Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Halloween Craft – Spooky Slime

**This was written for our local Macaroni Kid newsletter! I figured I would share on my blog as well! Haven't heard of Macaroni Kid? Check to see if your local area has one HERE **

I don’t know about your home, but the slime craze hit my house hard over the past year. We have all sorts of different types, textures, and colors of slime. With Halloween right around the corner, I started thinking that we needed some spooky slime! I wanted something bright and Halloween themed. I headed to my local craft store and Target, and found everything I needed for some frightening new slime! I got all my ingredients for under $10 and if you have some of the items at home (ie. baking soda and contact solution) it could be even cheaper to make. This recipe makes a huge batch with plenty to share, plus it was an easy project to do with my two daughters.

So here is what you need to make spooky slime:

  • 1 cup of clear school glue (2- 5oz bottles)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • Bottle of Contact Solution
  • Lime green glitter (or color of your choice)
  • Halloween Confetti
  • Mixing bowl, measuring cups/ spoons, and a spatula to stir
  • A jar or container to store the finished product

Here’s how we make it:

Step 1: Measure out 1 cup of clear glue and pour it into a mixing bowl.

Step 2: Measure out 1 cup of water and pour in with the glue in the mixing bowl

Step 3: Mix until both the glue and the water are combined

Step 4: Add the glitter to the mixture. I used approximately ½ cup of fine lime green glitter. Stir until fully mixed.

Step 5: Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to the mixture. Continue to mix until completely dissolved.

Step 6: Add contact solution. I started out with 2 tablespoons and mixed. You can feel it starting to get stiffer. Keep mixing and add contact solution as needed until the mixture is no longer sticking to the bowl.

Step 7: Work in a few handfuls of confetti.

Step 8: Enjoy playing with your new spooky slime! Store it in a container or small mason jar when you finish playing with it! If it is sticking to your hands or any surfaces add more contact solution.

Lessons Learned: I always like to reflect on ways that I could do a project better. I was pretty impressed with how this came out. I do want to note that while getting your slime to the perfect consistency, it may get on your clothes if you are not careful. Somehow, I was the only one who managed to get it on both my jeans and shirt. The good news is that it came out in the washing machine with no problem or pretreat! Also, the contact solution will be your best friend when making the slime just the right consistency, but remember to add small amounts at a time. It’s always better to have to add more, then to have added too much!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Fall Craft - Yarn Pumpkins

**This was written for our local Macaroni Kid newsletter! I figured I would share on my blog as well! Haven't heard of Macaroni Kid? Check to see if your local area has one HERE **

I always welcome the fall season with open arms. Hello to the cooler days, changing leaves, and pumpkin spice everything! This season always gives me the warm fuzzy feeling as everyone comes together for apple festivals, pumpkin patches, and harvest fun! It also opens the door to crafting and decorating galore! I consider myself a pretty crafty person and enjoy making things to spruce up the house! When it was finally time to put my craftiness to work and create a fall craft with the kids, I went straight to Pinterest for ideas. When I look for crafts, I look for cheap, cute, and quick. As a mom, you know you don’t have much time to devote to crafting and if the kids are helping, you have even less time to try to keep them occupied. When I saw these cute little yarn pumpkins, I decided that they were a must try and I headed off to my local craft store. I was able to pick up a huge thing of orange yarn and some pipe cleaners for less than $5!

Here’s what you will need:
  • ·         Orange yarn
  • ·         Scissors
  • ·         Green pipe cleaner

Here’s how to do it:

  • Start by wrapping the yarn around your four fingers. I tucked the starting end to keep it nice and tight.

  • ·         Firmly (but not too tight or too loose) wrap the yarn neatly around your fingers about 120 times. The kids counted out loud with me (look at that, I added basic math skills into my craft! Mom win!)

  • ·         Once you are done wrapping, cut the yarn from the roll. Now cut a 10-inch piece of yarn.

  • ·       With the yarn still wrapped around your fingers, slide the 10-inch piece of yarn in between your two fingers.

  • ·       Pull the 10-inch piece tightly around the wrapped yarn and carefully slide the yarn off your fingers and pull tightly and tie it off. You now should see your pumpkin shape. Fluff your pumpkin out to make it look neat and rounded.

  • ·      Cut a 2-inch piece of green pipe cleaner and tie it on the pumpkin with the yarn that is holding your pumpkin into shape. Now fold in half and twist the pipe cleaner together to create a stem.

  • ·         Cut off any leftover yarn from your pumpkin.

There you have it, a yarn pumpkin ready to use to decorate! You can use your children’s hands to make different size pumpkins. You can also take some twine or string and create a pumpkin garland by tying the pumpkins into place before cutting the excess yarn from the pumpkin in the last step or you could just use them to decorate around the house or create a cute center piece for a table!

Lessons learned:
With any craft that I do, I like to reflect on any lessons that I learned along the way. I learned two very important ones with this project. First, do not wrap the yarn too tight around your fingers, your fingers will begin to turn purple and it makes the yarn hard to slide off. Second lesson learned was to wrap neatly. The first pumpkin I made I just wrapped quickly crossing all over the place and it made for a very messy looking pumpkin and me needing to redo it!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Dusting things off a bit

Hey! Remember me?! I used to blog here! It's funny how many posts that I create in my head all. the. time! I think to myself "that would be an awesome blog post" and sometimes I think out what I am going to say. Then I get here and see how long it's been since I last blogged. Blogging was something exciting to me, a place where I could call my own. I feel sad that I let it go away! I honestly contemplated starting a new blog, but I like this blog. I like my pictures, I like my set up, I like my past posts! So I figured, what the hey!, I will just stick with my old dusty blog. I think it's time I pick this back up! It's therapeutic and sometimes I need to just write! I thought about getting a journal and writing with a pen (I know! Weird right!), but I have carpal tunnel really bad and sometimes I can't even hold a pen in my hands! So here I am. I am back. I am taking this space back and picking up where I left off! I decided I need to focus on taking better care of me, physically and mentally!

So what is different since I have last blogged. Wellllll.....

Hailey: She is 9 now and in the fourth grade! That totally freaks me out!!! She is still taking gymnastics and has gotten really good at it. She hopes to go to the Olympics one day, which no offense, she's not ANY where near that level, but I am happy she is confident in her abilities! I on the other hand, have never done a cartwheel, so whatever girl friend does is way better then any skill her momma has! It has been awesome to see her blossom in gymnastics. I was highly impressed at the end of season show this summer! Hailey is also a Girl Scout! We started last Fall as a Brownie and we bridged on over to a Junior at the end of Spring! Her troop consists of 3 girls, so it's small, but it has been a good experience for her and I enjoy all the events we go to and things we have learned! I think it is important to give back to the community. I think this generation growing up now is a very entitled generation, so anything I can do to show her about hard work and that not everyone has it as easy as most kids do, is important to me. She also spends a lot of time reading, playing legos, and watching Netflix or minecraft on her ipod (we need to work on that last one!).

Emily: She is now 2 and is a wild child. She is a mess. She is the sweetest baby and is always making us laugh and is just the cutest, but girlfriend is BAD. I always get that there are no such thing as a bad baby, but spend sometime with Emily! I watch her eyes as she walks around looking for things to get into! She goes to daycare and is loving it! We had a hard time transitioning from the toddlers into the Twos room, but now she is super happy there! She has learned so much! She is my late bloomer! She's off the charts tiny for her age, but she is a feisty one! She also had the doctors concerned over the delay in motor skills, but she has definitely caught up with that! The pediatrician had referred us to get some interventional therapy services for her, but we decided to hold off for a month and see what she did. Well the day she turned 17 months, she literally stood up at daycare and walked over and grabbed a block. Everyone was so shocked!!! Like she walked over there like she had been doing it all the her life! Now she runs and hops everywhere! And we have even dabbled with the potty! She is extremely interested and goes when you sit her on it! Let's seeeee... what else about Emily....she likes to stay busy and is always on the go! She also is uniquely OCD and likes to clean and wipe everything. We literally have to hide the wipes because she goes through them cleaning everything!!

Me: I still work at the same place and make the same time-consuming commute. I don't really do much other then work and take care of my girls. Ha! I am pretty boring to be honest!

Welp! That's enough updating for me right now! Hopefully I will keep coming back and really start using my blog for myself!

But let me leave you with a newer picture of the girls!!!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The time the baby broke her leg!

So it's been awhile......LONNNNNNG TIME!

But let me tell you about the interesting time that my wild child has been having!

We got her helmet off in April! Wahoo! And then we began physical therapy which was twice a week and she hated every minute of it. We made it 2 weeks of appointments when we had to call a quits about it. "Why" you ask? Because my sweet baby girl BROKE HER LEG!

Yup! You read that right! We spent 5 weeks in a hot pink cast after a tibia fracture!

It was a Friday afternoon and I had a full day and night ahead of us. I had called Hailey's school and told them that I needed to pick her up because we needed to head to Maryland that night. I was quickly getting ready and I put Emily on the bed to drink her bottle so we could get ready to go. I had been folding clothes so I had them up on the edge so I figured she would be fine since she was eating her bottle. I wasn't in the bathroom long, before I heard her stirring and then I heard it. She fell off the bed. I will be honest, she has fallen before and usually scares her and then is good to go, but this time was different. The cry was awful and after it I had a horrible time consoling her. I couldn't get her to calm down. I just knew that something was wrong. I was finally able to get her to nap and rest for a bit in hope that she would calm herself down and be okay when she woke up. She slept for about 20 minutes before I had to wake her for therapy. Unfortunately she went back to crying. I could not find anything visibly wrong with her, but the way she was crying was killing me. I put her in her car seat while I was trying to figure out what to do. I finally called Kenny. He was upset with me like I expected, but he did tell me to just take her to therapy and have them evaluate her.

I got her all strapped in and put her in the car. I noticed she had her leg bent so I straightened it out and she screamed. I immediately lost it! I knew she was hurt. I drove down the road trying to figure out what to do. I stopped at the first place I got service and called physical therapy. The girl could barely understand me because I was so upset and crying so hard. I then tried to call her pediatrician and was put on hold for 10 minutes and finally hung up. I was at a lot of what to do. I knew if I took her to the hospital that I would not be able to get to Hailey in time. So I decided to go grab her early. I was able to compose myself to get her from school, but lost it again once I had to tell Hailey that Emily was hurt. Of course she looks in the carrier and Emily immediately smiles! She looked at me like I was crazy, but Emily had had such a sad look on her face until she saw Hailey.

 I decided to take her to the Urgent Care. I sat in the waiting room crying because I felt so upset about Emily falling and possibly being hurt. When we were taken back the nurse was trying to comfort me and told me stories of her kids falling off the bed and assured me that she would be okay. She gets the doctor to come in and talk to me and the doctor informed me that she needed to go to the ER where they could take care of her because she needed head and back CTs and they couldn't do that there and how there could be serious trauma. So I was sent on my way more upset then before.

I decided before going to the hospital to look Emily over one more time. I pulled over and got her out of her seat and tried to get her to stand. She would not stand no matter how hard I tried. I put her back in the car and went back to crying and drove to the hospital. I called Kenny and told him and asked what he thought and he answered with "Do what you think, but remember you are the one who is going to have to explain what happened!" That was not helpful.

By the time I got to the hospital I was prepared to talk to Social Services, CPS, the police, anyone who may think that I was hurting my child. Luckily I did not have to deal with any of that. I think they could tell that she was a happy healthy kid and that I was more than remorseful. We moved through the ER quickly and was taken back for a "babygram" which is a full body xray. The doctor said basically based on the fact that she would scream when he got close that he really thought she was okay because if something was wrong her cry would be much different when he touched her in a spot that hurt. I was panicked when they came back for more xrays. I thought maybe they had seen something, but after 4 hours in the ER we were discharged with a clean bill of health! I was so thankful!

That weekend Emily was still off. You could tell her leg was bothering her, but she was using it. She would whimper when you touched it, but she was overall pretty happy! She would use it to scoot around the floor, but she would not stand on it. She would not put any weight on it at all. She would stand like a little flamingo.

I decided to take off that Monday and called FIRST thing in the morning to make an appointment with her pediatrician just to double check that everything was still good. I got an appointment and headed in. I got a huge lecture about not putting babies where they could fall, yes I clearly know that and have learned my lesson! And she rubbed Emily's legs and said everything looked good with how she reacted, but because she was not putting any weight on it, she said we needed another xray to just ensure that it was just sore and nothing serious. There was no bruising or swelling so we were hopeful things would be good.

Let's just say, xrays at the hospital were torture, and then having to redo them sucked even more so! But she was a champ and we were in and out at the hospital imaging center. I decided we could go to the mall and hang out for a bit. We were walking around Sephora when I looked at my phone and saw I had a missed call. I listened to my voicemail and it was her pediatrician office calling to tell me that her leg was fractured and that they needed to talk to me right away. I hurried up and called her back and while waiting on hold Kenny beeped in multiple times. He had also received a phone call and they were looking for me. I cried as they told me her little leg was broken and we had to be seen right away and that they were able to get me in with our local ortho and that we needed to get there right away because they were waiting for us.

So we got on the highway and drove to ortho where we sat for about an hour. Emily was just as happy as could be. I kept looking at her thinking "how could she be this happy if her leg is broken?!". Let's just say the orthopedic doctor wasn't overly friendly and I think I was being screened for child abuse, which whatever, I am sure they see things all the time and people tell them innocent stories like mine all the time. I had nothing to hide even though I did not like the feeling. He looked her leg over and touched one spot and she lost it! Clearly the part where it was broken was definitely sensitive. He looked the xrays over and said we had no choice, but to cast it. That was an awful process, but not as awful as when it had to come off. The doctor did finally lighten up on me when he could see how upset I was as I  was holding her down while they were casting.

We spent 48 hours trying to keep her leg elevated to avoid swelling which could of made for a medical emergency. She didn't seem in pain at all and was ready to get down when her time was up. She quickly adapted and was back to scooting and moving all over the place! We spent 5 long weeks in the cast, but when all was said and done the new xray showed that it was a complete heal and she was good to go. Her little leg was itchy when the cast came off, which let me just add again was an awful experience! I made Kenny go with me to help, which I definitely needed it! After she got ahold of her leg, she ended up scratching it until it bled on the way home from the doctors! Luckily that is healed and it's been about 2 weeks and you would have never of known she broke her leg!

I am so glad that is behind us. It was an extremely hard time. I was upset it happened and I was upset that the hospital missed the break and she spent all weekend using her broken leg. I am just thankful that I listened to my mommy instincts and followed up with her doctor. We would have just gone on thinking it was sore and never would have known it was broken. And I was comforted by about 95% of every mom that I talked to who shared their stories of kids falling off couches and beds. I have since not allowed her to be alone on anywhere, but the floor. I have definitely learned my lesson about that!

So now here are some pictures from the time the baby broke her leg!

Our ER visit from the first night! Her sister took amazing care of her!

Can you believe this baby had a broken leg?!
This was before we went to her pediatrician appointment!

Later that day! This was during our elevation process!

And her concerned sister was always there to help her!

This was the same face I made when they told us we had 3 more weeks left at our 2 week check up! We were hopeful for 3 weeks total, but ended up with 5 weeks!

Right before it came off!

We got a leg back!!!!!

This was her damage done from having an itchy leg! Luckily she is all healed now!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

We have a Graduate!

I have a graduate on my hands........a Doc Band Graduate that is!

Emily graduated from her Doc Band on April 28th! I was so excited for her appointment. The night before we went to Build a Bear and made a new special friend for her to give her Doc Band to! We named him Doc, how clever are we (ha)! I also ordered her fourteen a couple bows for her full head of hair she has grown! The day of her graduation I got her all dressed up, including her new head band with bow! I was so excited that we had made it so far and that it was finally time! I also scheduled it on a day so that Kenny could go with us! So I was pretty excited about having his company for the trip!

For our exit appointment we had more scans done and met with our clinician Kelly to go over the results! The changes were amazing and I was very pleased for the most part. There is still some flatness to her head and Kelly said that if I had not of said that this was our one and only band, they would have recommended another one. Of course I was second guessing my decision, but Kenny said that we are done, so I am now at peace with that. Emily got to put her band on Doc and she also received an official diploma! We are officially done with her band! Wahoo!




Tuesday, May 26, 2015

10 Things I have Learned About Being a Plagiocephaly Mom

Oh my little Emily! She definitely has had an interesting first year of life. If you read my blog often, you will know that she was diagnosed with plagiocephaly and torticollis back in December. Torticollis is the stiffening of the neck, where plagiocephaly is the flat spot on the back of the head which typically goes with it. We were referred out to the awesome Cranial Technologies in Annandale, VA. And believe me it was a learning curve for both of us. Emily had to get used to a helmet and well, I had to get used to a helmet also. I have been thinking about this post for quite some time. I frequent the support boards and often see a lot of questions that I also asked. I didn't find the board until we had less then a month left, but I try to answer questions fairly often on it. So I came up with 10 things I have learned about being a plagiocephaly mom!

She didn't like it at first!

1. Don't worry if you can't say plagiocephaly.

Plagiocephaly- So plagiocephaly means "oblique head". Plagio is greek for "oblique" and "cephale" means head. You deserve an award if you can say it correctly. I have heard it used by the doctors and clinicians numerous times and have yet to be able to say it correctly! And honestly it doesn't really matter because when you tell people what your child has, they are still going to say "what's that?"

2. Get evaluated, even if you are scared.

We noticed Emily's head shape in November. She was most likely born that way, but they said that she probably had a growth spurt that made it more obvious. When the doctor looked at it, she told me that she felt it needed to evaluated and that it may be pushing down one of Emily's ears which could cause asymmetry to the face. I honestly didn't want to get evaluated because I def did not want her to have a helmet or to know that there was a problem. Just go and get it done. I asked Cranial Technologies if they ever tell people that their kid doesn't need it and was told from time to time, but typically patients are already screened by the doctors before coming in. Also there is a short window and the sooner it is caught, the faster and better the change is. Just go!

3. It's a big expense, but it is worth every penny.

The band cost $3800, but since we were in-network we were able to get it down to $2500. From there the insurance gave me $700. This left us coming out of pocket $1800. It was a big burden for us. We don't have a savings account and although we live comfortably, we didn't have the extra money to pay for it. I was able to use my Care Credit card which allows me to have interest free for the first year. I also contacted my insurance and have been in process of appealing for more money towards this. I already had a complete summary of Emily's evaluation and a letter from her pediatrician on file for them to cover anything, and I then wrote them a 2 page letter asking for further assistance. It was spendy and not something that we wanted to use money on, but it was so worth it in the end. Also make sure you contact your insurance and see what other options there are for you. Fingers crossed for June 4th!

4. It's scary, but you will get used to it.

I remember sitting in Cranial Technologies waiting room on the day she got her helmet completely sick to my stomach about it. I saw another Mom checking out and was able to ask her some questions. One of my biggest questions was "how do you get used to taking your child out with it". Her response was alot like my experience. Honestly it is hard to take them out and get the different looks, but you do get used to it. She told me that she had a hard time, but she figured that she couldn't hide in the house for 16 weeks. This was very true.

5. People will stare and ask lots of questions.

People can come off so rude. I had my first question probably 50 steps out of the office while waiting for the elevator. "What's that thing on IT'S head?" I have gotten a lot of interesting questions and also lots of stares. Usually when I caught someone staring they would quickly add "look at those eyes" or "wow look how alert she is". Hello big elephant in the room! Just try not to let it bother you. Many people will ask you why they have it on and then go on to tell you a story of some distant relative. Just smile and try not to let it bother you. I don't think that there was a time at gymnastics where I didn't hear a kid ask their parent. And although I still got slightly embarrassed, I just said "it's to help make her head nice and round". And typically it ended there. I heard a little girl at gymnastics say "LOOK DADDY THAT BABY HAS A HELMET ON" and his response was "And?" and that was the end of that conversation she quickly went on to something else. Just let it roll!

6. Don't worry about siblings, it's not as bad as we think.

I was so concerned about what Hailey was going to think and if she would be embarrassed by her baby sister. To my surprise, she wasn't at all! In fact, she was super protective of her. She did not like people starring at Emily and even more she didn't like people asking about it. We were in the grocery store and a little girl asked "what's that thing on that baby's head" and Hailey was so upset and loudly said "that is so rude". I seriously thought I was going to have to hold my 7 year old back from fighting this maybe 4 year old. I explained that it was innocent and she wasn't being mean, but curious. She still wasn't happy. She also was always sure to tell Emily how cute she looked. She told me that even though she didn't want Emily to have to wear it, she wanted Emily to know that she was still very cute with it on!

7. Pay attention! You are the parent so you know what is best.

One of the biggest challenges is making sure those little hot headed babies do not over heat! I often times got questions like "where is that baby's socks?!" or "why is she not in long sleeves?!". It was so easy for Emily to over heat and people don't typically know that babies usually let most of their heat out from their heads. With the helmet trapping it in, she would get hot fast! This makes them get sweaty and they also can develop heat rash in the band from the extra moisture. Neither of these are good! So honestly less is best. Their little feet may be cold, but as long as their stomach is warm to touch, then they are fine. And don't let anyone make you feel bad for not having proper clothes on. You know what's best and what works for your child.

8. If you see a red spot, then make sure it is completely gone before putting it back on.

I made that mistake once and it set us back an entire week. We were told in the first 72 hours while doing the skin checks throughout the day, to make sure to look for red spots. Well Emily had one and I waited the hour and it was going away, but not quite gone. I knew it was important to get the band back on and how much they stressed about the importance getting her to the 23 hour stage. So I figured it was going away and I put it back on. This started her 23 hours and the next night I was horrified when I saw what it looked like. It had created friction burns on her face. The band was off until it healed and I ended up having to take her back up the road to the office 3 times before it could go back on. So those red spots are no joke. If you see one, then it's better to leave it off, even if you have to sleep them without the band, then to put it back on.

9. Listen to the experts- other mom's who have been there and have advice.

I was lucky that I was able to message with another mom who had been through the same thing with her son. She told me to use a little powder on Emily's forehead (even though the doctors said that was not allowed because it was not approved by the FDA with the band) and it helped alot with the red spots. Also she told me to stock up on alcohol since I would need to be cleaning it so often. She told me what she would do for her son and where she would get it for the best deal. I am glad I listened to her and she was the first on I messaged when Emily had the friction burns asking if it was normal. I am glad I had her advice. I also see a lot of good advice on the boards. Seek a friend or a group with parents who have done this. They can help you out a lot more than the clinicians are willing to say.

10. This isn't your fault.

I spent a good amount of time feeling bad about Emily's head. Although they said it was most likely the ways she formed in the womb, I still felt bad! And sometimes little comments people would make would add a little more sting to my thoughts. "So did you leave her in the crib to long?" or "Would it have been better if you held her more". Just let those roll off your back. This isn't your fault and honestly compared to so many more scary things out there, this is just a temporary thing. It will be okay, but please don't blame yourself.

I hope that these are helpful tips for someone. It's scary when you start out, but it flies by and will be over so fast. And believe me, the changes were amazing and it will be worth it in the end!