Maria Writes Stuff

Womanhood. Motherhood. Autism Awareness. Book Reviews

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Book Review: Beauty and the Beast

Title: Beauty and the Beast

Author: Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villenueve

Genre: Fairytale

Publisher: Harper Design

Publication date: Illistrated Edition, January 2017

Page #: Hardcover, 208 Pages

Link to Purchase:  Amazon Barnes and Noble

I have been a fan of the animated (and now live action) film, so I wanted to read the book too. I can honestly say that this story did not disappoint! The story is beautifully told, and is a great read for anyone who’s a fan of the films. There are similarities to the films, but with some added surprises. The author writes a page turning fairytale with fun details that give enertaining mental immagery. to a version of a tale loved and known the world over. The book design is beautiful and the interactive elements are really charming and fun. If you’re a fan of fairytales…I highly recommend this book!

Star rating: 4 out of 5.

A Stack of Books

These are the books I recieved as Christmas gifts or had bought (I only bought two) just before Christmas. I will list titles and Amazon links below. I’m not sure which one to read next, as I’ve already finished (and loved) Beauty and the Beast. Any recommendations?

From top to Bottom:

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass

– By Lewis Caroll

The Haunting of Hill House

-By Shirley Jackson

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall 

-By Anne Bronte

Leonardo da Vinci

-By Anne Abraham

The Wizard of Oz

-By Frank Baum


-By Gregory Maguire

Beauty and the Beast

-By Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villenueve

First Day of Homeschool 2018!!

Our first day of homeschooling!

September 4,  2018!

Jack at the library building towers.

Jack’s book picks.

Jack and Marji on the first day of homeschooling!

Addy all worn out on the first day of school.

Putting on a puppet show at the library.

Photos from our first snow! Dec 11, 2017

ABA therapy helped Ben find his voice.

Ben started going to ABA Therapy in early May of this year. I never expected so much progress in such a short amount of time. Ben has started to say words and use partial word sounds to indicate words.

I walked into therapy a little early a few weeks ago to use the restroom. As I came out of the restroom, I saw Ben and this therapist in the waiting area of the lobby. Ben said, “Hi, mama!” My 7 year old son said hi to ME, after about a year of not hearing him talk at all. I cried half of the way home. I STILL can’t believe he’s saying, “Mama!” I ask him to  say, “Mama!” all the time. One of these days I’m betting he’ll roll his eyes, say it and smile at me. But for now, every word he says will bring a smile to my face and tears to my eyes.

I can’t tell you what a challenge it is to raise a child who’s nonverbal. Imagine deciding it’s time for your toddler to be potty trained, but their voice is on mute…So, you don’t get to know when they need to go, when they don’t, if they’re frustrated, happy or bored with the idea of potty training. Potty training was HARD, but we got through it and Ben has no issues now. I think the same thing will be the case for his verbal skills, it’ll eventually be second nature to us all.

ABA Therapy is an incredible asset to our family, it’s changed our lives. It’s changed Ben’s life too, and I think he’s a happier kid because of it. I am proud to say that he’s now going to therapy 30 hours a week, instead of the 15 like before. We have talked to his therapist and changed some goals, and added new ones. He’s taking everything with a really great attitude, and keeps making progress.

July 25,207 – A note came home that said, “Ben repeated me today. He said, “What do you want to do.” That’s SIX words, people! Six in a row…a complete sentence.

July 26, 2017 – Ben’s therapist’s note said: “Ben echoed “Daddy!” – It was also my husband’s 30th birthday. <3

A few other things…

He’s naming objects, like “bed, and “chair”. He’s also asking for breaks from work, which is really improving his mood.


ABA Therapy has helped Ben find his voice, and left me in tears. Happy tears. My son is FINALLY talking!

Ben’s ABA Therapy – Day 6


  • Asking for items
  • Fine Motor Immitation
    • Lace String
    • Buckle Belt
  • Sorting objects by similar shape
  • Responding to name with eye contact

Tutor’s Comments:
” We were able to work a lot today! Ben did really well with sorting items by shape. He scored a 74% overall…”

Ben’s ABA Therapy Report – Day 2.

The goals for today were the same as yesterday, although they added “transitioning to different rooms in the building”. 🙂

Tutor’s comments:

“We had another great day! We worked on asking for items the majority of the time. We are using “moo” for movie, and he is doing better with it. He asked for movie 14 times independently! We also worked on visual tracking and he scored 73% and 80% on that. Around 5:30 we came back from a break and he got upset, it lasted about 20 minutes. We worked through it and got back on track. :)”

Ben’s ABA Therapy Report: Day 1


What they’re working on:

  • Asking for items vocally
  • Responding to name/eye contact
  • Echoing tutor’s vocal sounds
  • Visually tracking items


“Ben did really well today! We worked on asking for items vocally.  We are having him say “Pah” for iPad and he asked for it 9 times independently! We also worked on responding to his name by making eye contact. He resounded to his name 10 times independently! We worked on visually tracking items in his environment. We found that he is tracking items when they are moved to the right and upwards really well! Overall, a great first day! :)”

Goals for 2017

  1. Read more. – I really enjoy reading. I read a lot of non-fiction, and strive to learn more too, so reading is a must. 🙂
  2. Get Ben settled into therapy. – I’ve sort of got the fall rolling on this one…I’m waiting for pre-approval from insurance before he can start therapy.
  3. Pay down medical debt. – We’ll see how this goes…as they tell me that it takes nearly 2 weeks to consolidate all of my bills from my surgery in May of last year.
  4. Don’t cry when Marjorri starts Kindergarten. – Yeah…tears will flow, I just know they will. I’ve already failed ath this one. lol
  5. Ride my bike more. – I was given a new children’s bike trailer for Christmas. I can’t wait to use it. In the spring and summer, bike riding might just have to become a part of everyday.
  6. Enjoy vacation. – We’re taking an anniversary trip this year!!

What are your goals for 2017?

Things Ben Likes: Autism and Gift Giving 2016/2017

Ben is our wonderful seven year old boy with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Ben is active, curious, and full of energy. He is also nonverbal. We aren’t able to just ask him what he wants for his Christmas, or even his birthday. Here is a list of things that he received for Christmas/his birthday (they’re a day apart). and seems to really enjoy:

This post contains links to products on Amazon.

1Kid’s Pod Swing Chair.

Ben really loves it! It swings, and swivels! It also doubles as a place for him to have time to himself (it kind of cocoons around him when he sits in it.).

2. Aurora Projection Night Light

I really love this! It casts a Northern Lights type of effect on the walls/ceiling. According to the packaging you can also have the lights put to music too (We haven’t tried this yet). I also love that this light projector is powered by electricity and not batteries!

3. Fat Brain Toys – Teeter Popper

The Teeter Popper is similar to the Spooner Board  It rocks and has suction cups on the bottom, so when you teeter and totter, it pops! All of our children enjoy this toy and have a good time sitting back to back and popping away! 🙂

4. Magformers 

This is a fun building toy! They’re magnetic and stick together! I really like that the magnets are placed under the plastic of each piece. Check this out for hours of fun!

5. Neo Tracks Light Up Vehicles and Neo Track

Ben received this has a birthday gift and really loved it. I think he played with it more than anything else! We set up the track and put batteries in the car, it was super easy and simple! Ben has even done it himself! 🙂 The car goes around the track and has lights that go on as the car travels around the track.

Pictures coming soon!



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