Monday, November 28, 2011

No Poinsettias for Me!

I've always liked poinsettias.  Something about the vibrant red and green just put that holiday feel in the air.  Poinsettias have never liked me, however.  I don't have the time to put in the effort to give it the darkness it needs every day to stay in bloom.  And for some reason, I can't seem to keep them from losing all of their petals.  And their leaves.  So I start with a gorgeous flower and end up with a stem.  Not exactly sure what I'm doing wrong.

But, all of that doesn't matter any more.  Many of you may know that my Little Love #5 is severely allergic to latex.  Severely, as in she goes into anaphylaxis if she's in the same room as a balloon.  Those poinsettias that are doomed when in my care?  They're in the same family as the rubber tree.  That white, sticky, sap stuff you see when you accidentally break a stem?  That's latex.

Many people who are airborne allergic to latex are airborne allergic to poinsettias.  I'm not sure if LL#5 is or not.  I haven't gotten her close enough to one to find out.  It makes this time of year tricky.  Poinsettias are common Christmas decorations.  They're sold in the stores, on the counters in doctors' offices, in people's homes, in churches, nearly everywhere you go.  Our family members refrain from having poinsettias in their houses for my daughter's sake.  Our church changed their many-decade tradition of poinsettias and now use a different flower to decorate with.  Fake poinsettias are also a good option.

It's amazing how life can change when there are life-threatening allergies involved.  Things that once were attractions, now repel.  But that's ok.  I'd just kill them anyway.  =)
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Saturday, November 26, 2011

More sickness, contractions, etc.

This has been a rough week.  We were all excited to go to my parents' for Thanksgiving, when my two oldest ended up sick.  It seems like somebody has been sick most of the month this month.  That's one of the things about having a lot of little kids--higher chances of getting exposed, higher chances of someone getting sick, and it takes forever if it goes through everybody in the family.

Praise God, I haven't gotten sick so far.  The sitting and snuggling sick kids has actually not been too bad of a thing, as it makes me sit and relax.  I've been contracting a lot, and I'd really like to carry this baby to term (my last two were preemies).

So, we made the most of Thanksgiving here at home.  We watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, my hubby grilled steaks for everybody, and he ran to a Redbox to rent Cars 2.

I hope everybody's Thanksgiving was wonderful!
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Project - Tutorial

Our family loves the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle.

My kids love to read this book, but I wanted to make it more interactive.  I started by sketching all the foods the caterpillar eats through onto paper.

I then cut all the foods out of colored felt.  I glued on the embellishments at first, then I decided that it wouldn't be enough to stand up to lots of use.  So I added some stitches, too.

I then made a ribbon caterpillar.  I used green 3/8" grosgrain ribbon with a medium-sized red button head.  I sewed the button onto the ribbon.  I used a larger green button on the rear end of the caterpillar to hold the foods on as he eats through them.  I also drew on a smile and two antennae.

I cut slits in each of the foods, just large enough for the red button to pass through.  

Now the caterpillar can eat through all the foods he eats in the book!

This is so much fun for the kids, and it's great for education, too!  It helps them work on their counting (one apple, 2 pears, etc), it helps them work on figuring out sequence (what did he eat first, second, etc), and it even gives them practice on how to button a button!

If you decide to make your own food and caterpillar, please e-mail me pictures.  I'd love to see them!

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Kids are soooo weird!

The other day, the kids gave me a small insight into their random little minds.

Recently, Little Love #5 celebrated her second birthday!!  The day before, I'd tell her excitedly, "Tomorrow's your birthday!!"  She'd respond by crying and saying, "I don't want my birthday!"  After trying to convince her it was a good thing, she finally told me that I could give her birthday to my oldest daughter.  LOL  Soon enough, she'll realize that this whole birthday things is a pretty good deal.  =)

The other day, the kids and I were all playing outside--or I guess I should say that they were playing, while I sat and read.  They kept bringing me their little "treasures" that they were finding around the yard:  a colorful leaf, a pretty rock, a snail shell...  My 3-year-old son brought me a leaf that he said was "so bootiful."  It was fuzzy with mold!  Then, my not-quite-2-year-old happily brought me her treasure--dry dog poop. At least it wasn't fresh.  As my brother pointed out, "One girl's poop is another girl's treasure."

(I don't have a picture of the poop, thankfully, but sometimes you've gotta wonder what the animals are thinking, too.  This really CAN'T be comfortable!!)

Later that same day, my six-year-old son came up to me, totally serious, and asked me, "Mama, would you rather have a braid in your hair or eat a banana?"  What?!?!?!?  In what way are those two things related?  Oh, wait, they're not.  Sometimes I'd really love a peek into their minds.  Questions like this are just major teasers of what's going on in there.  Other times, I think it's really lucky for us both that I don't know what they're thinking.

I love these young ages.  There's so much random weirdness, so much excitement, and so much hilarity.

I sure love my kids! Pin It

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Hair Clip Gift

First of all, for those of you who were wondering, the Lord really answered prayers this week, and Little Love #5 never got the bad respiratory phase of the virus she had!  (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you can see Monday's post here.)  Thank you to anybody who sent up a word of prayer for her!

Anyway, on to today's excitement!  One of our nieces just had her 3rd birthday.  What's more fun than a little bit of hair frosting for a little girl?!?!?!?  So I made her some hair clips.  

Remember all of that lace I got at Wal-Mart for $.50 for 3 yards?

I came across this lace bow tutorial at Fabric Bows and More.  I LOVED them, so I made these:

I loved these so much I made extra sets for my girls.  My favorites are the red and black ones--especially going into the Christmas season!

I also made her a purple-and-green-striped woven headband:

I love making woven headbands!  And then you can clip any hair clips onto them!  I got my instructions for them from No Bow...No Go!  Her instructions are GREAT, so easy to follow, and have great pictures to help you make sure you're doing it right.

I also made a few other clips, so I feel like it's a nice package to add to her clippie collection.  

Happy Birthday!!

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Horrible Week

This past week has been a rough one.  My oldest and youngest both caught a bug that their cousin had as well.  My oldest weathered it well.  My youngest, well, after a great spring and summer giving me high hopes that she had outgrown her reactive airway disease, we had to break the nebulizer back out.  And she hasn't even reached the bad respiratory phase of this illness yet.

Here's how it goes.  You get a sore throat, along with a fever, for a couple of days.  Then you seem fine for a couple of days.  Then it goes to the lungs.  My niece ran a very low-grade fever at first, and ended up with walking pneumonia by the end of it (she has asthma).  My oldest ran middle range, 100*-101*. Once she hit the respiratory phase, she's simply had a cough.  Her lungs are nice and clear.  My youngest ran a blazing 104.4* at its highest.  She had a hard time breathing all through the fever, getting breathing treatments every 4 hours.  We're praying God just protects her from having the next phase of this virus completely.

She has a birthday coming up.  Her main gift is a pulse-ox.  I didn't have one last year, and it was torture.  We were in urgent care and the doctor's office several times, and she was hospitalized twice.  Had I had a pulse-oximeter, maybe we could have saved ourselves a couple of those visits, saving her exposure to other viruses.

It's amazing how much we take for granted in this life.  Like breathing.  I take breathing completely for granted--until my 1-year-old can't.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

'Tis the Season

We LOVE holidays!!  I've always been a big fan, and I have drug my hubby into the craze with me.  So our kids really had no chance.  =)

We're not the crazy-gaudy-light-up-your-whole-house-and-fill-your-yard-with-music-blaring-and-driving-your-neighbors-crazy type (no offense to those who are), but we do decorate the inside of our house, and we have fun doing it.  Today we got out our tree.  It's a pre-lighted one, so I'm still swapping out burnt bulbs, but it's up and plugged in.  We'll hang the ornaments tomorrow.

But I think my kids' favorites are the little trees in their bedrooms.

We bought the little trees last year, for like $8 each.  The girls picked pink decorations on a white tree, the boys wanted a silver tree with blue decor.  The girls wanted balls and a star topper, the boys wanted a garland and a snowflake on top.  The kids actually ask to go to bed early, so that they can lay in their beds and quietly talk for a little while with their trees plugged in!  I should keep these out year-round!!  =)

What are your kids' favorite decorations for Christmas?
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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Quick Tip #5--Removing make-up

I rarely wear make-up.  There are several reasons for this, but if I'm being totally honest with myself (and you), it's mostly because I don't want to take the time to apply it.  I spend most of my days at home with the kids, which is fine with me.  I get out of the house mostly for church.  I get dressed while my wonderful Mr. Man feeds the kids breakfast.  They eat VERY quickly.  So I know that as I'm getting ready, I have 5 other little people waiting for my help to get them ready.  I think I'm doing pretty good to get my hair and teeth brushed, no less putting make-up on.

Still, there are those rare times when we're going to a wedding or some other fancy event, when I want to put a bit of make-up on.  In those rare instances, I typically wear eye-liner, eye shadow, and a touch of blush.  Hardly ever do I wear foundation or powder or mascara, but it has been known to happen.

One of the worst things about wearing make-up--especially around the eyes--is having to remove it later.  Mascara and eye-liners are made to be water-resistant, making it even harder to get off.  The market is full of different lotions, soaps, and ointments made to get make-up off.  These lotions, soaps, and ointments are typically full of all sorts of nasty chemicals that you really don't want to apply to your skin.  And they're expensive.

Well, I have an easy, cheap, healthy alternative for you, that you probably already have in your kitchen cabinet!  Oil!  Olive oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil...any of those healthy oils that you cook with or put on your salads.  Simply rub onto your face--especially around the eyes--and gently wipe the make-up off with a warm washcloth.  Even better is doing the oil-cleansing method as your regular method of cleaning your face.  My complexion is so nice and clear since starting this.  No more chemical-laden cleansers and lotions.

So do yourself a favor and get that make-up off quickly and easily.  And you're doing your skin a favor by moisturizing it naturally with no harmful chemicals.  It's a win-win! Pin It

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Quick Tip #6--Easing "Growing Pains"

My kids often wake up at night complaining of "growing pains" in their knees.  I've read that these aren't actually growing pains at all, but are some kind of muscle or ligament pain, but no matter what they are, it's very unpleasant.  I don't like giving my kids any kind of medication unless it's medically necessary, so I set out to find a remedy other than over-the-counter pain medicines.

I've found the perfect treatment for it.  We have several heat socks--you know, those long, skinny things full of dry rice or corn that you can throw into the microwave to heat it.  I also have a medium-sized teddy bear full of herbs that can be thrown into the microwave.

I heat the sock or bear in the microwave--typically only for a minute, so they're not too hot for the kids.  I then have the child lay on their back.  If I'm using one of the socks, I tuck a small pillow under their knees and lay the sock on top of that.  If I'm using the bear, it's thick enough that it elevates their knees on its own.  The key seems to be the combination of heat and elevation.  It eases the pain enough that the child is able to go back to sleep.  (Though some nights we have to get up and reheat the sock/bear a few times through the night--3x last night for my 6-year-old son.)

This has really helped us and our children.  I hope it helps you all, too!

Have you come up with any other methods to help with "growing pains?"  Please share! Pin It

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I love my pets!

Ok, this is just a random post.  This time of year, there's a big emphasis on being thankful.  One of the things I'm thankful for is my pets.

I've always been an animal person.  I've had tons of different pets over the years:  dogs, cats, gerbils, a rabbit, guinea pigs, fish, hermit crabs, and more.

We currently have the best dog in the world.

He's super-protective (especially when I'm pregnant).  We had a solicitor stop here the other day, and he asked if I'd please let him get down the block before I opened the front door again, so that our dog wouldn't get out.  What a good boy!  He was a shelter mutt we got when he was 10 weeks old and has been a joy for the past 6 years.  

Our cat is another one-of-a-kind.

She came to us from Freecycle when she was 6-weeks-old.  She's now 1.5 years old and is spoiled rotten.

We also have a betta, several guppies, some tetras, and some kuhli loaches in our ever-growing fish tanks.  The whole family loves our fish, getting attached to each one.  Many people don't realize that each has its own personality.

This is the latest addition to our little family.

Dubbed "Itchy" by my 8-year-old daughter, this tarantula was found by my in-laws while they were on vacation.  They caught it and brought it home with them to show everybody, and we brought it home to make it part of our family!  We're not sure yet if it's a male or female (we'll know next time it molts), but we do know it's not fully matured yet.  If it's a female, we could have her with us for the next 30+ years! So we're hoping.  (If it's a male, we could have him for 10+ years).

Anyway, this is the current line-up of our menagerie.  I'm hoping to maybe get a sand boa for my birthday next year, and we'll be getting more fish in the immediate future.    We're all super-attached to our pets--yes, even the fish and spider.  They're all very loved and are truly a part of the family!

What pets do you have that you're thankful for?

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