Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sick... Check the date! Learn from my mistake!

Do you use the TimeHop app? Well, today, I was looking at it, and it reminded me what happened three years ago. We (kids and husband) were shopping after a day of fun at the beach and eating out. We had just started shopping when my skin was starting to hurt, and I felt extremely nauseated. I am extremely fair skinned, and I ALWAYS wear a high number of sunscreen. We also sit under either a tent or umbrellas especially since we have kids. I have an allergy to egg whites and wondered if I was having an allergic reaction. All I knew is I was getting extremely sick and very fast. I was tired, my head was killing me, and I needed to sit down, and I knew, very soon, I was going to throw up. We left and headed home, after a big dose of Benadryl, and trying to figure out what I had eaten that had caused this. 

As soon as we got home, I started throwing up. I took a shower to try and feel better. This is when my skin started to get really red, and even redder. The pain was unbearable, unlike any sunburn I have ever experienced. What in the world was going on? I used sunscreen. I used it more than once. Why was I so burnt? I still was throwing up. I took more Benadryl and finally got some sleep. 

The next morning I woke up the true red color of a crayon. My back felt worse than anything. I was still extremely nauseated. I could not keep anything down, and my head was still hurting. Benadryl was my best friend.

Before the day was over, my upper back was hurting even worse. My husband looked and discovered blisters all over my back. Later, they had covered my shoulders and back.

Since this was three years ago, I do not remember the days so much. I cannot remember if we arrived back Saturday night or on a Sunday, but knowing us, it was Saturday night as we do not like to miss church. I do know I missed church that Sunday due to being so sick. Anyhow, at this time, I was working at a hospital so I called in sick that Monday. I cannot remember if I called the doctor Monday or Tuesday, but it was one of those days. They easily said I had sun poison and told me to take vinegar baths, put aloe on it, and prescribed me pain killers until it got better, steroids and phenergan for the nausea. I was out of work for only a couple of days since I did not have many days to take off (all our day off were together: holidays, sick days and personal days (haha, try and take a personal day) and we only had so many we could have before we were threatened to lose our jobs or insurance). I ended up going back way before I was ready and had to wear really big tanks under bigger t-shirts since I could not wear a normal bra due to the pain in my back and shoulders. The blisters took a really long time to heal as did my skin. 

So how did I get sun poison if I used sunscreen? Expired sunscreen! Yes, seriously, expired sunscreen. I had bought new sunscreen, but did not know I had grabbed an old bottle that I probably didn't even know we had. Now, we buy new, EVERY year. One expense that we are not frugal about and I only buy Banana Boat, after talking to a dermatologist, since it stays on really well. Thankfully, the kids were okay. My eldest had a really good tan that day. I do not like my kids to tan as we know that is not good for their skin, but at least she was not in any pain. She will make decisions to tan or not tan as she gets older. My youngest had a small blister on her nose. It broke my heart to see it, but thankfully, she did not seem to be in any pain, and we kept Vaseline on it, and she did not scar.

If you get anything from this post, it is PLEASE, check your sunscreen expiration date!!!! I felt worse than any flu I have ever, ever had or anything since.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Those Sweet Moments..

I think my favorite moments of the day are when my three-year-old wakes me up. This morning, she sweetly leaned into my face and softly asked if I wanted to keep sleeping or go downstairs. We continued to snuggle for a while. I will miss these moments when she gets older and does not want to cuddle anymore.

Now there have been a few mornings, when she slaps me awake, haha, but still, she will grow up and not "need" me anymore. Kinda makes you sad, ya know? I see this more and more with my eight-year-old. She is becoming so independent.

So what are your favorite moments of the day with your kids?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Open Adoption Book

I have not written anything about my open adoption book in a long time, and really not much about it. So if you are not interested in adoption or do not know anyone that is wanting to adopt then this post may not be for you. If you are curious about adopting in the USA, domestically, that is from an agency or attorney, please check out my book, and the rest of this post.

When we were searching for more information about adopting, we read everything we could get our hands on. Unfortunately, the books had TOO much information. Yeah, seriously, the authors did not get into what someone went through to adopt step-by-step, and the expenses they occurred, which is what we wanted to know. We wanted real answers, real people. That is where my book is different. I left out all the fluff and jumped right in. I start the book off with a bedtime story that I tell to my eldest child and now to my youngest, and then get into how we started to adopt and end the book with some URLS to help you with your quest to find your child.

So how did this book start: Well, it had many starts… friends, and family asking questions either in our immediate circle or at church and work. The actual writing happened due to watching what was going on with my husband at work. He works for an extremely large company and was approached continuously about adoption. The funny thing is, sometimes people talking to him did not even know he had adopted, they just wanted to talk to someone and vent on how they wanted to be parents but could not biologically. He would give them what info he could quickly about adoption, but there was not enough time to give them more information. He would pass them my email, and we would email, or talk on the phone. After a while, I realized that I had written this book many times, and I decided to really write it. We printed it out and my husband kept it with him and when asked questions, he would pass it to someone. This happened more and more. The input received back was amazing. Each person that read the rough draft went into the process of adopting. After being invited to people’s house to eat dinner and talk about adoption on more than one occasion, before he was being approached, and then after, and now all the people that wanted his help at work, we decided it was time to publish. I must say, er, type, it is easier when I run into someone at the mall now and they want to talk about adoption in front of the kids, and I can pass the name of the book along.

We keep the book inexpensive at $1.99 for the kindle version (you can download an app and read anywhere even on your computer) and the print version is $5.00.

I hope this post helps with the questions.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Blueberry Banana Bread

This is my favorite banana bread changed up for blueberry banana bread. I prefer using fresh blueberries, but frozen will work nicely as I have used fresh (frozen) blueberries before and this recipe still turned out wonderful! This was my traditional banana bread, but my parents were nice enough to share some fresh blueberries with us and a star recipe was born!

4 RIPE bananas, mashed (I usually keep ripe bananas (still in their skins) frozen in the refrigerator)

½ cup blueberries

1 cup white sugar

¼ cup canola oil (whatever oil you prefer)

¼ cup, which is 4 tablespoons) melted butter (I love to use real butter, also not unsalted)

1 ½  teaspoon pure vanilla

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups all purpose flour (I prefer unbleached)

Mix vanilla, butter, sugar and oil. Add bananas and blueberries. After mixing all together add salt, baking soda, baking powder and flour. Mix well. Add to greased bread pan but first spray with oil and add a little sugar to coat the pan as this makes sure the bread comes out easily. You can see a picture below on what this looks like afterwards.

Bake for 50 minutes (start checking at 40 minutes since each person’s oven is different, and since I normally use cold bananas, mine probably takes longer to cook) on 350. Let sit for 25 minutes before removing from bread pan. (I place a plate on top and flip and then put the plate that I want the bread on under and reflip)

Top with powdered sugar or make a simple icing of milk, powdered sugar and vanilla or use lemon juice instead of vanilla for a yummy lemon topping that tastes really good on this bread.

If you prefer just banana bread, omit the blueberries, add ½ cup nuts (I prefer walnuts or pecans) and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. 

Please let me know what you think. Here is the pin for Pinterest if you want to repin

A few blog changes.

Okay, so I made a few changes to my blog. Added some tabs to the top, some pictures, etc. I hope it is loading well, and working well for you. I'm trying to be a little more simple with backgrounds, etc. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I am a winner.......

Wow, I just do not believe this!!! I won a giveaway from SewMany Savings. What did I win…. Wow….um, AMAZING…… an Epiphanie camera bag. Yeah, baby, you read this correctly. An EPIPHANIE CAMERA BAG. I am beyond thrilled. I cannot wait to blog about my new bag when I received it. Stay tune…. In the meantime, check out Sew Many Savings blog.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hyperventilating 3 1/2 year old?

Does anyone have any advice about a 3 1/2 year old that hyperventilates? When she gets really upset, usually angry, she hyperventilates. It is very upsetting, in a frightening way, to watch. Right now, all I know to do is hold her and rub her back and walk around with her until she can breathe correctly. Just wondering if anyone has experienced this? 

When we ask her to catch her breathe, she screams, while hyperventilating, "I can't" and the tears come. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

DIY Lens Cap pocket camera strap with links

I just LOVE my new camera, but I am tired of palming my lens cap or remembering to put it back in my camera bag (I rarely wear anything with pockets especially during the summer). Why do not companies ship a solution to this since cameras cost so much? I also wanted to girl up my camera more so what is a girl to do but to look on pinterest for suggestions (though I did look on amazon at a lens cap bucket. I did not like the leash solution as it looked like it would get in the way). I originally was thinking about just making a pocket to slip over my strap, but then I remembered seeing someone wearing a brightly fabric covered strap somewhere before.

So here is my solution after looking on pinterest. I am pleased. I will most likely make another one later in other colors and a tad bit smaller in width, but this one serves my purpose, and it was very easy to make. The best part is I had everything I needed at home. You could easily piece fabric together and make something gorgeous. Here is my pin to this post.

I just resewed the sides to make it slimmer on my camera strap and I am much happier with it. Sorry, I did not take a picture of the updated strap. 

Here are a few pins I looked for ideas. I did not use anyone’s measurements. I just used my strap as a ruler and left some room on the sides and ends. And instead of sewing on the button, I used my hot glue gun. I also use one of the ideas in these pins to use fleece since I had plenty for the inside. So if you are a measurement girl or guy, check out these pins for help..... there are so many, and they are gorgeous. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Personalize Linen notecards from Belle Announcements

Received another happy today from the contest I won!! Belle Announcements sent me 25 beautiful personalize folded notecards with envelopes. I love pink and green, and they were delivered in a sturdy box to store them. I know I will keep the box long after I use all the cards.

These notecards have a fantastic feel and look to them, and I cannot wait to use them! You can feel the high quality when you hold them in your hand. It’s time to write and send photos to family and friends.

Check out Belle Announcements on her website:

I have been following Belle Announcements for a while as she not only creates beautiful works of stationary, invites (birthdays, wedding, etc) and baby shower announcements, but much more. Please follow the links above. She is also the one that hosted the contest so if I had not been following her, I would not have won all these wonderful goodies. I still have two more prizes coming that I cannot wait to blog about.

Frugal Camera Bag DIY

A couple of weeks ago, I got a new camera. Instead of the normal point and shoot I have always had, this time I got a Nikon DSLR camera. I also got a great camera backpack to carry all my camera stuff including my tripod on the side. It is sturdy, never feels heavy, and I do not regret owing it. I really like that it does not look like a camera bag. This comfortable backpack is great for vacations and hiking. My only problem? It carries too much and it not very handy on a quick photo shoot or day trip. Say, I want to take the kids to the park…well, I really do not need my tripod and everything else in the bag. I only will be there a couple of hours with the heat. Also, what if I want to meet friends and I know we will be taking pictures…. Well, I do not want to carry around the backpack. I will save the backpack for hiking or walking around the zoo or an amusement park.

So I started looking into camera bags, then camera bag purses, which was more of what I was looking for. I could not believe the price tags on these bags! Yes, most of them are gorgeous, and I would love to have one, and yes, I would use it a lot, but we are a one income family right now. I just do not feel comfortable justifying the purchase to myself much less to my husband. Now, could I see it in the future as a Christmas gift, sure, but not right now, and right now is what I am thinking about.

The kids and I were at Target yesterday. Time for popcorn and drinks, their favorite little mall treat. I see a rugged bag on sale for $14.99. It is deep and has quite a few pockets, and I love the color. The wheels start spinning in my head. I have a sewing machine (not a great sewer, and that is why I do not have dimensions and such in this post. Everyone’s purse size is going to be different anyhow). I have so much pretty fabric, in fact, some fabric I had was coming to mind that I got on sale at Hobby Lobby in the sale bin, and I didn’t use it yet, because I was going to have to piece it with something else to make something anyhow. The fabric would be beautiful in this bag!

Our next stop was Joann’s Fabric store for sew on Velcro and foam for the bottom of the bag (I wanted something really thick and tough like for a cushion), and I then wanted the easy green flexible foam to use everywhere else in the purse. Both of these were on sale already cut. I spent under $10 probably for my whole purchase at Joann’s.

Last night, I started sewing. I used cardboard from the ToyRus box from Little Bug’s school backpack and cut to fit the inside of my bag. I left a little room on one side so it didn’t not totally fill it up. Once I had the cardboard the correct size, I started cutting up both foams. The cushion foam was a little tough to cut, but it still did. I was only using this for the bottom anyhow, and I will find another use for it.

I sewed fabric on the bottom piece. Then sewed two strips of Velcro on the long sides before I sewed the fabric on (these were the only side pieces I used Velcro). Then I sewed fabric on smaller pieces of green foam to box in my camera and accessories. Next, I sewed one thinner, but used longer green foam with Velcro on both end pieces. This one is to protect my camera. I had a little material left so I covered a smaller green foam with no Velcro on the ends (I would have if it was a little longer) to put on the other side to have it as a divider. It worked out great so I do not think I am going to miss the Velcro. I also sewed two straps with Velcro on the end pieces to cover the top of my camera and anything else I am carrying. (what if I leave my bag open and someone knocks it over... the straps will help keep my camera in the bag) Then I made one drawstring bag (pink polka dot bag) to hold odds and ends that I carry with my camera (Lens cleaner, memory card, etc). Right now, I do not have another lens, but I have plenty of room to carry it in this bag and for it to be well protected. The main reason I did not sew all the pieces together, is to make it easy to put in another purse. This is my go-to-bag around town, but if I am going to a wedding, etc, I would probably carry another bag depending on the theme of the wedding. This would still be great for a beach or western theme wedding.

So there you have it…… A frugal camera purse that I love, and this one has two ways to carry it, shoulder straps or a longer strap like a messenger bag. Next, I am looking for a cute charm to hang from it to girl it up some more. I love all the zippers and pockets to hold my stuff. I can still easily get to the pockets and zippers inside the bag too since I did not create the foam to totally fit the bag. I even have my point and shoot camera in there as it is so quick and easy to use for video.

This bag closes easily, and the best part, no one knows I have a camera in there until I take it out. And no one has MY camera bag. And my total price as of yesterday: Around $24.99, probably a little less. I know the fabric I had was under $5.00. So total price: About $30 bucks! The bags I was looking at were wayyyyyyy over a $100.

Anytime I am out and about and there are purses, I am going to keep my eye open for a really nice looking deep purse that will work for a wedding.  Now, I can use the money that I would have spent on an expensive camera bag toward a new lens.

Update: Took this out when I ran some errands, and also took a few pictures. Wow, it sure was nice that no one knew I had an expensive camera in my bag. It was also so easy to take my camera out and anything else that I was needed. I still would like to have a nicer looking bag, and waterproof. It is getting time to sell some things we do not need anyhow. I sell on local Facebook selling sites. This is my mad money.... I can do anything I want with it. So I might still get one of those expensive camera bags, but I like knowing if I do see a cute bag somewhere, I have the foam inserts already sewed and ready for usage to protect my camera.  

Monday, July 7, 2014

Beautiful prints from Ann-Margaret

Happy dance… I received my second prize from the contest I won. Today, I received, not one, but two prints from Ann-Margaret..Artist-Designer-Photographer.

Here is the adorable postcard I received: 

Here is a pretty card with a handwritten note from Ann-Margaret on the back.

Check out these super sweet prints!

Isn’t Cooper adorable?
Look at the whimsical mermaid! (She was my surprise) 

Please check out Ann-Margaret’s website

You can also find her on Facebook
What beautiful gifts!!