Welcome to the zoo!

While it seems as though I’m now writing as far away from New York City as humanly possible, I am happy to announce that I’ve found a connection to my old stomping grounds. Among the many things I’ve been missing about the city, Central Park is definitely in the top ten. I used to live just a couple of blocks away, and even after we moved to Brooklyn took the subway there twice a week for homeschooling meetups, a junior park rangers class and of course, for the zoo. So you can imagine my glee as I looked at my new home online and saw listed within the sale info, Subdivision: Central Park. Did we seriously just move somewhere called Central Park? In Texas? If that isn’t irony, I don’t know what is.

Somewhat reluctantly, I decided to leave my labor of love, TheFoorce.com, in New York where it belonged, and to continue with a new website and new direction. I still have special needs children so there will still be plenty of special needs info on this site. However, I have other children (quite a few) and lots of other stuff to talk about (surprised?), so it would be silly for me to ignore the many other exciting things going on around here. Let me show you around my new, improved site, devoted to all things big family, education, art, music, special needs, cooking and Texas: The Central Park Zoo.

Animals and Exhibits

We came home one afternoon to find a flock of newly hatched ducklings stuck in the pool, and have since removed dozens more eggs from the surrounding gardens.

We came home one afternoon to find a flock of newly hatched ducklings stuck in the pool, and have since removed dozens more eggs from the surrounding gardens.

In this section I know you’re expecting me to compare the animals at the Central Park Zoo to my kids or something cliche like that. But since we both know that that’s exactly what I’m thinking, let me go with something slightly less obvious. Muscovy Ducks! Before you take offense let me assure you that this is no expletive, but rather the cause for many expletives around our house, especially by my husband. What started out as “Wow, we have 4 ducks in our pond!” has grown into “$%#@, we have 37 ducks in our pond!” And in our pool, on our patio, on top of the roof, and basically anywhere you wouldn’t like a bunch of duck poop. We also have hawks, egrets, pelicans, vultures, and a whole slew of other birds that I’m still trying to label.

Aside from our bird exhibit, we also boast lizards, snakes, frogs, possums, field rats (much larger than regular rats), rabbits, squirrels, turtles, and a variety of fish, many of which also enjoy the occasional swim in our pool (obviously not the fish but definitely the snakes). And let’s not forget our world class insect exhibit. NYC’s “waterbug” is called a “palmetto bug” down here – they’re all cockroaches, people. There are also fire ants, crazy ants (look that up on youtube if you don’t feel like sleeping for the rest of the week), mosquitoes that are wicked even in January, beetles, giant grasshoppers, wasps, dragonflies and enormous hairy spiders, many of which have also taken a dip into our pool at one point or another.

Feeding Times


Yes, that’s my 4 year old with a knife.

We don’t generally feed any of the animals outside of our house, but if we did I bet they’d eat less often than my kids. This page will be filled with kid-friendly recipes, keto recipes, quick and easy meals, and meals your kids can make alone (seriously, my 5 year old cooks dinner most Fridays). Plus we have several kids who are allergic to nuts and dairy, so I’ve also got a whole slew of recipes to survive cheese, butter, or peanut-free – without giving up cupcakes.

(Cheap) Admissions

In this section, I’m only admitting to things that don’t get me into serious trouble. All kidding aside, you can come over any time you want and pay admission to look at our animals. Heck, you can even take one home with you. Field rat, anyone?


In between "classes." In pajamas, of course.

In between “classes.” In pajamas, of course.

Once homeschoolers, I returned to teaching and my kids went back to school a couple of years ago. I won’t pretend I don’t miss it, but I’ve definitely gained a whole lot of perspective. This section is mainly to share lessons, tips and activities that we incorporate into our daily learning. Eventually this page will introduce things like the mysterious and wonderful “Wh” game I created that 1) covers any subject on the face of the planet, 2) teaches my kids to read more fluently, 3) is 100% portable and 4) passes time pleasantly whether you’re on a NYC subway or in the equally crowded and slow-moving Whataburger drive-thru lane.


Bigger is definitely better when it comes to the sky here.

Bigger is definitely better when it comes to the sky here.

What would the site be without sharing stories and resources revolving around life in Texas? In the six years we’ve been here I have more material than I’ll ever know what to do with.

So, loyal Foorce followers and new readers alike, I encourage you to sign up for updates (top right corner) and follow my new site. I’m not entirely sure where it’s headed, but it won’t be boring.


How To Help Your Special Needs Child Fly Solo

Stressing out about getting onto the plane (click on the article for happier times).

Stressed about getting onto the plane (click on the article for happier times).

Please excuse the lack of writing lately, it’s back-from-vacation and back-to-school time! Which means, of course, that I have quite a bit to share with you if I could just find the time.

In the meantime, please check out my latest article on childmind.org, about how we prepared and sent James on a cross-country flight. Alone.

Monday Minute: James Has A Cell Phone And Knows How To Use It (Kind Of)

640px-LowesMeyerlandHoustonTXThis summer, we bought James his first cell phone in anticipation of him walking alone to high school (just across the street) this Fall. He seemed to get the hang of it fairly quickly, and has developed a strong preference for texting versus actually talking. And as you all know, it’s sometimes hard to gauge emotions through a text…

Today I pulled into the loading zone at Lowe’s to pick up an already-paid-for order, and noticed that Ian and Donovan had both fallen asleep. I made a snap decision. “James, stay with the boys for just a second,” I said, turning on my flashers. “I just need to wheel the cart out and load the van, but text me if either of them wake up or if there is any kind of emergency and I’ll be out in a split second.”

“Sure thing Mom,” replied James. He slipped his phone out of his pocket, starting up Minecraft.

“No Minecraft,” I said firmly. “Texting only, in case I need to get a hold of you.” And with that, I hustled inside.

About 30 steps later, as I was standing first in line at customer service, I got my first text. “Sorry,” I said to the cashier. “I just have to check this in case it’s the kids. I left the car running…” I looked down. Continue reading