Autism · Cricut · DIY · life · New England · recipe

Welcome to “Miss Rita To The Rescue!”

 

Hello and welcome! 

My name is Ritamarie Cavicchio.  I’m a blogger, a Cricut Product Expert, a homemaker, a corgi lover and a mom (not necessarily in that order).

Everything on my site is FREE for you to use, although not for commercial use.
I do need to support myself, which I do with selling my wares locally and on Etsy (http://www.etsy.com/shop/MissRitaToTheRescue).
I am also an affiliate for the Cricut brand, which basically means I get a small percentage of your sale on Cricut.com…but only if you use this link–> My Cricut Affiliate Link
As a “thank you” for using my link above, you can also use my code MISSRITA1 on your order of $50 or more and you will receive an additional 10% off and free shipping (some exclusions apply)
I’m here to help, so feel free to reach out!
A little more about me:
I blog about my beloved Cricut machines, FOOD, corgis and, of course, my wonderful 13 year old son–affectionately known as MO online–who is on the Autism Spectrum.
I am a Boston native (Shout out to Somerville!), but I was raised here on the North Shore of Boston.  After a few years away, I was drawn back to Peabody and I own a beautiful old home in the Emerson Park section.  MO and I have always lived with corgis.  Maybe you’ve seen us around town with Ted E. Bear?  He’s super cute!
After many years in the corporate world, I decided to stay home and raise MO.  While raising a child with Autism is tough work, I do also find time to take care of my home and do lots of crafty things.
Back in 2012, I was introduced to these amazing machines called a Cricut.  When I couldn’t find help on how to use it, I decided to create my own helping groups on Facebook.  Today I am the founder of four Facebook Groups called “Cricut Newbies & Pros”.  In 2014, I was invited to join the Cricut Product Expert program and I am very proud to help people to maximize their experience with these awesome machines!

 

I craft a LOT! On January 1, 2019, I began a Cricut Access Challenge, which has become a regular feature on my blog and in my groups.  If you’d like to see all of my projects from my challenge, you can find the index at this link:  Cricut Access Challenge Project Index

 

I also love to cook and craft other things, too.  I am enjoying cooking with a Dutch Oven especially, which includes baking bread and frying!  I’m hopelessly old fashioned and I love to cook all those Italian and New England recipes from your childhood.  If you are interested in my recipes, you can find them all here: Recipe Index

“Go forth and Cricut, my friends!”

Best always,

Miss Rita

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Autism · Cricut · life

Why Kindness *Still* Matters

Let’s face it, it’s been a pretty rough year for a lot of people. The news alone can cause even the most optimistic person reason to lose hope. And, unfortunately, all the online back biting and label throwing has truly interfered with daily life. It’s made me pretty grumpy a few more times than I’d care to admit, which has forced me to think about the true nature of people.

However, recently I’ve had a few experiences that have reassured me that kindness–once very commonplace in workaday life–still exists and, more importantly, still matters to us all.

Yesterday I went to see my old friend and amazing chiropractor, Dr. Scott Kline, from Back on Track Chiropractic. My neck and lower back have been zapping me of energy for a while now and regular visits to his clinic really have been helping me get around much easier.

Dr. Kline’s office is fairly open and you often interact with other patients during your visit. When my son MO and I arrived, we couldn’t help but notice the extra large flatbed truck in the parking lot and said “hello” to the truck owner when we got inside. A few minutes later, Dr. K asked me–sort of out of the blue–if I had ever taught at one of the local schools and I replied that I had been a “para” at the high school a while back, but for a short time.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, the truck driving young man was a former student of mine–with a very good memory–and came over to chat with me. I was SO happy to hear my help with Algebra actually helped him in his daily life and that he had remembered me for the kindness I showed him in the special ed classroom. I was even happier to know that a once somewhat troubled kid had built a wonderful life, complete with a talented and darling fiancé, in spite of some educational setbacks.

It was a true “A HA!” moment for me, helping me to understand that even the smallest actions can have a big impact on someone else.

After the young couple left, Dr. Kline–being the terrific guy he is–took some time to interact with MO, telling him a few jokes and asking him questions. This is his usually modus operandi (M.O.!) so I just listened to the conversation. But then I was nearly floored when Dr. K surprised MO with a wonderful gift of an inversion table!

Now…Dr. K said the gift was because I had been so helpful to Debbie with her new Cricut Maker, but I knew better. Dr. Kline is just a REALLY nice guy! He has a heart of gold and he knows MO struggles a bit without having good male role models around. This unexpected gift was an investment in my son. A “kindness seed” if you will.

Needless to say, MO and I were both tickled PINK at his gift! But beyond that, I truly felt the love of another person reaching out to a young boy–who has had his share of troubles–for no other reason but to sow a seed of kindness that will hopefully grow and bear fruit in the future.

As MO and I sat in the car–inversion table carefully stowed between us–we marveled at the extraordinary gift we had just received. MO exclaimed with great enthusiasm “I am SO HAPPY!”

And the beautiful thing was, I know he was. I really know he was!

And so I see–from a chance encounter with a former student and an unexpected gift from a good doctor–how kindness can and does matter. In spite of all the chaos in the world…in spite of the anger and vitriol coming across from everywhere…kindness can make a huge difference in our lives and the lives of others.

I’ve got a renewed interest in spreading love and care to my little corner of the world, and I hope–after reading this–you might feel the same. Won’t you join me in this important and life changing crusade? Won’t you reaffirm your pledge that “Kindness Matters” in your life and the lives of others?

And, one last note, if you are local to me (North Shore area of Boston) and need a little help with some back, hip, neck or knee pain, please consider making an appointment with my friend, Dr. Scott Kline at Back on Track Chiropractic in Peabody.

While I can’t promise gifts, I can tell you you will receive the most caring treatment around!

Autism · life

Election Day with My Au-some Kid, MO

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Lordy be!  This child of mine is just too precious for words!

From the moment he awakes–often by jumping out of bed–to when he falls asleep, MO is in motion.  And talking.  Moving and talking.  All day, every day.  He’s got only one setting–ON!

Yesterday–being Election Day–MO had no school. He decided to come with me to vote and do errands.

We vote at a church that is located across from my dear Auntie Anna and Uncle Sal’s old house.  The neighborhood has changed a lot and I start to reminisce with MO. “Do they live there now?” he asks, to which I reply no.  He’s not interested.  He laughs and says he “doesn’t need a history lesson”.

When we go inside, nearly everyone knows us from his days in public school, so he delights them by talking about his new school and then turns their attention to the pocket on his too-small shirt. He says he wears the small shirt because it has a pocket and he thinks pockets on shirts are “the wave of the future”!  He also states he prefers his new school, because “lunch is free there–not like in public school–and they serve breakfast, too!”

Finished voting, we set out for the electric company down the street.  Along the way he says he’d like to “visit that place where we got the RECYCLE stickers” (meaning our City Hall) and asks if we “know” the mayor.  I say, yes, we know him.  His name is “Teddy” just like our dog.  He asks me why I don’t run for mayor, because he thinks he would like it if I were mayor.  (Watch out, Ted!)   He likes the idea, because he thinks he would then “know everyone in the city” and wouldn’t that be great!  Plus it would “give me something to do during the day”…because, you know, I simply do not have enough to do!  As he is pitching the mayoral job to me, he exclaims: “Imagine all the paperwork you’d have to do!” as if that were a super big draw for me deciding to run for office.

Arriving at the light plant, he spies a rocky wall and a few trees and asks if he can climb outside instead of going in. I agree. When I am finished, I don’t see him. But he quickly responded from behind a tree when I call him. He says he needs hiking boots (he does) to climb the terrain next time.  He tries to decide when the “next time” will be.  He thinks maybe Saturday, that is if I can get his new boots by then.

Off we go to the post office, where he climbs one of trees there.  We go inside and he finds a pen, which he puts in his trusty shirt pocket, delighted in his “prize”.

He notices how many Snoopy cards they have on display.  I tell him I love the Peanuts and he replies with great animation: “I know! Believe me, I know!”   He then decides to re-enact the scene when Lucy gets kissed by Snoopy and has a good laugh as he exclaims: “Get the iodine! Get the disinfectant!”

When it’s our turn, I ask for bird stamps and he inquires if they are sticky backed. He says they must be sticky backed because “he doesn’t want them to fly away”.  He waits for the postmistress to get his little joke, but she is all business today.  Oh, well.

Leaving the post office, he climbs the tree again and points out another one he thinks he could climb.  He thinks he could break off one of the limbs if he “weighed 200 pounds or so” and then we get back in the car and head for the mall.  Along the way, he asks if we can have sushi and perhaps look for a new jacket, because it’s getting cold out.  He is, after all, wearing his beloved but too small short-sleeved shirt!

At Old Navy, he picks out a vest and tries to convince me he can wear a small.  We settle for a large one in camouflage green with fluorescent orange trim.  Seconds later he found a buffalo check hunting hat–complete with faux fur ear flaps–and refuses to take it off.  I guess we are adding it to the list.  We also find red slipper socks and women’s pajama bottoms with Christmas sweater wearing dogs all over them.  One is a corgi, so we HAD to get them.  He casually says I can hem them.  At the check out he also gets a pack of Pop Rocks–red–he prefers blue. Could I try to find him blue ones tomorrow?

At the sushi restaurant, he waits very impatiently for his order.  Apparently it isn’t a good thing that they make his food “to order”, because it is taking way too long to be prepared.  He gobbles the four pieces of ebi nigiri (🍣 sticky rice with a butterflied cooked shrimp on top) and wants more.  I ask him how much more and he asks for eight more.  Eight more pieces?  So, four orders?  “No” I say “that’s too much” so he settles for 2 more orders, which is 4 pieces.  He wonders why the sushi chef gives him the pickled ginger (Ick!) and carefully removes the ball of wasabi paste and places it on my plate.

After gobbling down EIGHT pieces of ebi nigiri 🍣  he says he is full and we are headed home.  On the ride home, he decides he wants more sushi. “Can we go again? Maybe not tonight, but soon?  Maybe tomorrow? Okay, how about Friday?”

When we get home, he wants to try out his new stuff.  He decides the buffalo-checked and faux fur-lined hunting cap goes perfectly with his camouflage and orange vest.  He adds a different short sleeve shirt, which also has a pocket because “wave of the future” and all.  For good measure, he dons the new slipper socks and pajama bottoms–“too long, so can you hem them now?”–and decides this will be his ensemble for tomorrow.

It’s only six o’clock the night before he plans on wearing them to school.  With the hat, vest, pj’s, slipper socks and snow boots, he becomes hot.  I suggest he put something else on until tomorrow, but he decides he’d rather turn on the air conditioner.  All dressed up in his new attire, he hunts for his “dog tags” and then proceeds to tell me all about the history of dog tags, in case I didn’t know.

Eventually I convince him to peel off the new clothes and get ready for bed.  Bedtime is the hour or so before he actually falls asleep when he repeatedly turns on all the lights in every room and I follow him around and turn them all off.  It doesn’t matter how many times I tell him to turn off the lights, he still leaves them on and I still follow him around and shut them off.  This happens every night at least three times before he is ready for bed.

After he wrestles with Ted E. Bear on the bed–with socks on his hands to protect them from random nips–he finally (finally!!) just <boom> closes his eyes and is asleep.  Like I said before–there is no speed adjustment switch.  There is only OFF and ON.  You get one or the other.  Believe me, I’ve checked!

Are you tired?  I know I am and I haven’t even included all the things I did around him!  I wonder what other people do with twelve year old, autistic boys on their days off.  But I also think about how boring my life would be without him. He sure is colorful!

I thank the Lord for such an energetic child and think about “all that paperwork!” I might be trying to do as the elected mayor.  I’m happy to let Ted take care of it for a few more years!

Autism · Cricut

It’s a beautiful day for Cricut-ing

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Get 10% off your Cricut order using code CRAZY10 and this link

These days, I often stumble when someone asks me the standard question: “So, what do you do?”

Not that it was always easy.

Before I dropped out of the rat race to raise Master Owen, I worked in e-commerce…as in “buying stuff on the internet”.  In those days, e-commerce was scary and new and many people firmly believed it “wouldn’t catch on”.

Remember this is back in the day when the only ones making money online were XXX rated and old fashioned marketers were trying to figure out how to make it work for them.

I’m not trying to sound OLD, but this was back when Amazon only sold books.  It was when Netflix sent DVDs in the mail. My fellow colleagues and I had graduated from AOL and we thought we were all that because we understood what all the acronyms (url, http, ftp) and new terminology (streaming, buffering) meant.

Nobody “tweeted” because neither Twitter nor Instagram existed. Facebook was the catalog your college gave out to help you meet people. No one was pinning, except to their at-home cork boards and we didn’t text all that much because you had to use a phone keypad to do it.  Oh!  And blogs were called by their full name, weblogs, and they were mostly reserved for computer geeks.

I wouldn’t be lying telling you I completely enjoyed being a pioneer in the Internet Revolution and that I missed it sometimes…okay I missed it a lot!.  I thrived on the action. But, as most everyone knows, some things are worth changing direction for, and raising MO was definitely one of them.

Still….well, let me be blunt, the life of a Stay At Home Mom can be tediously, brain-numbingly boring.  Couple that with the stress of raising an autistic child alone and, well, to be truthful I could hardly believe how much my life had changed…as in “tanked”.  It’s difficult to be creative about doing dishes or laundry, and I longed for a creative outlet.

And then–as if by Divine intervention or some magical force of the universe–I happen upon a Cricut.  I am NOT exaggerating here.  I was in a craft store and looked up and saw this machine and thought to myself: “Hey! That’s kinda cool looking! I think I’ll try it!”

That was in October 2012.

Three and a half years and several machine upgrades later, I realize that a machine–in particular, a machine that can be somewhat difficult to describe to folks–gave me back that feeling of being a pioneer again!  Suddenly I could be creative again.  I was productive. I became somewhat obsessed with my Cricut.

I suppose you could call me a Cricut Fanatic, but I think it’s a little more than that.  I have been creatively “reborn” and I’m on a quest to tell everyone about it.  I am a Cricut Evangelist and I’m proud to say: “Today is a BEAUTIFUL day for Cricut-ing!”

Can I hear an “Amen”?  That’s a little attempt at humor…but, I’m curious, have I got your attention yet?  Do you want to find out what Cricut-ing is all about?  Or perhaps you’d like to renew your interest your interest in cutting edge crafting.  Well, here’s your sign!

Cricut is currently offering free Fed-Ex shipping and 10% off orders (using code CRAZY10) for a limited time.  Why not click this link and use code CRAZY10 to save 10% off your order!

I think Cricut will make a believer out of you, too!

 

Please note: As a Cricut affiliate, I may be compensated if purchases are made through links from this post.

 

Autism

Really good boy!

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Last night, while we sat and looked at Master Owen’s Christmas haul, I remarked on how much he got, even in his stocking…which was overflowing!

His reply?

“I was a REALLY GOOD boy this year!!”

It made me smile, because it’s so true!

This year, MO has really come into his own.

I’m not sure if it’s the age, all the loving prayers of my online friends, or all the extra help we receive from various agencies.  It’s probably a combination of things.  But whatever the reason, I am really, truly impressed and thankful for Master Owen’s marvelous progress this year!

It feels like an enormous burden has been lifted from me.  For the first time since he came into my life, I feel I can look around and feel safe and have hope about his future.

I realize he will have setbacks and obstacles as any child does, but lately each day makes me more confident that he is finally joining his peer group on the same playing field.  It’s truly an amazing feeling.

So…if you’ve known me for one week or many years, I want to thank my online community for your unwavering support.  It does indeed take a village.