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Allergies, Eyeballs and Visine-A

Of all the bummers of gene pool roulette, I am super thankful I don’t deal with allergies. Well with one caveat. When I am pregnant I somehow manage to suffer from all of my husband’s seasonal allergies. And I usually spend large portions of my pregnancy asking him incredulously, “Is this how you feel all the time???!!!!” Suddenly I am much more sympathetic to his plight.

Allergy season is just starting in Michigan. In fact when I looked up the current pollen forecast this morning, this loveliness greeted me.

allergy forecast

Since my hubby is the allergy sufferer in my house I thought I would let him share a bit about his experiences with seasonal allergies and allergies to cats. See if you can relate (and since 1 in 5 Americans suffer from allergies, I am going to assume many of you will).

Have you ever seen a picture from the late 1800’s or early 1900’s of people strolling in parks, with men wearing full suits and women wearing huge dresses and carrying parasols? You know what the caption of those pictures should read? “People…sweating their asses off.” I’m pretty sure any of them would have strangled someone for a window air conditioner, had they known of their existence or had the power outlets to support them. I’m not one to romanticize the past. While our culture may daydream about more romantic, cordial, and safer past times, there’s something to be said for air conditioning, smart phones, all-wheel drive, and flushable wipes.

Perhaps the most personally impactful advances in my life have been good allergy treatments. Life as a kid with allergies in the seventies and eighties was awful. I remember countless nights as a kid trying to sleep on my left side to try and create any sort of drainage out of my totally-clogged right nostril (or vice versa). I remember scratching my eyes until they started to sting and putting cold wash cloths on them to reduce the inflammation. And there were really no good over-the-counter medicines. The pills either did nothing or completely knocked you out (anyone remember taking accidentally taking one of those old-school antihistamines during the day? Nope, me neither. Zzzz). Eye drops provide some relief, for approximately two minutes until the allergies waged a counter-attack. It was enough to almost make you dread the end of a Michigan winter (and that’s saying a lot).

Visine-!

I’m glad those days are long gone. Today, modern antihistamines work wonders, and I recently discovered Visine-A, which unlike most drops, has its own antihistamine and provides quick and consistent relief. No more constant scratching of my eyes or sitting in business meetings looking like I’d just watched the end of Forest Gump. And since I’m now at the age where my kids have inherited my allergies, I’m thankful that they can now get through the day and get a good night’s sleep without all of that suffering. If only I could take some of this stuff back to the eighties and trade it for some of those baseball cards and Star Wars action figures I’ve lost along the way.

Because I am an amazing wife who has large amount empathy for her husband OR more likely because writing this post and reading his post gave me some sort of bizarre sympathy allergies, I had an allergic reaction today to something and one of my eyes took the brunt of it. Seriously! Redness, that feeling of sandpaper in my eyes, itching. I rushed home and used the Visine-A and within a couple of minutes all was well. It was seriously amazing.

red eye

But check out this a few minutes later:

Eye Collage

This is kind of committed blogger that I am. Taking gross close up pictures of my eye for your enjoyment.

Visine-A and The Motherhood will be hosting a Twitter party Thursday, May 8, at noon ET (11a CT / 9a PT). You will learn more about combating seasonal allergies and how to deal with those awful symptoms. And of course there will be lots of prizes. You can learn more and RSVP here: http://twtvite.com/visine

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Visine-A and The Motherhood. Bizarre allergic reactions are just a bonus. 

10 Fun and (Fairly) Easy Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs

Ten Easter Egg Ideas

First, a confession: I don’t really enjoy decorating Easter eggs. Well full confession: I don’t really enjoy any sort of crafting with my kids at all. I fully believe this is why God invented grandparents. But maybe you are one of those amazing craft loving moms. Or maybe you just want to forward this post on to Grandma. No judging here.

Anyway, with the Easter season upon us, I thought it would be nice to roundup some of the fun ways you can decorate Easter eggs with your kids.

1. Fingerprint Eggs:

fingerprint-easter-eggs-craft

 

This idea from Sassy Dealz is so adorable (totally digging the toilet paper roll holders) and pretty simple. With your help even the littlest kid can pull off a fingerprint. If you want to really knock it out of the park you could save them each year to remember how teeny tiny your kid’s fingers used to be.

2. Sharpie Tie-Dyed Eggs

Tie-Dye-Easter-Eggs-4

 

Sharpies are like a forbidden fruit in our house. My kids desperately want to use them but I try to avoid letting them anywhere near permanent markers. But for these eggs from Housing a Forest, they get to use Sharpies till their heart’s content. Oh Happy Day!!

3. Shaving Cream Dyed Eggs: 

shaving cream egg

 

There is nothing more awesome than your mom telling you to make a giant mess. Sticking your hands in a pile of dyed shaving cream and squishing an egg around in it? Mom of the year award is coming your way for sure. This is a crazy easy method and the eggs turn out really cool. Thanks to A Thrifty Mom.

4. Chalkboard Eggs

Chalkboard Paint Eggs

 

I happen to have some chalkboard spray paint lying around (Pinterest will make you buy crazy things) so this one would be so easy to pull off. It’s Overflowing uses actual paint, but spray paint would be even easier. The best part about these is that you can decorate them over and over.

5. Polka Dot Easter Eggs

sparkle-eggs1

 

I love all things polka dot. And yes these do involve glitter (the herpes of the craft world), but Domestifluff also gives a great tutorial at the end of her post about how to make these using decorative sugar. Still messy, but less likely to stick to every single surface imaginable and make your life a living you know what.

6. Glitter Eggs

How-To-Decorate-Easter-Eggs-With-Glitter

 

Yes, I know what I just said. But maybe you love glitter. And maybe these sparkly eggs are hard to resist (I gotta admit, they kind of are. Plus Totally The Bomb makes it crazy easy. Maybe this time the glitter wouldn’t be so bad…….

7. Melted Crayon Eggs

melted crayon eggs

 

I came across one idea for melted crayon eggs that literally had you melting crayons and rolling your eggs in them. Seems like an incredibly messy way to get burned fingers. Thankfully this idea from S.A.S Interiors is much simpler. Again, this could be done easily with really little kids and is much more fun than plain colored eggs.

8. Drip Art Eggs

Rainbow-Easter-Eggs

 

I think this one has the potential to be quite messy, but I absolutely love the look of these metallic paints and the rainbow colors it makes. Red Ted Art calls it drip art and I think the finished products would make a gorgeous centerpiece.

9. Silk Dyed Easter Eggs

silk-dyed-easter-eggs

 

Okay so this one is really more for the grownup crafters. Simply head to your local thrift store, gather up some pretty ties and these gorgeous, swoon worthy eggs can be yours. It is a process that takes some time, but I think the results are well worth it. Head over to mama. papa. bubba to see the close up finished project. Gorgeous!

10. Color By Number Easter Eggs

color-by-number-easter-eggs-math-game-

 

This idea from No Time For Flash Cards is so fun because it incorporates egg decorating and MATH!! Perfect for home schooling families or anyone who wants to sneak a little math into their kid’s day. Simply number your Sharpies, roll the dice, count and color. How fun is that?

I have lots more fun Easter ideas and recipes over on my Easter Pinterest page. Make sure to check that out!

Five Best Apps For Traveling With Kids

road-trip road-trip

What do you do when you don’t have any plans for Spring Break and the entire state of Michigan is heading to Florida?

You head to Sheboygan, Wisconsin of course!

Okay so it wasn’t exactly like that. But Ryan had work in Sheboygan and Chicago and he planned it for the week of spring break so we tagged along. I squeezed in dinner with my college roommate and her family in Milwaukee and we got to spend time in my favorite city on the planet, The Windy City.

But first there was Sheboygan…..

So I turned to a few of my favorite travel apps and we ended up having a really good time. Well except for the sibling bickering and lack of sleep that led to me wanting to lose my mind. Is there an app for that? #keepinitreal

1. Roadtrippers: Based on the Roadripper website, this app was my favorite!! Simply enter your road trip route and it points out  attractions, history, nature, shopping and more. Not to mention eating and lodging. It brought about the biggest surprises of the road trip. In the middle of a Chicago suburb, next to houses of average nature, we found a 17,000 square foot pyramid with a huge statue of Ramses out front. Oh and it is plated in gold. Pure Awesome.

gold pyramid

 

We also found the Jelly Belly warehouse factory tour. We ate our weight in Jelly Belly’s and sampled such flavors as Tabasco Sauce, Draft Beer and Grass. Because why not?

jelly belly

 

2. Trip Advisor: I use this app andwebsite obsessively. Whenever I am in a new place I always look through the restaurant reviews and for the list of the top attractions. It led us to a super fun children’s museum in Sheboygan. We spent a ridiculous amount of time there (partly because it was raining and most of the other top attractions were outdoors). And as luck would have it, right across the street was a top rated restaurant that specialized in bacon. BACON.

3. Yelp: My go to guide for restaurants (see bacon above). I use it mostly when I am traveling without the kids, but it is kind of a must have with kids as well. When you are in a strange place you really need to know if you are going to show up to a place that is totally unkid friendly. The last thing a couple on their first date needs is my four year old telling a fart joke. Or my 40 year old husband laughing hysterically at it.

4. Sit or Squat: No matter how many times you say to your kids, “Do you have to go to the bathroom before we get back in the car for a long drive?”, they will always have to go to the bathroom 3-7 minutes after you get back on the road. We have taken a LOT of roadtrips and we have gone to a lot of nasty restrooms out of desperation. Including one on our trip to Florida last year that I still can’t unsee. Sit or squat helps you find the clean ones. Thank goodness someone dreamt this up.

5. UberWhen we go to Chicago my kids think going on the El is like going on a ride to Disney. Same with riding a bus. They are living sad, un-citified lives. But sometimes the El and bus just aren’t convenient. I can risk all our lives in a cab, or we can rid like kings with Uber. You download the app, ask for a pickup, and a towncar comes and picks you up. But the awesome part is that the app is linked to your credit card so you don’t have to deal with any cash. It just automatically charges you and adds on the tip. The app will show you an estimated cost before you “book” your car. I thought the cost was very comparable to a cab ride, maybe a little more, but well worth it to avoid the hassle. (sign up with my link and we both get a $10 credit. WOOT!)

Honorable mention goes to my white noise app because falling asleep in a hotel room with kids is some sort of 7th circle of hell.

Do you have any favorite apps when you travel with kids?

 

 

Five Tips To Banish Dry Skin in the Winter

I am still pretending that spring is right around the corner. But in the meantime my skin is KILLING me. Itchy, dry, flaking. A hot mess. I typically don’t suffer that badly during the winter but this winter seems especially brutal in every possible way. So I have been trying some new tricks and have found some that work really well.

dry skin

1. Body Oil: This is a recent discovery and it is a total game changer. I always knew that post shower I was supposed to use lotion. But what I didn’t know is that body oil is supposed to go on before you shower. I love this oil by Neutrogena. It feels very odd to oil up like some sort of body builder before I step in the shower, but it leaves a protective layer on my skin and when I step out of the shower it is still there.

2. Warm-ish showers: I like my showers so hot that my skin is slightly red and scalded when I am done. I also believe showers should take as long as humanly possible. But long, hot showers do a number on your skin. So turn the temp down a bit and keep your showers short. Upside- your kids have less time to take apart the toilet role and flush toys down the toilet.

3. Dove Advanced Care DeodorantI was recently sent a sample of this unrelated to my blog and didn’t really think deodorant could make that big of a difference. But I was wrong. I cannot believe how smooth this makes my underarms feel. Did you know that when you shave you are removing a large amount of skin? Gross!! This moisturizes the skin and still does everything a deodorant should do. I am sold. (ps. you really should shave less during the winter because shaving is so drying. sorry to your husband, but YAY for you)

4. Beeslick Jr.The skin around my eyes gets really dry in the winter. I am sure there is a reason beyond just winter because sometimes it happens in the summer too, but despite having mostly un- sensitive skin everywhere else, my eyes get quirky. About a year ago I was sent some hard lotions to try on Hannah’s sensitive skin and I stole this one for my own. I just rub a little around my eyes and it is so soothing. It is also great for chapped cheeks and lips.

5. Furnace Humidifier: I am starting to believe this is the biggest game changer we have going on right now for dry skin. We stayed away from home last weekend and our skin was so crazy dry and itchy and everything was incredibly static-y. This keeps our house from getting to dry, cuts down on bloody noses and keeps the static under control. This one is very similar to what we have.

 

10 Non-Candy Valentine Ideas

Non Candy Valentines

Part of me doesn’t understand how it is already Feb, but the other part of me can’t understand how it is still winter. I think getting over 80 inches of snow already can confuse a person. But it is Feb and time to start thinking about Valentine’s Day. The evolution of Pinterest has made it quite clear that you are a sub par mom if you don’t loving craft each child’s Valentine with modge podge, glitter and unicorn dust.

I kid, last year I did store bought Valentines and didn’t feel a lick of guilt about it. This year I am feeling a tiny itch to be crafty so I have been pinning all sorts of ideas. But I do love the idea of doing some without a sugared up component. Partly because my kids don’t need any more sugar in their life. But also because that darn candy sits in our house while they are at school taunting me from the cupboard.

So here is a roundup of my favorite non- candy Valentine ideas:

1. Crayon Valentines:

crayons valentines

There are lots of versions of these out there, but I really love these from Our Best Bites. We have so many random broken crayons in our craft cabinet so I could probably make these for the whole school and never run out.

2. Rainbow Loom Valentines:

rainbow loom

 

I could probably make a whole classroom of bracelets just by cleaning out my vacuum cleaner canister. Our house is FILLED with rubber bands. The best part about these is you just order the printables from the Loom Love Shop on Etsy and your kids do the rest of the work. Brilliant.

3. Star Wars Glow Stick:

Star Wars

Silas is in a major Star Wars phase right now. What I love about this is that even if you kid is the only Star Wars nerd in his/ her class, who doesn’t love a glow stick?? Those things make every kid happy. These are just a crazy adorable idea from Keeping It Simple. 

4. Popcorn Valentines:

popcorn valentine

 

These valentines from Creating Really Awesome Free Things (C.R.A.F.T.- get it?) have such a fun vintage look to them. We make the most delicious popcorn on the stove but if you want to sweeten it up about you could always do a big batch of caramel corn.

5. Fruit Valentines:

fruit valentines

 

So I don’t really know what the coolness factor is in giving out fruit for Valentine’s Day is, but as a mom I think these are awesome. I mean they are super cute and who doesn’t love a good pun? You can find these printables at Craftaholics Anonymous.

6. Bubbles Valentines:

bubbles valentine

The preschool set would go crazy for these bubbles from Makley School for Girls (one of my faves!). And since it is so freezing in large portions of the country, you can also try that freezing bubble thing that is all over Pinterest as well.

7. Friendship Bracelet Valentine:

friendship bracelet valentines

This is another brilliant scheme in which you print something out and your kids do all the work. I suppose you could help. Or you could just surf Facebook while yelling out encouragement like “orange and blue look great together” and “only 17 more to make”!! You can find the printables over at Dandee Designs.

8. Goldfish Valentines:

goldfish valentines

 

Okay so goldfish crackers aren’t exactly a health food, but they are a small step up from candy. Or maybe not, but these are super cute valentine printables from Tammy Mitchell Designs. And someone probably has a recipe for homemade goldfish with no preservatives somewhere on Pinterest if you are feeling guilty.

9. Mad Lib Valentines:

mad lib valentines

 

If your older kids need valentines these would be perfect. I never outgrow my love of Mad Libs though so maybe they would work on me if you want me to be your valentine. Either way, all the details are over at Design Mom.

10. Mustache Valentines:

mustache valentines

 

Is the mustache craze so 2012? I don’t really care because I still love them. Plus little kids in mustaches never grow old. This adorable idea from The Craft Monkey just might be my favorite of all. So cute!

Do you make homemade valentines or buy a box at the store and call it a day?