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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Chicago Diner - Logan Square

Tonight we had dinner at the Chicago Diner, Logan Square location.  I ate at the Lakeview location years ago, completely by accident - by accident meaning that my friend and I and her little boy were looking for a place to have lunch and didn't realize it was a vegan restaurant.  At that time, we decided to stay and were not disappointed, her toddler son included.

We had a party of nine and the center portion of the restaurant is set up with small tables with long benches on either side, so the tables can easily be pushed together to accommodate a larger party.

We went to the restaurant tonight to celebrate the birthday of my youngest brother, who is vegan.  My husband and sons are both major carnivores.  My sons being autistic, are usually resistant to trying any new flavors or textures.  The way the food is prepared at Chicago Diner, you will not miss the meat.  

We had seitan buffalo wings as an appetizer - perfect seasoning and meaty texture, as well as guacamole and salsa with chips.  My kids both devoured their orders of sweet potato fries.

For our entrees, I had the spicy Thai basil stir fry - fantastic and a huge portion - love when there is enough left over for my lunch the following day.  My husband had the taco salad and liked it.  My kids shared a big veggie burger, loved it, and my brother had a seitan Reuben - excellent.  My Dad ordered the black bean soup, which was way too spicy for him - the waiter was so nice, he brought a sample portion of the chili to see if that would work for my Dad and it did, so a big bowl of chili was brought out to replace the soup.  Excellent service!  

My brother and sister-in-law got a chocolate mint chip shake to go and said it was delicious.

I'm not a big meat eater, but I do eat meat and I'm a big fan of dairy.   That said, I love Chicago Diner - the food is prepared so well, you truly will not miss the meat or dairy.

As many autism parents, I worry about bringing my boys out - especially in the city - sometimes the crowds can be too much.  This outing, we went to the restaurant at 4:00 in the afternoon - right at the beginning of the dinner shift.  The place was just starting to get crazy loud and busy as we were finishing.  My boys did great!  

Friday, December 19, 2014

For those with nowhere to go on Christmas

Such a lovely thing they offer for the lonely
Benny's in Crestwood - free Christmas dinner - - 5423 W. 135th St. in Crestwood - 708-293-1010; There will be a full Christmas meal to anyone on Christmas day - RSVP to the above number - God bless you all at Benny's! :)♥

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Gift Ideas for Children with Autism

Sent by our school social worker:

Holiday Resource:
Gift Suggestions for Individuals with Autism
Sensory Toys
· Play-Doh / theraputty
· Kinetic Sand
· Trampoline
· Therapy Balls
· Slime/noise putty
· Bubbles ~ wands, machines, etc…
· Bicycle/ Tricycle/Scooter
· Swing
· Large beanbag/ animal pillow
· Rocking chairs
· Tunnels / tents
· Vibration toys
· Light-up toys
· Weights
· Moon shoes/boots
· Body Sock
· Fidget Toys/ Stress Balls
· Candyland Castle
· Operation
· Connect Four
· Let’s Go Fishing
· Hot Potato
· Jenga
· Mr. Potato Head
· Whack a Mole
· Sonny The Seal
· Gouie Louie
· Zingo Bingo
· Funtime Fishing
· Elefun
· Crocodile Dentist
· Don’t Spill the Beans
· Don’t Break the Ice
· Memory
· Pop Up Pirate
· Pop the Pig
· Crazy Chicken
· Hungry Hungry Hippos
· Perfection
· Trouble
· Marble Ramps/Race
· Kerplunk
 Additional Gifts
· Puzzles (sound /talking ones are great)
· Shape Sorters
· Sing-A-Long DVD’s
· Musical instruments
· Legos/ Mega Bloks
· Books with sound pads
· MP3Player/ IPOD
· Dry Erase Board/ Markers
· Weighted Blanket
· Weighted Vest
· Play Parachute
· Aromatherapy lotions/scents
· Imaginative Play Toys
Websites that offer additional ideas:
· Natural Learning Concepts ~  
· National Autism Resources ~
· Fat Brain Toys-   

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Great holiday tips from our school social worker

Emailed from our school social worker this morning - great advice!

Holiday Tips for Families with Children on the Autism Spectrum
The holiday period can be a stressful time for those on the autism spectrum because it is a breach in their daily routine. However, if we anticipate the holidays and what they entail before they arrive, the person with autism can be made more comfortable and at ease—ensuring joy for all throughout the holidays!
These tips can be easily adapted by a parent, a friend, a sibling or any family member. Try them out with your loved one on the spectrum. A few tips can really pay off big.
“Everyone in the car!” Starting Off on Successful Outings
· To help day trips run more smoothly, travel in two cars so that one person can return home
            with your loved one on the autism spectrum if he/she gets distressed.
· Eat before leaving home or bring food with you.
· Bring a quiet toy to the mall,  a restaurant, during religious services or other social
“We are going to Grandma’s!” Tips for Social Gatherings
· When going to large social gatherings, arrive early to let the person on the autism spectrum get
            accustomed to the growing number of people.
· If he/she becomes distressed during a social gathering, pick a quiet place to go or take him out
            For a walk.
· When visiting someone’s home, ask to remove breakables from reach; think carefully about
            visiting those who refuse to accommodate your request.
· Bring a preferred item, favorite toys or stuffed animals to a family gathering or other social
· Before going to a family event, look at individual pictures of family members and teach him/
            her their names.
· Before going to a social event, use “social stories” and practice simple courtesy phrases and
            responses to questions, either verbal, with pictures, or gestures. (“How are you?”
            “I am fine.” “How is school?” “Good.”)
· Let trusted others spend time with your child if they volunteer.
· Ask for help if you need it.  Families and friends are often eager to participate.
“Do we have to go to the mall???” Shopping Without Stress
· To help your loved one with autism get used to malls, go early before the stores open. walk
            around, get familiar with the building, buy a snack when the stores open, and leave. Extend
            the amount of time at the mall each time you go.
· When shopping, be positive and give small rewards, such as a piece of candy, for staying with
· To teach your child not to touch things when shopping, visit a clothing store or another store
            with unbreakable objects; this gives him/her an opportunity to model behavior and
            minimize risk.
· When shopping, bring a helper to have an extra set of eyes and hands until you are confident of a safe experience.
· Provide headphones or earplugs to the person with autism spectrum to moderate the noise and
            activity around them.
Going to Worship Services
· Talk with the worship leader about what he/she might expect and how the congregation might support the family.
· Arrange for a friend or neighbor to come with you to stay with siblings should the person
            with autism spectrum need to leave during the worship service.
· Bring a quiet object of concentration, such as a rubber band, pictures, books, or an object of
            visual focus, can be very helpful, particularly if it has religious significance to enhance
            the worship experience.
· Have the child or adult on the spectrum help out. Depending on their ability, they can:
            * Greet people with a smile, and hand out service bulletins.
            * Gather up the bulletins and papers left in the pews after the service, restoring order to
                        the sanctuary.
            * Assist in holiday volunteer activities of the congregation, such as the delivery of cards,
                        toys or food.
Above all...
Be Consistent. Remember to apply the techniques used to involve the person with autism in daily activities to these special activities.
Discuss your expectations. Unwelcome surprises are never fun for anyone.
Be prepared and stand firm. Accept well-meaning but unwanted advice with the phrase, “I’ll have to think about that,” and smile.
Be safe and have fun!
Enjoy the holiday season!