Friday, October 31, 2014

Owl Treats

It seems every year that someone studies owls

So for years I have been making these treats for classes. They are super easy and cute and the kids and teachers love them!

This year they went out to 2nd Grade; Melina's class.

graham crackers
large marshmallows
candy wafers (orange or yellow)
chocolate chips
candy corn
cookie icing tube

preheat broiler.

break graham crackers in half and lay about 6 at a time on a try. Broil for about 30-45 seconds- just until marshmallows start to get soft and very light brown.

Remove and immediately place candies to make the face. I put a dab of icing on each piece so it sticks. 

Let cool and dry before placing in container or everything will stick together.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Kitchen Command Center...keeping life semi-organized

How do you keep 4 kids organized? 

Honestly I'm not sure I always do, but I certainly try...My OCD would have it no other way! 

I get a lot of questions about how I organize things, so I'll share with you my system in this house. The layout of your house has a lot to do with how things work for you, so what works for me, might not work for you.

This is my KITCHEN COMMAND CENTER. The kitchen is the heart of the home, so everything stems from here. I have an office and an entry way, etc. but this is where all the action is, so this is the best place for most things to stem from. 

Our calendar, my computer, pens, pencils, envelopes, kids school folders, etc...anything important or essential is in this area.

After the kids unpack, they bring their school folders up and put them in the magazine rack there next to the pen/pencil organizer. From there we can go through them. There papers that stay home, but are NOT IMPORTANT get put in the wire basket and we go through them every weekend. That way they can show dad what they have been working on etc. 

Anything that is important, I take out and try to take care of right away, OR it goes in the little pocket in my desktop organizer. I know things in there need attention. 

The pad of paper is ALWAYS sitting there next to my computer. Its my go to TO DO. I jot down anything that comes to mind that needs to be done, whether it be call doctor or buy eggs.

The bottom magazine racks have coupons (think pizza and Chinese), recipes, and school things like math games, workbooks, etc that stay at home. 

These ticket jars are our behavior system. Each child starts the week with 40 tickets. Anytime they don't listen, talk back, etc. etc. a ticket get s taken away. If its a large offense, 5 tickets get taken away. Believe me, they do NOT like to see tickets disappear!!

At the end of the week they can "shop" in the family store. There are just little goodies and they all have "price tags" on them labeled with the number of tickets it cost to get them. They look forward to the family store because its little treats they don't get on a regular basis.

On the wall is our family calendar. I use the COZI app on my phone religiously, but this way we can see what is going on at a glace. Its color coded per kid, so they like to look too and see what they have going on that day.

We have a weekly calendar and I just write chore for the kids on there daily. 

And then the folder is just things that need to go down stairs to the office, like mail, or things that need filed, etc. 

And then I just have this bulletin board where I put birthday invites, doctor notes, whatever I might need. 

I keep the school lunch calendar and each child's weekly newsletter on the fridge.

I had this piece made. I needed some kind of organization for the kids coats, backpacks, shoes and sports stuff. It has worked wonders! I LOVE IT!! It pretty much spooks for itself. This is located right inside where we come in from the garage. Which is on the lower level.

So there you have it. Thats how I try to keep everyone organized and not forget that it is spirit week and book fair in the elementary school and dance observation week and we have cub scout snack and an orthodontist appointment, etc.....

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Harvest Hoedown

My little cowboy!
I have heard the comment from a lot of people now, "Boy, the south must be a culture shock for you coming from Ohio!" Well, I wouldn't say that, but there are some the fact that its October 26th and we are still wearing shorts instead of winter coats. Another might be that instead of Halloween parties they have I put on my cowboy boots (Ok, I really don't have any boots) and got to work. 

I am so lucky to be able to volunteer for Carson's preschool and the Elementary school. Ya'll know how happy I am be involved! So of course, I loved being able to help plan the hoedown! And it gave me a chance to meet some other great moms too! So much FUN!!

Each child had this place setting

Check out the whole table

I made these little bags for the popcorn

And Rice Krispie Hay Stacks 

And Smores Pops! YUM!!

Enjoying Lunch!

Each class had to come up with a game, our game was horse races

Carson bouncing his way down his lane!

Are they not adorable?!?!

So happy to spend the day with my little man!
(notice I did dress in plaid for the occasion!)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Alopecia...what that?

The Wikipedia definition is: Alopecia areata (AA) is a condition in which hair is lost from some or all areas of the body, usually from the scalp.

I took a picture of it at the competition
Last April, when putting Melina's hair up in a high ponytail for her Nationals dance competition award ceremony, I gasped....what was that? There was a huge bald spot at the bottom of her scalp. Did she cut it? Nope there were no hair follicles (you can tell when a kid cuts their hair- I speak from experience). When we got home I searched her bed and her hairbrush and honestly just about everywhere for a huge clump of hair....nothing. We could not see a specialist in Ohio since our insurance was in Alabama. At least, without paying full price, so we waited a bit. It wasn't like she was loosing clumps at a time. 

But I will admit my mind was all over the place...what was wrong? Does she have cancer? Some sort of crazy rare disease?

It did continue to grow

When we got to Birmingham I made an appointment with a dermatologist. She was diagnosed with Alopecia. I had heard of it before, but didn't really know what caused it. How did she "get it?" And what can we do to stop it...and reverse it? It is an auto immune disease that can lay dormant in your body and then just "pop up" at any time. Stress can bring it on, but there is no real answer and we will never know what triggered it for sure. We have done bloodwork and ruled out ringworm and thyroid disease and other things that can cause it. Its hard not have an answer. This type A mom like to know the details!

The first thing we need to do is to stop the follicles from falling out. The hair follicles, when you look at them should be growing larger under the scalp (think triangle) but hers are opposite and getting skinnier. That is how the dermatologist can tell if the hair loss is still "growing". 

The first thing we tried was a very high dose of oral steroids. She was an emotional wreck for weeks. Nothing to do with the actual loss of hair but the steroids just made her super sensitive. I had to take deep breaths at times and realize that this is not her- don't get angry. When we went back month later, there was no fact, it was still growing. I was bummed...really bummed!! We went through all of that for nothing. 

Okay...on to the next step...steroid injections straight into her scalp. She was so brave!!! It might have hurt me more to watch than it did her. She got 7-10 injection in her head each month for 3 months (going up in strength each time)...still NOTHING!! 

The hair loss is still growing.

She is a girly girl, who dances, just moved to a new city and a new school, and trying to make new friends... AND She is THE MOST BRAVE girl ever!!! 

She is POSITIVE and HAPPY!!! On the first day of school she stood up in front of her class and told everyone about her hair loss and the injections and what she is going through. AMAZING!!!! I am SO PROUD of my girl!!! And I have told her how strong and brave she is and how I am so very proud that she would have the courage to do that!!!

This has only made her stronger!! As she looses more hair in noticeable spots, like the top of her head, she gets a lot of questions. She just tells everyone what is, how its caused, and then goes on...

Only once has she broken down to me and said, "I feel like I am going to loose all my hair!" What a hard moment for me. I want to be strong for her, but in that moment it was so hard!! 

Since the first two things did not work we are onto the last step. In laymen's terms they made her body allergic to an acid which we are applying to her scalp in order to trick her body into fighting that instead of losing hair.

The first step is to make her allergic to it. They did this by putting the acid on a spot on her behind. When it looked like the picture, it was working. It was time to apply to her scalp. Since it was a mix that had to be made up in a lab we had to find a special pharmacy to make it. The first could not do it, so they passed the script onto another one. I picked it up and applied it that night...

The next day she was red and itchy and it kept getting worse and worse. The school nurse called and I went in with some cream. I called the dermatologist and they were not concerned. The school nurse called again..she was miserable. I called the doctor back. Luckily I have a good repport with the nurse, because the doctor thought I might be overreacting. She and I had talked so much she knew I was not the crazy type and decided to look into it. She figured out that the pharmacy made 1% acid, which I applied to her head, when the actual dosage should have been 0.01%....Opppps!!!! So basically we burnt her head. It was awful!!! But again...she is THE BRAVEST!!!

We let her heal and are now applying the CORRECT amount of acid. We got back in a couple weeks to see if this is working. It has been an emotional roller coaster. But she is happy, is not sick, and its only hair. Do I want to fix it for her, YES!!!! But I know I am doing all I can, so I can't let any mommy guilt get to me. That won't help. 

The headband below was sent by a good friend; it covers the front of her hair...and LOOK how cute she looks in it! She LOVES it!!

Several people have even offered to cut their hair if she ever needs it. JUST AMAZING!!!

Hopefully we will go back and see some results....
Keep your fingers crossed for her!!!