Apr 19, 2015

How to Survive Allergy Season

I spent most of my life blissfully unaware of the reality of allergies. Yes it was wonderful and no I had no idea at the time how lucky I was to not have any allergies. Now when the weather turns warm for the first time I no longer run to open the windows and let the fresh air in since I know that air is filled with pollen. Here in North Carolina every surface is covered in yellow and I make sure I take some allergy medicine every morning. I'm teaming up with MinuteClinic to bring you some tips in this sponsored post on how to survive allergy season, all opinions are mine.

The year I was diagnosed with seasonal allergies I thought I had a cold that wouldn't go away. I was teaching Kindergarten at the time and I blamed my students on feeling so miserable all the time. When I finally went to the doctor he told me that I probably had allergies and sent me to get tested. Sure enough I developed allergies as an adult and didn't even know it.

I'm not alone in that diagnosis, 35 million Americans suffer from allergies and don't even know it. It's not surprising since colds and allergies have the same symptoms. A few clear signs that you are suffering from allergies is when your eyes are itchy, your symptoms last longer than 10 days, and your symptoms start at the same time every year.

MinuteClinic can help you get through this allergy season. While avoiding the allergen is the best treatment option, it's not always practical or even a realistic option. I have recess duty everyday so it's impossible for me to avoid being around pollen. When avoided your allergens is not an option, head to MinuteClinic. Their nurse practitioners and physicians assistants can recommend the right over-the-counter medications and write prescriptions when medically appropriate.

How to Survive the Allergy Season

1. If you're like me and you know you suffer from allergies start taking allergy medicine a few weeks before your symptoms start. 

·         2. It's impossible to keep your kids from coming into contact w/ pollen, but it is possible to get relief - fast! 

·        3. Shake it off! Before coming inside, rid your clothes of pollen with a good shake.

·         4. Did you know hair gel could be a pollen magnet? Skip the sticky stuff during allergy season for a little extra relief.

·        5.  Avoid window fans! While convenient, they tend to bring in unwanted pollens or mold spores.

·        6.  Don't accessorize w/ itchy red eyes! Visit MinuteClinic for the allergy relief you need: 

·        7.   Pull out the shades! Sunglasses protect your eyes from pollen, while keeping you looking stylish at the same time.

·         8. Fall asleep on clean sheets. Wash your bedding every two weeks to help ease allergy symptoms.

For more information about allergies you can visit your local MinuteClinic at CVS. They are opened 7 days a week so you can visit when it's convenient for you.

Apr 1, 2015

Major Progress with Cerebral Palsy

If you looked at my son today, you wouldn't see Cerebral Palsy. The most common comment I hear today when people learn that Mark has Cerebral Palsy is that they would never guess that or that they can't tell. I never know what to say to that but I understand the sentiment.

Today as I talked with the OT at school I was reminded just how far my son has come in 5 years while I went over his history with her.

Mark's tone in his hands was so severe that he couldn't open his hands on his own until he was 7 months old. His hands were always in a fist and we had to pry them open.

Hands always fisted

There was a time when we were told that Mark would never walk. After over a year of intensive therapy, Mark finally took his first steps at 17 months. It was a few more months before we was walking like a typically developing toddler. I'll never forget the day he took his first steps during PT, it was the happiest day of my life. Today he can run, climb, dance, and do pretty much anything any other typically developing 5 year old can do.

At almost three Mark was diagnosed as borderline nonverbal. I didn't even know such a title existed. He had about 15 words but rarely used them since gestures and his sisters did enough talking for him. Today I can't get the kid to be quiet and he never stops talking. Sometimes I'm able to remind myself that this is a good thing but usually I take it for granted.

sweet twins

At three Mark was also diagnosed - severally globally delayed. He tested in the lowest range in all five areas that they test. It was a rough day hearing a PANEL of "experts" tell me that my son sucks. Of course they didn't use those words but they might as well have and they didn't think at three that traditional school was in Mark's future anytime soon. Today Mark is almost on target with his peers. He's just a little behind and he's going to traditional Kindergarten in the fall with his twin.

handsome dancer

It's amazing to me how far Mark has come in just 5 years. The tiny baby that started therapy in the NICU is now a strong, independent little boy. He even takes ballet and tap once a week and is doing great in class! He can hang in there with the other preschoolers and if I do say so myself, he's a handsome little dancer.

Mar 28, 2015

Win a Bottle of Dial Sugar Cane Husk Scrub

There was a time before I had children when I bought fancy expensive hand soap. After having three kids that just wasn't in the budget anymore. Thankfully after trying Dial soap I realized that you don't have to spend tons on money to get a great product. I was sent a sample of Dial Sugar Cane Husk Scrub to facilitate this review.

In my house we need soap that smells good. I don't know what it is about my kids but they will not use soap that doesn't smell good. I'm pretty sure they get it from me. OK fine they definitely get it from me, I won't use soap that doesn't smell good either.

My favorite part about the Dial Sugar Cane Husk Scrub is the scrubbing part. I'm using this soap in the kitchen and it's perfect for washing your hands after handling raw meat. I just feel like my hands are really getting clean, Like the sugar is doing a better job than plain soap alone.

But don't worry, this soap will not try out your hands. It is very soothing and makes your hands fell soft. It's almost like exfoliating your hands like you would exfoliate your face. The smell is pretty good too since it smells like sugar. Who doesn't like the smell of sugar?

I have two coupons to giveaway to two lucky readers so they can try the Dial Sugar Cane Husk Scrub for themselves. Enter on the Rafflecopter form to win, US residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer - I received a sample of Dial soap as a member of Purex Insiders. No further compensation was provided and all opinions are mine. 

Mar 24, 2015

Do You Train Your Child?

Even if you haven't spent much time in church you've heard the verse "train a child how you want them to go and he will not depart from it."

I'm not going to lie, I laugh when people quote that to me. First of all it's a proverb or a wise saying not a biblical truth. You can train your kids all you want but free will is what will determine their path. Should you still try? Absolutely but it's not a guarantee. Darn kids will do what they want, just like we all did.

So am I training my kids how I want them to go? Yes and I hope they do in fact follow.

One hope that I have is that this sweet little guy will actually become a chef or at least a husband who cooks when he grows up.

That sweet boy is my little sous chef. Mark is always in the kitchen with me helping me get dinner on the table or making a special desert. I'm investing some serious time in his culinary skills. Do you know how long it take to teach a young child how to use a knife properly? There are some days that I do not have the patience to have him help me, but most nights you'll find him in the kitchen by my side.

I'm convinced that one day this little man will make dinner for the family. I fantasize about coming home from work and finding dinner ready on the table. No more cooking for this mom, Mark is on the job.

Hey, I did say it was a fantasy.

But that is EXACTLY where I want my training to go.

Only time will tell if my training will pay off. Until then I have this video of him practicing his knife skills at the ripe ole age of five to keep me happy. Even if his crazy sisters are screaming bloody murder in the background.

 Are you training your child to do something specific that you hope will pay off one day?

Mar 19, 2015

Win a Bottle of Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash

Personally I'm not a fan of bar soap, I prefer body wash. It's a small thing in the grand scheme of things but I like having a nice bottle of good smelling body wash in the shower.

I don't know about you but nothing wakes me up in the morning like a shower. While coffee and a child jumping in my bed telling me that they are wet does give me a jolt, there is nothing like a shower to nicely wake me up and give me energy. It's nice taking a little time to myself in the morning to get ready. And now that my kids are a little older, I actually get to take a shower without interruption 4 out of 7 tries. Ah the life of a mom.

Dial body wash has been in my shower for years now. Not only do I like their products but the price can't be beat. I tried the Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash in exchange for this review, however all opinions are mine. I was very intrigued to try Dial's newest product since caring oils are a new beauty trend that I've read about recently.

One thing I've always liked about Dial's body wash is that it lathers well. I hate it when a body wash doesn't lather up. I want loads of bubbles and foam and Dial always delivers in that area. I also want a body wash that will rinse clean and leave me with soft skin.

The new Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash not only lathers well but it is very moisturizing.My skin felt soft and smooth after using it. The scent is very mild which I happen to like. I was happy to add it to my skin care routine.

Thanks to Dial, you don't have to take my word for it. You can enter to win a bottle of Dial Miracle Oil Body Wash. Use the Rafflecopter form to win, three winner will be drawn.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mar 8, 2015

5 Reasons Time Change Sucks When You're a Parent

I loath time change! I think most people think it sucks in general, but parents truly hate time change. Everything and I do mean everything is just a little thrown off by the time moving one hour. It takes me at least a week to adjust to the new time.

Just a few reasons why time change sucks when you're a parent.

1. There is no such thing as an extra hour of sleep when you're a parent.
Remember when you were childless and fall back meant you got an extra hour of sleep? Not so much when you're a parent. Nope the kids still wake up on time if not earlier just to throw you off your game. And when we spring forward that hour either means you're dragging kids out of bed for church (me) or your entire day is thrown off.

2. Dinner hour is pure torture
By dinner, the kids are exhausted and completely thrown off schedule. Prepare for some seriously cranky kids come dinner hour. I always make pasta for dinner so at least the kids won't complain about what they are eating. Tonight Molly was falling asleep in her pasta she was so tired.

3. Nap time? What is that?
My most vivid memory of young kids and time change was that they couldn't nap. It is either too early or too late and they didn't want to go down for a nap.

4. Waking up before the sun rises
Tomorrow morning I get the pleasure of waking up my kids before the sun rises. Even at the young ages of 5 and 7 they get that a normal person doesn't wake up before the sun. I see an extra splash of cream in my coffee tomorrow as a reward for getting out the door tomorrow.

5. Dinner is late
Oh yet another dinnertime nightmare, when you forget to start cooking because the sun hasn't set yet. It takes me a few days to realize that it is getting later even though the sunlight is still streaming through the windows. I promise you we will eat late at least three times this week if history is any indicator.

Yes dinner was late tonight, so the kids went to bed late. Pretty sure this is part of the vicious cycle of why time change sucks so much. So pour a glass of wine tonight and know that you are not alone in your misery. This too shall pass and we will adjust only to the new time.

And then we will fall back.

Feb 25, 2015

Birthday Party or Family Vacation

My husband and I think we started a new family tradition without planning on it; family vacations instead of birthday parties.

Last November we went to Washington DC for a long weekend to visit with my cousins from Australia. It was right around Mark and Molly's birthday and they decided that it was their birthday trip. We didn't think anything of it and went along with it. I planned on having a movie theater birthday party for them in early December but when the time came to invite their friends they announced that they didn't want a party.

I was sad even though I'm not a fan of parties. What kind of mother doesn't throw a birthday party for their kids? But my twins wouldn't budge, they did not want a party!

Their birthday came and went and to my dismay they never changed their minds about having a party. The guilt stayed with me for weeks and I tried every angle I could to get Mark and Molly to have a party. Talk about mom guilt.

Fast forward to January and we started asking Isabella what kind of birthday party she wanted. All on her own she said she didn't want a party, instead she wanted to go to the beach.


This time there was no guilt, if she didn't want a party then why worry about it? Instead I planned a great weekend and let Isabella decide what she wanted to do and eat.

We went to Myrtle Beach last weekend for her birthday. We stayed at a resort with apartment style rooms and indoor pools and lazy rivers. The kids all had a blast and Isabella said it was the best birthday ever. As far as family trips go we had so much fun swimming and hanging out together. It was the most relaxing family trip we've ever taken. Plus the resort was dead being mid February so we practically had the place to ourselves. It was nice enough on Sunday to enjoy some playtime on the beach.

Before we left Mark and Molly said they wanted to go to a different beach next year for their birthday party. So maybe a new family tradition has started?

I can get on board with taking two extra vacations a year instead of throwing a birthday party.

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