Wednesday, December 29, 2010

All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa by Kim Stagliano and "The Day is Done" As Autism Ages

I wrote this post for
. Each week we write on a particular topic. This week was quotes we favor. I hope you'll mark The Deb Ball in your favorites.

I have many quotes I adore. Some poignant, others not so - like Lewis Carroll's gibberish poem Jabberwocky - "Twas brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe.." But one stanza of a certain poem sticks with me. My Dad is 88 years old. He was born in "nineteen hundred and twenty two," as he says, in his Boston accent. His memory is still keen. And although day to day he might forget something (don't we all) he recalls dozens of poems learned as a boy in school. Longfellow's "The Day is Done" is one of his favorites. And I know that one day in the future (distant or near) my sister or brother or I will recite it at his funeral. That will be a sad but fine tribute to a good father.

As a mother who struggles with the reality of having children with autism, whom one day I will have to leave behind in a world that may or may not care for them properly, this stanza has a sharper meaning. In fact, for me, it's really a prayer. Sure, I'm a Catholic and I have all the "proper" prayers at my disposal. But this stanza speaks to the yearning ache and daily hope for treatment, recovery, cure I feel every day when I look at my girls, and wonder how, how on earth (or in heaven), can I ever leave them? It speaks to a time of hope when I will not have to worry, and I love that.

And the night shall be filled with music

And the cares, that infest the day,

Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,

And as silently steal away.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Kim Stagliano Meets BOB from Sesame Street - and Bursts into Tears!

I wrote this post for The Debutante Ball today. Our theme was balance. Hope you like it.

Balance and I parted ways many years ago. I don't miss the illusory term, as if I can neatly compartmentalize my life into properly weighted boxes that hold my emotions, family responsibilities, work role, mythical "me time" and of course charity work. (Kidding on that part.) Our household is incapabable of balance because autism times three has made it that way. Now, does that mean we're topsy turvy upside down 24/7? Not at all. We have a lovely life. But picture a ship at sea. In time the sailors begin to ignore the swells and the yawing of the ship. When they are back on land, they need to readjust. Same for us, except there's no dry land in sight. Also OK.

So what helps me stay sane? High points. Moments in time where we sing and rejoice and something wonderful, even if it's fleeting, happens to us. It could be one of the girls using a new sign to communicate. Or acing a spelling test. Or greeting me appropriately at the door. Or it could be this:

That's Bob McGrath, whom you know as Bob from Sesame Street. I was at a book event in NYC, and afterward my husband and agent and I went across the street for dinner at a lovely restaurant called The Crooked Knife. As we were seated, the entertainment was just packing up. Our booth was right next to their equipment and we struck up a conversation, natch, with the two men who call themselves The Dueling Fiddlers. Adam DeGraff gave us a CD. Kim Stagliano gave Adam a signed book. Adam told us that "The Sesame Street execs are here having dinner." My eyebrows shot up faster than Bert's unibrow at a shiny bottlecap collection. We are a Sesame Street family. I watched the first show in 1969. My 40 year old brother grew up on it. And my girls still watch every single day, well into their teens.

I sat down at our table and tried to quell my excitement, after all, I don't know any of the "execs." Then a gentleman turned at the table and I whispered, "Oh, it's BOB!" Yup. Bob McGrath, Bob "Who are the people in your neighborhood," McGrath was feet away from me.

Time for some balance... I asked Adam, "Could I meet him for just a moment?"

Bob agreed and I walked over to their table and promptly burst into tears, "You're B-b-b-bob! You have no idea what you've meant to my family." He was charming and genuinely touched. Everyone at the table had that, "aaaawwww look at the nice crazy woman," face on.

Make your own balance. Don't wait for it. Even when you're walking on Jello - you can find balance and happiness. And it all else fails, turn on Channel 13: Sesame Street.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Kim Stagliano on Good Morning Texas for All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa

This interview was a blast - Rob McCollom is a scream - puts you right at ease.He'd obviously done his homework with the book and I won't tell you what he said to me before we went on air... Oh hell, of course I will! He'd heard I was surprised the male host was interviewing me instead of the usual female/mommy host. I was happy and surprised. So he said, "I'm sorry I have a penis." HA! My Howard Stern chapter clearly influenced him. I love that. He did such a good job the producer gave him some extra time with me, which is the TV equivalent of Johnny Carson inviting a stand up to sit on the chair after his act. I was thrilled. Check out the very end of the interview and tell me what you hear in the comments.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Kim Stagliano Signs All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa in Dallas on 12/2 Join me at the Border's Lovers Lane at 5500 Greenville Avenue in Dallas on Thursday night at 7pm for a signing followed by drinks and wings at Pluckers next door! This is the Dallas autism mom group from my Drink Pink party at the NAA conference early this month. They are an amazing group of beautiful Moms (and the Dads rock too) and I can't wait to meet them all. I have an invite page at FB if you care to use it: HERE.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving. Eat "All You Can Handle!"
Thank you to everyone who has bought and enjoyed my book (and even to you one star reviewer.) The book is now on "KIMdle" as an ebook at Amazon! I hope you'll consider giving a gift copy to friends or family. Purchase a pretty pink copy HERE. Ask for the book at your local retailer - it's usually on the parenting shelf (ugh!) but you can moooveee it! :)

Send me your address and I'll send you a personalized bookplate for the gift. KimStagliano@gmail.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Review on The Adoption of Jane Blog for All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa

I'm blown away by the wonderful response to my book from parents within the autism community, and people who do not have a child on the spectrum. They are laughing, crying, learning and laughing again - which is just what I'd hoped (dared?) to accomplish with this book. I met Jane through the blogosphere. She offered to read and review my book. Her final review is the first to make me cry. Could I possibly have struck a chord this deep in a stranger - who is now a friend? Thank you Jane. Here's a preview, but please pop into her blog HERE to leave a comment.

Last week I read the amazing book, All I can Handle: I'm No Mother Theresa. This book is written by Kim Rossi Stagliano. Her story includes raising three daughters on the Autism Spectrum, fighting for Services, going back to work after being a stay at home mom, going through her husband's layoff's, moving and relocating constantly, and telling it all with a sense of humor!

Kim Rossi Stagliano is an amazing mother, wife, and writer. She writes from the soul and parents her daughters from the heart. She is the type of writer you know, that if you knew her, she would definitely be your best friend. Regardless what side of the Autism debate you are on, regardless if you have a child on the spectrum, regardless if you even have a child. She would definitely be a dear friend for life. There is a part in her book where she describes her relationship with her good friend Susan. They are both on the opposite sides of the Autism debate. Kim describes it as her being "Team Curebie" and her friend being "Team NeuroDiversity". She explains their mutual respect for each other and to me, that is priceless. If our whole community could be that way, how awesome would that be? I find it beautifully ironic that her book release date was the day of The Communication Shutdown and Speak Out. Makes me want to scream... OMG! Only Kim's book would have that coincidence!!!

Her relationship with her family is touching. I really enjoy how she talks about her daughters. I feel as if I went through each and every step with her. Her story is so honestly written it had me laughing, crying, laughing, crying, and laughing some more! I respect Kim's ability to be so truthful.. she speaks of experiences most have had but wouldn't dare say out loud. Such as, losing your child in a public place, potty training mishaps, and marriage. Another thing I truly enjoyed about this book is how she added the family pictures in the middle. Absolutely Stunning family. Kim and her husband are a handsome couple. And her daughters... breathtakingly beautiful! Mia, Gianna, and Bella will warm your heart. What is truly interesting is that through this book, the story, and the pictures, you will feel these little girls emotions and begin to understand what living life with Autism is like. To be able to connect with a child on the Spectrum is a hard task. To be able to connect with a child on the Spectrum through their mothers written words... absolutely brilliant writing Kim Rossi Stagliano, absolutely brilliant!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Casting for All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa

Can't hurt to send out a casting call, can it? LOL! I have Mark covered. As you can see. And hey, why not ask Jenny to play me? Stop laughing. (I can't.)

Friday, November 05, 2010

Review: All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa from OUTSIDE the autism parenting world

Writer Tawna Fenske wrote this review at The Debutante Ball today and I love it. All of my fellow Debs reviews have struck me in the unique message each has taken from the book. Tawna has captured what I'm wishing for the book - people outside the autism and parenting community will read and love the book. Check out Tawna's site HERE.

Thanks! KIM

Can I confess something? I didn’t expect to like Deb Kim’s book about raising three daughters with autism. I don’t have kids. I don’t know many people with kids, and I don’t tend to like books about kids. I do not know anyone personally impacted by autism. All the cards were stacked against this book when it came my turn to read. Yet I devoured it – seriously, DEVOURED it – in one sitting. This book is heartfelt. It’s honest. It’s not preachy or overly clinical.

But most importantly – at least in my eyes – this book is funny. Laugh out loud, fall on the floor, pee your pants FUNNY.

I write romantic comedy, so it’s probably no surprise to hear I like to laugh. But the true art in writing any sort of humor is the ability to find the funny in situations that most people think shouldn't be funny at all.

Kim covers topics from vaccinations to abortion to poop mishaps to unemployment to all the ups and downs of having three – count ‘em, THREE – daughters with autism, and she does it with grace, wit, and delightful humor.

I loved this book. I learned from this book. I laughed and cried all the way through this book.So if you’re one of those readers like me who looks at the title and thinks, “I’m not sure I’d like that,” allow me to say you’re probably wrong. I certainly was. And I’ve never laughed so hard about it.

Have you ever fallen in love with a book you didn’t expect to enjoy? Please share. And please go buy Deb Kim’s All I Can Handle; I’m No Mother Teresa: A Life Raising Three Daughters With Autism. I promise you won’t regret it.

Monday, November 01, 2010

All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa by Kim Stagliano Launches Today!

Thanks so much for your support. for more info and to well, buy the book! Amazon, B&N, local retailer - your choice!

Autism Communication Shutdown Day

Out of respect and love for people with autism who struggle to communicate, I am participating in the Communication Shutdown Day today. No Facebook, no Twitter, no blogging. To participate, get the CHAPP (charity app) HERE.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pinkdrinks_barbieparty Join Kim Stagliano for a book launch party at the National Autism Association Conference!

All treat, no tricks! The good folks at NAA have graciously allowed me to borrow an hour in their jam packed National Autism Association Conference schedule for a book launch party for All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa.

Please join me for pink punch (alcohol and virgin) and hors d'oeuvres on the Sea Breeze Terrace at The Tradewinds Resort on Friday night, 11/12 from 5:30 - 6:30pm. A bookseller will be on premise and I'll be happy to sign book(s) for you during the event.

The event is between NAA sessions, so you won't miss a beat in the schedule. Please RSVP (we don't want to run out of drinks!) at FaceBook (HERE) if you can, or leave a comment on this post if you're not on FB.

I have other events posted at FB and on my website at

All I Can Handle Small Many of you have already read the book and the response has been amazing. Heck, even my parents are still talking to me! Check out the reviews at Amazon - and thanks to those of you who have left them. They are really important to an author.

If you have ordered the book and would like a signed bookplate, send me your receipt at and I'll be happy to mail you one, or two, or three!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Age of Autism by Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill on the Barnes & Noble "Thought Provoking" Table

Did you hear that girlish scream coming out of the Barnes & Noble in Milford, CT? That was me as I spied The Age of Autism by my colleagues Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill on the "Thought Provoking" table. I also made a really interesting new friend there - former top exec of a major autism org. A charming man with an adult son. It's interesting how the planets and stars line up sometimes.

Congrats, Dan and Mark. And if you haven't bought the book, please ask your local retailer, go online or click HERE. The Age of Autism Thought

Friday, October 29, 2010

President Obama: Will You Stop the Autism Epidemic?

I made this sign last night at the Fairfield County Democratic HQ. The President is visiting Bridgeport this weekend to support Jim Himes, who has been very attentive to autism. President Obama has been catastrophic for people affected by severe autism. His admin has pushed mercury laden vaccines on Americans, appointed only one POV to a major National council, ignored the growing numbers. That said, John McCain has done nothing for us either - despite his milking the community during his campaign.

I hope President Obama will see the light - which is actually a whole lot of darkness.

Monday, October 25, 2010


November 1 is my book's launch day. I'm supposed to be all over FB, Twitter, you name it promoting promoting promoting. But I won't be. I'll be silent - out of respect for and to learn how it feels for so many people with AUTISM. Join me? Make a small donation and shut down for the day. My book sales will survive. I will survive. And people with autism will have a world with a bit more understanding.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Happy Anniversary, Mark!

Mark and I were married 19 years ago today. This excerpt seemed appropriate in an inappropriate way.

"I flounced into the grill room and saw Mark sitting at the bar. I grabbed his arm and said, "Come outside with me right now!" The guys at the bar looked aghast. We stood in front of the clubhouse, and I announced to Mark, "I spend all of my time with the kids. You're always here. I'm thirty eight years old and I AM LONELY! I don't love you anymore and I want a divorce. I was not using my indoor voice."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Kim Stagliano's GF Bisquick vs. GF King Arthur Flour Pancake Mix Showdown

This weekend I decided to test two new gluten free pancake mixes. Bisquick, from General Mills, the Betty Crocker people who launched several GF mixes under the BC name last year, and King Arthur Flour's new mix, which is also part of an extensive brand line of GF products. I made both mixes using So Delicious coconut milk, organic free range eggs and vegetable oil. Read on!

OK, I mixed the batters and noticed that the Bisquick is much thicker and lighter in color. The KAF is a darker color and thinner.
On the griddle - the Bisquick pancake puffed up and bubbled fairly quickly. It remained pale in color even when the center was cooked. The KAF pancake took a bit longer to cook and browned to a classic golden diner color.
On the plate - you can see that the Bisquick pancake (bottom of dish) is yellow golden while the KAF is golden brown.
Ah, cutting the pancakes open. The Bisquick pancake on left has an amazing melt in your mouth consistency. It's thick, fluffy and completely delicious - you would never know this is a GF pancake. It's fantastic. No off taste, no grittiness. Just a perfect pancake. The KAF on the right is a drop dead ringer for your favorite restaurant's pancakes. It's thin and super springy inside. No funky taste and no grit at all either. The KAF pancake was to die for in terms of taste.
On the plate you can see the color and thickness difference. Remember to use real maple syrup and never that fake corn syrup crap, OK? I like Mrs. Butterworth as an ad icon, but really, a good pancake requires real maple syrup. Sorry Aunt Jemima and Vermont Maid too.
Now for the differences in grading. We have two scrumptious pancakes so far. The KAF offers 15 ounces per box. It costs $6.95 for the box. The box is larger than the Bisquick box, which is misleading as it contains less product. The packaging is attractive - but they could save a lot of trees by scaling back the box size - and have more product on the shelf.
The Bisquick has 16 ounces per box. The box is smaller than the KAF box, despite the fact that it has an extra ounce of product in it. It costs $3.99 for the box at my local store but can cost as much $5.98. That's a pretty big price difference from the KAF, especially for an extra ounce of product. Both boxes are small - by the way - a trick of all GF products so you don't faint at the price.
So what are you paying for? Here's where KAF moves ahead of Bisquick in my mind - the ingredients. Bisquick uses rice flour (that's why the product is so pale) and modified potato starch (ix-nay on the odified-may) and worse, aluminum baking powder. Damn. I made the biscuit recipe and let me tell you, they are just delicious too - which bums me out completely since I hate using anything with aluminum baking powder. People who are GF are likely to be health conscious - so I suggest to General Mills (who I'm sure is listening to a lady in CT) to use another baking powder.
King Arthur Flour uses whole grain brown rice - a healthier choice than the plain rice flour found in Bisquick and a non aluminum baking powder. Their potato starch does not say modified. Three wins for our friends in Vermont.

RESULTS: Both mixes make outstanding gluten free pancakes.

The Bisquick wins for mouth feel in my opinion, because I love a fat, fluffy melt in your mouth pancake. Bisquick also wins for price and more environmental packaging. And the mix makes kick ass biscuits which has been a wonderful addition to our dinner table.

The Bisquick loses for quality of ingredients.

The King Arthur Flour wins for making a perfect diner style thin springy pancake and for its ingredients.

KAF loses on price and packaging. You can not make biscuits with the mix. I tried. Big time fail. I ended up with baked pancakes.

Buy the mix that makes your favorite style pancake and that meets your budget. I'll buy both from time to time. I'm am completely OVER mixing my own flours and hoping I don't get a gelatinous beany kids-won't-eat-it result.

Thank you to General Mills and King Arthur Flour alike for meeting a huge market need.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

CODE If You Are Blogging Kim Stagliano's Book Launch

Hi - many of you have kindly offered to blog my book and/or run a contest or write about the book for your Yahoo group, website or local organization. I put the code for all of the verbiage and the cover art below into a link HERE. Blogger keeps turning it into HTML on me so I popped it into a post at AofA - easy for you to copy and paste into your HTML mode at your site or blog. I can't thank you enough. Feel free to tweak it and make it your own and use the parts you need or want.

Launch day is 11/1 (All Saint's Day ha ha!), so anytime during the first week on November would be really helpful. Email me at if you have any questions.

How one woman raises three daughters with autism, loses one at Disney World, stays married, has sex, bakes gluten-free, goes broke, and keeps her sense of humor. "Dr. Spock? Check. Penelope Ann Leach (remember her?)? Check. What to Expect When You’re Expecting? Check. I had a seven hundred dollar Bellini crib for God’s sake!"

...and so begins Kim Stagliano’s electrifying and hilarious memoir of her family’s journey raising three daughters with autism. In these stories, Stagliano has joined the ranks of David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs with her amazing ability to lay everything on the table—from family, friends, and enemies to basement floods to birthdays to (possible) heroin addictions—eviscerating and celebrating the absurd. From her love of Howard Stern to her increasing activism in the autism community and exhaustive search for treatments that will help her daughters, she covers it all. Always outspoken, often touching, and sometimes heartbreaking, Kim Stagliano is a powerful new voice in comedic writing—her “Kimoir” (as she calls it) will be a must-read within the autism community and the literary world at large. 24 color photographs

BIO: Hi, I'm Kim Stagliano, wife, Mom, writer, tired. My husband and I have three gorgeous girls - who have autism. Kind of impossible, considering autism affects boys 4:1 over girls. Mark and I have learned that impossible is often inescapable though. My book is humorous look at a life that has been anything but ordinary or easy - and yet is full of laughter, joy and love. I promise, you won't need a Prozac to read it. :)

I'm available for Skype bookclub appearances and would love to learn about your story. Email me at I'll be happy to send you a free signed bookplate to pop into your copy if you'll email me your receipt. Check out my website at Kim Stagliano for more info. Thanks!

I encourage you to support your local independent bookseller.

Amazon: Amazon

Barnes and Noble: Barnes and Noble

Borders: Border's

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Kim Stagliano on CafeMom's The Stir: Halloween and Autism

Thanks to Julie Ryan Evans for asking me some questions about what's Halloween like when you have a child on the spectrum. Please pop over to her blog The Stir at CafeMom to leave your own suggestions and thoughts, won't you? The photo is a costume I made for Bella in Kindergarten. She was Leo the Late Bloomer whose first words are, "I made it!" Here's to hope friends, and lots of candy for Mom and Dad on Halloween! Thanks. KIM

By Julie Ryan Evans

Halloween can be frightening and hard to explain to any child. Talk of ghosts and witches, scary masks, and grave stones in the neighbor's yard can prompt plenty of nightmares.

For children with autism, however, it can be particularly challenging to celebrate the holiday with all the new rules (yes, you can actually knock on someone's door and ask for candy) and nuances it brings.

Kim Stagliano, author of the new book All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa, is the mother of three girls who have autism. I talked with her about her experiences with them and Halloween over the years and what other people can do to make the holiday a little less frightening and more enjoyable for children with autism and their families.

What challenges do children with autism face when it comes to Halloween?

Oh, where to begin? Well, Halloween is inherently abstract, and that can be difficult for some kids on the spectrum. It's hard to separate the illusion of costumes from reality. The concept of not going into a house after ringing the doorbell was tough too -- 364 days a year you go to a door, ring the bell, and walk in, and here you have this one night where everyone is out and yet you can't walk into the house? It confused my oldest daughter especially.

Any anecdotes or examples from your own family?

Read the full post and comment with your Halloween stories at The Stir at CafeMom.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

When Life Was a Piece of Cake

Here's today's book excerpt as I countdown to launch day on 11/1. You can pre-order the book now (Choose your retailer here) or order on 11/1, which would be helpful as I sit glued to my Amazon rank for the day. You know I will. I know I will. Let's not pretend otherwise, shall we?

"We were living in Doylestown in the heart of beautiful Bucks County, and our life was comfortable and secure. I was now thirty-four years old with two pretty girls and a handsome husband who looked dapper as he left for work each morning. My girls had playdates, and I shopped in specialty stores that did not have the word "consignment" in their name."

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Road Less Traveled (For a Reason)

From my book, All I Can Handle I'm No Mother Teresa which debuts 11/1. I'm running a launch day count down with excerpts.

Pretty flowers," she said as I maneuvered the basket of flowers in the overhead bin... Were you in a wedding?" I nodded, "I got married on Saturday." The meddling matron looked horrified. Seat 7B was vacant. Where was my new husband? "Oh, honey,' she must have thought to herself. 'You two don't stand a chance..."

Monday, October 04, 2010

Countdown to my Book Launch

We're one month away from the debut of my book. Here's a secret, please don't tell anyone: I'm scared sh*tless about the reception I'll get. Every author expresses pre-launch jitters. But when you write fiction or someone else's story, at least you have a firewall to shelter you. With my book it's me, myself, I and my family standing on the front lines.

What. Was. I. Thinking?

I'm sure the clammy underarms, jitter-filled stomach and bug-eyed stare will subside (well, the eyes won't, I'm always looking like Marty Feldman's long lost niece) in time.

I'm going to run a super-brief excerpt throughout the countdown to launch day. In part for you, my bloggy buddies and hopefully folks who will buy the book. (Purchase info here.) In part for me, because death by a thousand excerpts is sure to make me feel better, right? Here goes:

"When I agreed to Marry Mark, little did I know that I'd shifted my life from Plan A to Plan X (as in X-Files) without having the slightest clue of how different my life would be compared to what I then considered normal."

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Gearing Up For Blog City

I'm getting close to my launch date of 11/1. Scared you-know-whatless! I'll be blogging promotions and asking for your help too. In the meantime, I'm revving on the redline (listen to the song in this muscle car video) and still dreaming of my very own Camaro. So buy 100 books each, OK? I promise I'll give you a ride before I pull out all of the seats.

Love, KIM

Friday, September 17, 2010

Only Heart Could Cover Led Zeppelin Like This.

I've been looking for this YouTube for a long time. It's a gorgeous rendition. Girl power.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sunday, September 05, 2010

They're Baaaacccckkkkkk!

Remeber my post last Fall, "Williams-Sonoma, Are you Kidding With the $100 Cake?" Last Fall I made my own version of the ghost cake, mini sized - adorable, tiny, fun and about 90% less expensive. (See below.) I love W-S, but some of the prices? Oy vey!

My Fall catalogs are starting to arrive each day. I love looking at catalogs and buy most of our clothes, books, and even some of our food online. I haven't ordered on paper in years, or even by phone. But I still love to look at catalogs. Especially at bedtime. Not always so bright, since my favorites are laden with treats.

My favorite is
Vermont Country Store which has so many retro and useful items. Although like most catalogs, the items are often extremely expensive. But who doesn't want to fork over some cash for a bottle of "Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific" shampoo?

So... Yesterday the Marie Antoinette of catalogs, Williams Sonoma arrived, laden with gorgeous Fall treats. Including three items near and dear to my heart. CAKES. Fondant covered, decorated cakes. Joy!

This darling pumpkin is 5.5 inches in diameter and 5'5 inches tall. In my world, that's an oversized cupcake. Go ahead, measure 5.5 inches (think of your last boyfriend, perhaps, it ain't much.) The cake costs $99 plus $16.50 to ship it! The copy says it feeds 8-10 people. Ha!! It wouldn' feed 8-10 toddlers.

Come on... We've all watched enough episodes of Ace of Cakes and Cake Boss (my favorite, the paisan from Jersey with his loud famiglia) to understand how labor intensive cake creation can be. Ace of Cakes starts at $1000 a cake. Cake Boss cakes run $12+ per slice. Worth every penny.

These three cakes Williams Sonoma are pretty simple. Extremely simple, actually. Look at the ghost - one piece of draped fondant with three cut outs on the face costs $89? The witches hat is $99. Teeth stains included with all that black fondant.

So, can anyone lend me $282.00?

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Come Dance At The Debutante Ball Writer's Blog!

This week lauched the 2011 season for The Debutante Ball, a group ball for Debut authors. Please stop by and add us to your favorites. I am the Wednesday Debutante and look forward to seeing you there!

The Debutante Ball

Monday, August 23, 2010

Come See What's Cooking!Click: Kim Stagliano

Friday, August 20, 2010

First Song I'll Play in My New Camaro.*

I will not have a giant bottle of Riunite Bianco in a paper bag, however.

*That I'll never own. See post below.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Camaro? Me? Oh, Yes!

I want a new Chevy Camaro. There. I said it. I'm a 46 year old mother of 3 children living in Connecticut whose travels include Trader Joe's and on a good day I might venture to Westport. And I want want want want a Camaro. Dark gray please. With the 6 speed manual transmission so only I can drive it. There's a killer yellow one with the black racing stripes in town. I know the guy who drives it is at least 64 years old and probably needs dental work and is reliving his youth. Don't care. This car makes my heart race. Did I mention I'm 46 and have three kids and live in CT? My heart doesn't race often unless I overdo the Starbucks. I want this car. So maybe buy 100 copies of my book, OK? (Kidding on that one.)

And remove 4 of the seats.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

I Knew The Gloves* Would Come in Handy!

Big news! I've been chosen (tapped?) as one of the debut authors in a group blog called, The Debutante Ball. Congrats to my fellow Debs and best wishes to the departing class.
Eleanor Brown
Sarah Jio
Elise Allen
Tawna Fenske

Please pop over to The Ball HERE to learn about their books and do mark Deb Ball as a new favorite site to visit each day, won't you?

* At Autism One in '08 the dinner theme required long satin gloves. I, coiner of the word "crapisode (no, really, it's even in The Urban Dictionary) wore Playtex Living Gloves with "Life's Messy! Clean it up!" on them.

Another Tough Month

In July, at least 5 people with autism died. Two children, strangled with wire by their mother in Dallas (I was on HLN talking about that horrific case.) A boy in Kansas who wandered from home and drowned in a nearby pond (wandering death is a major problem in our community.) A 20 year old man who was left to die in a van by caretakers who didn't notice he was missing for hours. And a boy in The Bronx whose Mom snapped and killed her son and herself. Last Spring I wrote a HuffPo post about another spate of tragedy. I'm re-running it here as a reminder that the world isn't ALL bad. I have to remind myself. And you.

This had been a particularly rough April, aka "Autism Awareness Month." I'm trying to find the bright spots where I can. As always, I begin in my own home, with my three daughters, who have autism, and who can make me smile and laugh (and shake my head and holler, I admit) from morning to night.

This month, several people with autism wandered away from home and were reported missing. Most returned home safely, like Nadia Bloom, the witty youngster with Asperger's who stood in a swamp for four days until her miraculous rescue. Three year old Aiden Johnson of Arkansas was not so fortunate. He wandered away from his grandmother's house and drowned nearby. Erik Lippmann, age 30, was
found dead on the beach in California, after having gone missing several days ago. Others included:

Kevin Kwok, 17, Ontario - found
Ryan Beaudette, 14, NY - found
Hallden Parrish, 16, FL - found
Brian Ortiz-Molina, 14, FL - found
Rebecca Collins-Fisher, 16, FL - found
Cody Daniel Jones-Barnard, 13, OR - found

This week, Daniel McLatchie, 44 shot his 22-year-old son Benjamin and then turned the gun on himself, in Maine. The
newspaper report read, "it appeared that Daniel McLatchie was upset about what would happen to his autistic son after he and his wife died."

In February, a wealthy Manhattan executive named Gigi Jordan fed her eight-year-old son pills until he seized into

And lest you think it's Americans for whom the stress of autism is a burden, a Mum in London forced her 12-year-old "severely autistic" son to drink bleach,
killing him. "Satpal Singh is believed to have killed the 12-year-old boy as she struggled to cope with looking after him."

Autism should not be a death sentence.

I wish I could tell you that autism brings only love and joy and candy canes and OMG! Ponies! Sometimes it feels like that's all the media (and even some within the autism world) want to hear from those of us living day to day caring for a loved one(s) or even those with the diagnosis themselves. If only that were the full reality for families. It's not.

However, that doesn't mean autism is nothing but stress and challenges and tears. Not by a long shot. And it doesn't mean people with autism are doomed. Not even as adults.

Last weekend, the carnival came to my town. And I knew "he" would be there.


Bob who has autism, looks to be in his 40s, and rides the scrambler from the moment the gates open until they close.

My girls love the Scrambler. It moves fast, it activates their sensory systems, it makes them laugh with giddy excitement. It's always our first ride at the carnival. We approached the ride, having arrived just moments after the gates opened, and sure enough, there was Bob, already in his Scrambler seat. I said to the young ticket taker, "He's here!" cocking my head toward Bob. "Of course," he answered, "that's Bob and he's been coming for 15 years." The ticket taker couldn't have been more than 21 years old.

I smiled and said, "Hi, Bob!" waving from the car where Bella and I were squished into one side. Bob waved back, grinning from ear to ear. The ride started, the slow sweep of the cars picked up speed until we were flying across the blacktop of the middle school parking lot where two of my girls are in special education for their autism. I heard Bella begin to laugh. I saw Mia and Gianna's wide smiles as they whooshed past us in their own car.

And I heard the glorious intonations from Bob. He rocked furiously back and forth, loudly proclaiming his joy in his own language. The ride slowed down. I wiped the tears from my eyes (it was the wind, I swear.) As I walked past the ticket taker, I said, "Thank you. And keep an eye on Bob."

"I will," he answered.

How about you? Will you keep an eye on the Bobs of the world?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Americanland by Bruce Springsteen.

I'm listening to the news - Afghanistan, soldiers dying - 9 years and billions (trillions?) spent. Meanwhile the average American goes about his/her business with nary a thought to the struggle, sacrifice and pain. During WWII, wives, sisters, fathers, children - everyone chipped in. Women gave up their stockings so the nylon could be used for parachutes. Butter was replaced by oleo. Sugar was rationed - I collect vintage cookbooks and have many WWII Era recipes designed for the frugal and rationed wife. Today? The Hummers are back on the road even as the oil is floating about the Gulf. AC is purring in every home. Sprinklers keep lawns verdant.

We used to be able to suck it up. Sacrifice by CHOICE - not just because we lost our jobs and had no options. Now, I'm guessing that more people know the name Snookie than Karzai.

Bring back the Draft. No exemptions except for severe mental or physical problems. No, not you corporal Klinger. Not exemptions for college, the last name of a Senator, ADHD drugs, flat feet, a zit on your dick. If you're an 18 year old boy OR GIRL, get ready to rub sand in your ass crack because you're going to fight.

Think things would change?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Agreed. It's Too Darn Hot, Ella!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Joan Rivers on David Letterman Thursday July 22nd!

I've been a Joan Rivers fan since her days as a talk show host on WABC radio in New York in the nineties. I lover her story, her career, her survival instinct, her loyalty, her humor - everything. Hell, I even love her love of plastic surgery and her mega-biz on QVC. I was on QVC twice for Mark's company a long time ago. It ain't easy to sell the "wow" in their required "over the fence chat" style. I ironed on a German ironing board at 7:00am, shaking with terror. And I demo'd a cake box with ice packs that fit into the bottom to cool your tarts. I recall the host "Bob" as being kind of an asshole. Ms. Rivers has her own dressing room. No big, noisy green room that is like a bad circus tent for her with the Spanx lady (makeup 3 feet thick) standing next to the guy who is going to sell the latest camera, standing next to me wondering if my pale lip glass and mascara is enough. (It wasn't.)

Ms. Rivers is on The Howard Stern show often - I never miss her interviews. My agent knows her quite well. You might recall how kind she was to me when I took Bella to the The Bank Street Book Nook in New Milford, CT for a signing and Ms. Rivers allowed us to scoot to the front of the line because Bella was having trouble with the crowded (busting at the seams!) store.
Her website
Twitter "Staying in Melissa's guest room in L.A. It's in the basement--so far underground. I could have reached over and capped the BP well myself."
All her books on Amazon

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Coming Soon To a Roof Top Near You?

Saving ben By Dan Burns

I was reading on the upstairs balcony when the cop car whipped around the corner and into my parking lot. About that time I thought I heard my son Ben's gleeful, autistic laugh behind me. But that was impossible, because I was sure that Ben was in his room reading Dr. Seuss books. Another laugh - a shriek, really. As the cop got out of the cruiser, my neighbor came trotting up, arms windmilling. "Hey, there's a naked man on your roof." I looked up and yep, there stood 22-year-old Ben in all his shameless glory, tossing pecans to the squirrels.

Last week, a Dallas mom responded to my blog, commenting on her son with autism spectrum disorder (ASD): "He's only 13 but he's taller than I am now. That scares me because looking like an adult and behaving inappropriately can get him into so much more trouble now."

Yeah, tell me about it. I hustled Ben back through the open window. I heard the cruiser door slam as the cop walked toward us... Read the full post and please comment with your own experiences at Dallas Morning News MomsBlog

Dan E. Burns, Ph.D., former filmmaker, software developer, and businessman, taught Communication courses at Southern Methodist University, the University of Texas at Arlington, and the University of Phoenix. In 1990 his third child, Benjamin, was diagnosed with autism. Burns' memoir, Saving Ben: A Father's Story of Autism ( published by UNT Press, tells of a three-year-old child's regression as an infant into autism and Burns' struggle with the medical establishment, the school system, and his family in the battle for Ben's health as a father who never gives up. Planning for the time when he and Ben's mom pass on, Dr. Burns is developing the Autism Trust of Texas, modeled on The Autism Trust (U.K.) and focused on the creation of new communities to offer a future for the increasing number of children with autism. They will provide a home base for life where adults with autism can work, live and improve their skills and talents in a creative and supportive environment.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Happy Birthday Gianna Marie! 14 today.

A picture says a million words. What could I possibly add?

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Sparkle Like A Certain Vampire!

Ah the power of Twitter! I saw an interesting Tweet this Spring, about a bedazzled line of custom T-shirts. (My God, did I really just use the word "bedazzled" in a sentence?) The nice folks at Bling is the New Black made a rush order for me in time for Autism One. You can order your own T-shirt and tote directly from Tanya at BITNB. Not only will you feel all sparkly (did I just use sparkly in a sentence?) you'll support Age of Autism too.

Go to Bling is the New Black and click on the Age of Autism menu on the left. That's Mark Blaxill from AofA and me at Autism One in May. Sparkle on!

Bling T shirtBling Tote

Monday, June 28, 2010

StagMom's Carnival Gluten Free Casein Free Frosted Birthday Cake

I've been tweaking my GFCF cake recipes and boy I think I've come up with a winner. When Bella made her First Holy Communion last month, I ordered a professional made GFCF cake from Jill at Sweet Gluten Free in Bridgeport, CT. The cake was TO DIE FOR. Moist chocolate cake with a melt in your mouth coconut oil based frosting and just look at the carefully cut fondant letters and hand crafted flowers. Kimmy loves to bake. Kimmy can not make a cake look that even and professional. This is the PROFESSIONALLY MADE cake below. See it's gleaming perfection. It's dreamy, isn't it?

Gianna's birthday (14!) is on July 11 (yes, my 7/11 Slurpee girl!) and I ordered a cake from Jill. But, I still need to bake cakes on a regular basis. Yes, I said NEED. Baking is my Xanax, OK?

So here's my recipe for StagMom's Carnival Cake. It's not health food. It won't accommodate every special needs diet. But if you make it, I promise you not a single soul will know it isn't a "real" cake. Oh it's real, and I have the belly fat to prove it. This bakes up into a moist, barely sweet pound cake that is set off perfectly by the cotton candy carnival frosting.


1 Box Betty Crocker GF yellow cake mix (double the recipe for a 2 layer cake)
Substitute So Delicious brand unsweetened coconut milk for the water (that's the green carton)
Substitute Jones All Natural Cream Soda for the vanilla
Use 3 eggs, just like the box says

Frosting (enough for a 2 layer cake)

1 stick Earth Balance shortening softened
1 stick Earth Balance margarine softened
Jones All Natural Cream Soda
1 large bag Powdered Sugar (use Kosher made with tapioca starch if you can't tolerate corn)
Karo clear syrup (if you can't tolerate corn, use Lyle's Golden Sugar Cane syrup)
Beat shortening and margarine until smooth
Add 1/8 cup cream soda
Add 2 tbsps Karo
Add 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, beat until creamy
Slowly add remaining sifted powdered sugar (yes you can skip the sifting if you must, harumph)
Add more cream soda until the frosting is an easy spreading consistency.

If piping the frosting - say onto cupcakes, keep frosting slightly firm. Softer for spreading.

Lick fingers many, many times. Wash them, for God's sake.

Set cake on counter. Call family. Enjoy the accolades.

Dig in!

Happy (Belated) Gay Pride Day

Happy Gay Pride Day to the five strong men in my life (you know who you are) whom I adore as family, friends, colleagues. This cake is for you. (No, I didn't bake this one. A bit too much artificial color for my taste!)