Posted on Leave a comment

The Perfect Wizarding World Snack to Prevent Meltdowns in Your Foster – Adoptive Kids


Enter the Ugly Foe of the Amusement Park – Your Child’s Trauma

Your foster – adoptive family have been looking forward to going to Universal Studios Orlando for weeks – maybe even months. You have gotten each other excited about the rides and things you want to see in the park. You’re especially stoked to experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

What happens when you finally get to Universal?

  • You over exert yourselves trying to see as much as possible
  • Your senses are bombarded to the limit
    • Noises
    • The extreme Florida heat
    • Bumping into crowds constantly
    • The constant visual stimulation around you

All of these points will make any person fatigued. It only affects a child from a traumatic past all the more. I remember quite a few trips where I, Darren, just BARELY kept my cool because I was tired, thirsty, and hungry – my blood sugars were too low. This all affects any “normal” functioning person and can take you to the breaking point.

The issue worsens with our children because their brain chemistry looks different. Trauma has literally rewired things in their mind. Thus, when they suffer from the points from above, they’re fighting to stay under control even MORE SO than a person without a traumatic past.

Without an intervention a MELTDOWN is imminent.


A Quick Snack Goes A Long Way

In an online article, “Caught Between the Amygdala and a Hard Place,” by Karyn Purvis, PhD & David Cross, PhD, it is suggested that a parent can help their foster adoptive kiddos succeed with good behavior by providing proper nourishment every two hours.

“…In our [Purvis & Cross’] therapeutic summer camp and other interventions, we feed the children every two hours, to keep their blood sugar stable. Simply by adapting their food intake, we often see significant shifts in behavior.”

Dr. Purvis and Dr. Cross suggest in the article that foods that are low in sugar content be given and give the examples of turkey, rich grains, whole grains, and lentils.

Personally, our family has witnessed several situations where melt downs were in the beginning stages in the park. When my wife and I notice this occurrence, we stop everything to take inventory of when the last drink/food break happened during the day. Usually, we have gone more than two hours without hydrating with water or getting some substantial food. Taking fifteen to thirty minutes to meet these needs have helped our family to stomp out many started meltdowns and enjoy Universal Orlando longer into the day.


Perfect-Wizarding-World-Snack-Prevent-Meltdowns-Your-Foster-Adoptive-Kids-cornish-pastie-01  Perfect-Wizarding-World-Snack-Prevent-Meltdowns-Your-Foster-Adoptive-Kids-cornish-pastie-02

Cornish Pastie at Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando

Cornish Pasties are a snack that are sold in the Diagon Alley area of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. They can be purchased at The Hopping Pot in Carkitt Market of Diagon Alley.

What is a Cornish Pastie?

  • Potato crust pastries stuffed with seasoned ground beef and vegetables
  • One order includes 3 pasties
  • $6.99

Many people want to grab the Butterbeers and chocolate frogs for a snack. However, those sugary treats are not going to stabilize blood sugars. Actually, on their own they’re going to spike sugars (helping for a bit) and then quickly crash. WARNING. Meltdown city!

The Hopping Pot’s Cornish Pastie treats have more solid nutrition that is going to stabilize sugars without the crash. This means you’re giving your kiddo’s brain fuel so they can keep it together while dealing with the sensory bombardment they are getting all day long.

Note: We are NOT advising families to stay away from the sweets. Just make sure you’re getting some substantial nourishment every couple of hours and stay hydrated.

How can we help?

We have other tips and advice for visiting Universal Studios Orlando with foster – adoptive kids. Email us with any other questions. Also, let us know other advice that you have for families visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.


Read Dr. Purvis’ and Dr. Cross’ full article, “Caught Between the Amygdala and a Hard Place,” here:

Posted on 2 Comments

A Quick Tip to Boost Your Foster – Adoptive Family’s Trip to Universal Studios


Take the Trip from Fun to WOW

We took our first trip to Universal Studios Orlando after all of our children had been adopted from foster care. I remember asking people how we could make this adoption celebration special. I actually got this response a lot:

“A trip to Universal Studios is special all by itself.”

Yes. Yes. I understand that a trip to Universal is amazing. However, these are my kids. They have been through all sorts of abuses and neglect. They waited for years in the foster care system to officially be put into their forever family. This needed to be a celebration where the kids felt like they were the center of the world.

There are many things that we can tell your foster-adoptive family about to make your first trip a memorable one. However, when your family is trying to be budget conscious, you want to find those special touches that are:

  • Complimentary
  • Personalized
  • Actually is a Souvenir of the trip


Complimentary Pins

While these badges are not a secret, they are not openly advertised by Universal Studios that we have seen. There are two types of complimentary badges:

  • General Celebration
  • Birthday Celebration


Here’s the deal. All you have to do is simply tell a staff member what to write on the pin and viola – you have an instant souvenir that you can wear around the park. As an added bonus, don’t be surprised if staff members around the park read your badge to offer congratulations or happy birthday.

Where can you obtain these pins?


  1. Customer Service – Universal Studios Side
  2. Customer Service – Islands of Adventure


  1. The main gift shops by the front of each park
  2. Quality Quidditch Supplies in Diagon Alley (only witnessed them there once)
  3. The Blue Man Group Kiosk close to Jurassic Park in Islands of Adventure


How will you personalize your pin?

  • Adoption Day
  • Jan’s 1st Visit
  • 9th Birthday
  • Foster Family

Email us or comment below for more suggestions or tell us how you made your trip to Universal Studios. 


Posted on 2 Comments

Adoptive Kids Need To Adopt A Pygmy Puff At Universal Studios Orlando


Remember When You Were A Kid?

Almost everyone had that favorite stuffed animal when they were a kid. It was the toy that you cared about so much that it was almost real to you. For me it was a Cabbage Patch Kid that my parents bought for me at Christmas. The exciting part for me was that I actually was able to fill out adoption paperwork to take in this toy that needed a home.

I think that we were made to want to share unconditional love. It’s a part of our make-up as human beings. Now, some of us have been shown a warped sense of love due to abuse, parents that didn’t know how to show love, whatever BUT the longing to share unconditional love still resides in us. I believe that’s is why kids seem to want to exhibit this unconditional love on their special toy(s).

make-pumpkin-juice-social-media  red-oven-pizza-bakery-review-social-media

Adoption Magic At Universal Studios In Orlando, Florida

In the Diagon Alley area of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando there is a shop called Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. In the Harry Potter books this shop sells all sorts of fantastical joke items that are sold in the books including creatures called Pygmy Puffs.

Our foster-adoptive daughter loved these little creatures from the books and was mesmerized by them in the movies. When we decided to take our first trip to Diagon Alley, she knew only one thing for certain… She was using her allowance money to buy a Pygmy Puff. I don’t think she spent as long anywhere else in Universal Studios as she did in front of the shelves holding the creatures. Her eyes scanned each Pygmy Puff as she tried to size up the one that she should choose. She finally decided on a cute purple ball of puff and held it in her hands as her face was beaming.

Getting this new friend would be enough but there was more to the excitement. Anyone that buys a Pygmy Puff at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes may ask the cashier to perform the adoption ceremony.

Harry-potter-adoptive-kids-need-to-adopt-pygmy-puff-universal-orland-daughter  adoptive-kids-need-to-adopt-pygmy-puff-universal-orland-daughter

Pygmy Puff Adoption Ceremony at Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes

  1. Simply take your Pygmy Puff to the cashier in the Weasley store.
  2. Ask the cashier to perform the adoption ceremony.
  3. The cashier will ask for:
    • Your name
    • If you have adopted before
    • Your Pygmy Puff’s name
  4. The cashier rings a large bell and calls for the whole store’s attention
  5. The announcement is made about the adoption and the whole store is encouraged to clap for the event in celebration

Why a Pygmy Puff Adoption is Great for a Foster – Adoptive Child

  1. Simple Fun
    Kids from difficult pasts have been robbed of many opportunities for simple childhood fun. The ceremony gives them the joy of pretending to be in the Harry Potter books.
  2. Sense of Pride
    Foster-adoptive children tend to come from situations where they feel like they did something dreadfully wrong or they feel guilty about their past. Why not put them in a store where a whole store full of people is applauding them for caring for a new “pet”?
  3. They Know the Pygmy Puff’s Fear
    Through conversations with my daughter it seems that Pygmy Puffs in the store have been separated from their families. The adoption is giving them a new home since they will not be going back to their original home. Hmmm. It would seem that some foster kids might feel similar to a Pygmy Puff. They understand that they will not be going back home. While being scared like a Pygmy Puff sitting on a shelf, they simultaneously just hope that they will go to a nice and loving home.

icon  foster-parent-tip-diagon-alley-sensory-issues-social-mediaicon

Some Ideas For the Ceremony…

  1. Have some fun…
    as a family coming up with names for the Pygmy Puff. The cashier will announce the name to the whole store so get creative. We created the name, Ineeda Moorcash, which sounds like “I need more cash.”
  2. Talk about foster care and adoption
    Talk to your kiddo(s) about the similarities in this situation and differences with foster care and adoption. You might just see what their minds are thinking about the whole process.
  3. Part of the family
    After someone adopts a Pygmy Puff, let it join in with the family pictures during your trip to the Wizarding World. Afterall most families try their hardest to make a new foster child feel like a part of the family.

Now it’s your turn:

Tell us about your adventure with Pygmy Puffs in the comments below or send us a picture of your family with your newly adopted Pygmy Puff to: