soon as they are age-appropriate and save for college as soon as possible!!!