Christmas, Gifts, Health, Uncategorized

On The Seventh Day of Christmas…

Day 7 – UNICEF Kid Power Band

What a great idea for kids!!! The UNICEF Kid Power Band, not only does it help your kids stay active but also helps to save lives.

The UNICEF Kid Power band empowers kids to get active, go on fun missions with famous champions and send lifesaving therapeutic food packets to kids in need.

Count Steps – Kids have fun setting daily activity goals for themselves and friends

Tell Time – It’s a watch, too, so kids won’t ever lose track of time even when they’re having fun

Earn Rewards – Kids take steps to help malnourished kids around the world 

Be sure to check out the UNICEF Kid Power Band Blog to learn more about fun family fitness tips and help your kids stay active… they need it, remember my blog “Mom, I’m Bored!”

DONATE…LEARN…GET ACTIVE…SAVE LIVES

  1. Each time someone purchases a UNICEF Kid Power Band at Target, they donate $10 to     the U.S. Fund for UNICEF
  2. Kids wear their UNICEF Kid Power Bands & go on missions with the App. Families learn about different cultures & kids around the world.
  3. Families get active & save lives together. The more kids move, the more Kid Power points they earn.
  4. Points are converted to funding & UNICEF delivers life-saving packets of therapeutic food to severely malnourished children.

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To enter this giveaway click the following link and follow the options for multiple entries:

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…And don’t forget, if you are just now finding The 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways, all promos are open until 12.13.16 @ 11:59pm so feel free to go back and get your name in the hat for some amazing products!

Christmas, Gifts, Uncategorized

On The Sixth Day of Christmas…

 

Day 6 – Urban Decay Naked 2 Eye Shadow Palette!!

Guys the perfect gift for the ladies…

It’s Urban Decay’s Naked2 eyeshadow palette. From luminous shades with shimmer and sparkle to the smoothest mattes imaginable, Naked2 is packed with 12 never-boring taupe-hued neutrals (including a gorgeous grayish brown, a glittery copper and their lewdest, blackest black). Expand your Naked range to create even more sultry neutral looks, smoky dramatic looks and everything in between.

The case has an art-school inspired look with a hinged lid—taupe metal with embossed chocolate brown artwork. It’s smooth, modern and cool to the touch—a real tactile experience.

Naked2 includes a professional-quality, cruelty-free double-ended shadow/blending brush.

Guys if you really want to impress your ladies with a great gift, pair the Urban Decay Naked2 palette with the R+F Lash Boost™ serum…Day 3 giveaway!

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To enter this giveaway click the following link and follow the options for multiple entries:

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…And don’t forget, if you are just now finding The 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways, all promos are open until 12.13.16 @ 11:59pm so feel free to go back and get your name in the hat for some amazing products!

Uncategorized

On The Fifth Day of Christmas…

 

Day 5 – The Cactus Back Scratcher!

Need a stocking stuff for your husband, dad or brother?

The Cactus Scratcher is a personal back scratcher that lets you reach any itch without straining.

This product has two power grip ball handles with two-foot nylon straps for easy use, scratching, and relief. Also with two different levels of spikes, aggressive and moderate, you can choose a gentler scratch or a more aggressive, exfoliating approach.

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Do you know someone who could use this product in their stocking this year?

You could win one here…

To enter this giveaway click the following link and follow the options for multiple entries:

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…And don’t forget, if you are just now finding The 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways, all promos are open until 12.13.16 @ 11:59pm so feel free to go back and get your name in the hat for some amazing products!

Christmas, Gifts, Uncategorized

On The Forth Day of Christmas…

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Day 4 is for the kids… or the kid inside you!!!

Djubi…The Slingshot Catch Game

Djubi (joo-bee) is the slingshot toss game that takes the classic catch game to a whole new level. Each racket has a soft mesh net for catching and a hook on top to launch the included foam balls. Slip a ball’s latex loop over the hook then pull, point, and release to launch it up to 100 feet. Get your sling on at the park, pool, or beach.

Check out this video to see Djubi in action!

If your kids are like mine and need something fun to play outside (remember my post, “Mom… I’m Bored!”) the Djubi slingshot catch game is the perfect gift for them this Christmas.

You can win one here!!

To enter this giveaway click the following link and follow the options for multiple entries:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

…And don’t forget, if you are just now finding The 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways, all promos are open until 12.13.16 @ 11:59pm so feel free to go back and get your name in the hat for some amazing products!

Christmas, Gifts, Uncategorized

On The Third Day of Christmas…

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Day Three is for the LADIES!!!

Want lush, longer-looking lashes? R+F Lash Boost™ serum is an eyelash conditioning serum clinically shown to visibly enhance eyelash volume and length.

I’m going to take a moment to brag on this product…

I was always blessed with long eyelashes so it’s not something that I ever really think about too much. However, in the summer of 2015, I somehow managed to violently hiccup while using my eyelash curler and ripped out most of my upper lashes on my left eye… True story, it can happen. Aside from being very painful (and I really don’t recommend going to the beach… SALT WATER… right after you do it) I looked pretty funny. My lashes managed to grow back over time but never to the length or thickness that they used to be. I always tried to put just a bit more mascara on the left eye to create the illusion that my lashes weren’t lopsided.

I was then introduced to this product back in October (right before it launched in the market) and began using it right away. I’m happy to say my lashes have grown back to full length, if not longer and they are thicker and darker. The other day I had just finished getting ready for the day and my husband said, “whoa, breaking out the big guns today!” To which I responded, “What are you talking about?” He told me he was talking about my eyes and asked if I had done something different or was I wearing more mascara (This coming from the man who took 15 minutes to notice I cut my hair 5 inches). So needless to say, it works… if you’re interested in longer, fuller looking lashes you should take a look at this product.

OR, better yet… you could win it!!!

Before and After pics….

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Want to put this product in your own stocking… To enter this giveaway click the following link and follow the options for multiple entries:

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Christmas, Gifts, Uncategorized

On The Second Day of Christmas…

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OrbitKey!!!

Orbitkey transforms your clunky set of keys to neat & organized in minutes. You can arrange keys in your order of preference, which will help you locate the right key quickly and effortlessly. Attach the bottle opener and USB for added convenience without the bulk of carrying an extra tool.

Available in both leather and rubber, each option comes in a variety of colors for a cool sleek look.

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Designed to enable you to stack your keys neatly together or fan them out for easy viewing and access, Orbitkey is simple to adjust and tighten and can accommodate keys of varying shapes.

Who do you know that could use this tool in their stocking this year?

To enter this giveaway click the following link and follow the options for multiple entries:

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And don’t forget, if you are just now finding The 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways, all promos are open until 12.13.16 @ 11:59pm so feel free to go back and get your name in the hat for some amazing products!

Christmas, Gifts, Holiday, Uncategorized

On The First Day of Christmas…

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Where do you WooHoo?

Need a fun gift idea for the kids? This gift is the perfect indoor/outdoor gift for younger kids, teenagers or adults! The WooHoo2.o® Outdoor Inflatable Lounger sets up quickly without a pump. It’s ideal for outdoor lounging, camping or fun at the beach. Heck, my kids would set them up in the living room for family movie night!

The inflatable lounger is portable and ultra-light weight, you can carry it anywhere, anytime. It inflates easily without a pump and deflates just as quickly and easily as it inflates (always important) and it has two pockets on the side to hold books and mobile devices (for the older kids of course).

How is WooHoo2.0® different?

USA – Unlike other companies selling outdoor inflatable products, they are located in the USA and have been selling inflatables for over 25 years!

NEW PATENT PENDING DESIGN  Their new WooHoo2.0® is larger and much more comfortable than the traditional canoe shape.

CHARITY – A portion of the profits on every WooHoo2.0® sold goes to their orphan/abandoned children charity at MercyHomes.org which is currently helping over 200 children grow up in a home.

When this item is deflated it fits nicely in its own portable bag. The Outdoor Inflatable Lounger comes in multiple fun colors so your kids (if they’re like mine) don’t fight over whose is whose!

To enter this giveaway click the following link and follow the options for multiple entries:

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Christmas, Gifts, Uncategorized

12 Days of Christmas…

 

COMING TO THE BLOG TOMORROWTwelve days of Christmas fun!!

That’s right, 12 days of giveaways! Christmas is the season of giving so I thought I would promote some amazing products sure to help you pick the perfect gift for everyone on your list.

Gifts for HER… gifts for HIM & gifts for the KIDS too.

Check back every day for the next 12 days to see fun gift ideas. Each day you’ll have the opportunity to win the featured product.

Winners will be announced on December 15th. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully when entering each giveaway.

Check back to see what tomorrow will bring…

#GivingTuesday, Health, Hydrocephalus, Kids, Parenting, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized

#Giving Tuesday

 

November 29th was the Global Day of Giving.

Yes, after you’ve probably spent way too much money on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday (not me, unfortunately, I haven’t started Christmas shopping yet) we now have the kick off of the charitable giving season known as #GivingTuesday. We decided to give to a non-profit association  that furthers the research, education, and solutions for Hydrocephalus, The Hydrocephalus Association.

It wasn’t until April 21st of 2015 that I even knew what Hydrocephalus was. The afternoon before, I had taken our new addition to the family for her 5-month check-up. Moms, you know the drill… strip the baby down to the diaper, place them on the freezing cold scale for a quick weight and length check and then back to the exam room for a head circumference measurement. Now, I had noticed that my little one’s head seemed a bit larger than normal, but I just figured she would grow into it. Up until now, we had always been fortunate enough to have normal, uneventful routine check-ups at the doctor’s office. It kind of hit me in the gut when the doctor brought out the growth chart analysis and showed me that her head circumference was measuring off the charts. “What does that mean,” I asked?  The doctor proceeded to tell me that he wanted us to go across the street to the diagnostic and imaging center where they had scheduled a CT scan. We would have the test done first thing in the morning and they would call us directly with the findings.

I remember feeling numb, not really knowing what to do. Of course, I called my husband and told him everything I had discussed with the doctor while driving home. I called my mom and told her as she and my dad are prayer warriors and man did I feel like we needed some. The next day seemed to take an eternity to arrive. Daniel and I both went in for the CT scan, but when we got there only one parent was allowed to go in the room. Daniel took one look at my face and said, “you go,” God bless that man! Luckily our little one didn’t move an inch so there was no need for sedation. The CT was short, just a few minutes and the nurse said they would send the results to the doctor who would give us a call.

I had no idea how long it would take and trying desperately to keep my mind off of things (right, like I could do that) I took our little one to go walk around at the mall for a bit. We had just made it to the second floor of Dillard’s when my phone rang… it was the doctor’s office calling. I quickly picked up and heard Dr. Ball’s voice on the other end of the phone. He proceeded to tell me that the CT scans confirmed what he had been thinking, our baby girl had a condition known as Hydrocephalus.

Now for those of you who like to break down the parts of a word in order to find its meaning, you would know that Hydrocephalus comes from the Greek words hydro meaning water and cephalus meaning head. The Hydrocephalus Association defines it as an abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) within cavities in the brain called ventricles. Cerebrospinal fluid is produced in the ventricles and in the choroid plexus. It circulates through the ventricular system in the brain and is absorbed into the bloodstream. This fluid is in constant circulation and has many functions, including to surround the brain and spinal cord and act as a protective cushion against injury. It contains nutrients and proteins necessary for the nourishment and normal function of the brain and carries waste products away from surrounding tissues.Hydrocephalus occurs when there is an imbalance between the amount of CSF that is produced and the rate at which it is absorbed. As the CSF builds up, it causes the ventricles to enlarge and the pressure inside the head to increase thus making the head size increase as well.

At this point, I was in “fix it mode”… tell me what to do! Dr. Ball was great, he went on to say that he wanted us to go straight to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock (three hours from Fayetteville) he knew that by the time we would arrive we would need to go to the emergency room, so he had already called ahead and alerted the pediatric neurosurgeon that we were coming and paved the way for a smooth arrival. I quickly jumped in the car called Daniel and told him what we were doing and what needed to be done so we could make our way to Arkansas Children’s Hospital. As I had done just a few months back, I called my friend’s Karla and Wendy to once again seek help with the older children for the night until my parents could arrive in Fayetteville the next day. And again, without hesitation or pause, they both jumped in to help as needed.

A short while later we were on our way to Little Rock with our little girl. I think Daniel and I may have held hands the entire ride. Once we arrived they already had our paperwork, but we did have to wait what seemed like an eternity. My parents, on their way to Fayetteville to help with the older kids, stopped by the hospital in Little Rock to see how we were doing and bring us some food. It was good to see their faces and hear their calming voices as we waited to see the neurosurgeon. Finally, we were called back and spoke with a neurosurgeon who had already talked to his superior, Dr. Cai, regarding our daughter’s condition. We did receive a bit of good news, he told us that her case was not bad enough to operate tonight (although by this time it was about 2:00am) that he would have his nurse schedule surgery for the next day.

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Resting with daddy the day before surgery

We checked into a hotel in Little Rock and tried to sleep a little bit. We spent the next few hours in downtown Little Rock trying to keep busy. The nurse called and gave us the rundown of how to prepare, what to expect and told us to be at the hospital at 8:00am in the morning. We were there promptly at 8:00 filling out paperwork and having her vitals taken, all of the normal pre-surgery prep seemed to be happening quickly.

We were taken back into a private pre-op room and dressed little miss in her surgery gown. The surgeon, Dr. Cai came in with his operating room nurse, the anesthesiologist came in… basically, anyone who was going to be in the room with our daughter came into speak with us, tell us what they were going to do and tried to put our minds at ease. Dr. Cai, with the help of his nurse as he speaks fluent Chinese and broken English, let us know that they would put her under anesthesia, once she was asleep they would call us in the waiting room to let us know they were beginning surgery.

The surgical procedure for Hydrocephalus requires the neurosurgeon to implant a VP (ventricular peritoneal) shunt in the ventricles of the brain. After she was under general anesthesia, they would make two incisions, one on the head and one in the abdomen to allow the neurosurgeon to pass the shunt’s tubing through to the abdomen. A small hole is made in the skull, to allow the ventricular end of the shunt to be passed through the brain and into the ventricle. The abdominal (peritoneal) end is passed into the abdominal cavity through a small opening in the lining of the abdomen where the excess CSF will eventually be absorbed. Here is a visual to help you better understand…

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I felt good about her surgeons and nurses and felt like I had a good grasp on what was about to happen. BUT, NO ONE… I mean NO ONE can prepare you for that moment when the nurse comes to take your child for surgery. Her nurse wheeled her out of pre-op and we were able to walk with her until we got to a hallway with two doors. She was headed through the door on the left and we had to exit out the door to the right. I will never forget that feeling of complete and total helplessness as we kissed her on the forehead and had to turn and walk away. I had absolutely no control, there was nothing I could do but sit and wait. I think I prayed the entire time. Daniel was calm and collected, which definitely helped me.

After surgery, Dr. Cai came out to the waiting room and said that everything had gone well, that she was in post-op recovery and we would be taken back as soon as she woke up. I called those on the phone tree and texted friends and family that had been praying for us all that day to share the good news. Getting to hold and feed her in post-op may be one of the most special moments I’ve ever had. All that feeling of helplessness had gone away as she rocked in my lap and nursed.

Fast forward to the present. I am thankful to say that she is doing well, happy and healthy and has not experienced any issues with her condition or hardware that will remain in her body the rest of her life. Sure we know that at some point it’s likely she will have to have a shunt revision and possibly more surgeries, but we are thankful that everything has gone so well thus far.

I remember thinking this verse from the time the doctor said “abnormal head circumference” to the evening we were discharged from the hospital and we were once again able to sleep in our own house and hear her sweet little snore in the next room…

Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I was right, I wasn’t in control through any of it… there was nothing I could do to change or help things back a year and a half ago and there is nothing I can do to make it all go away now. But, I know that God was in control back in April of 2015 and He is still in control of the situation to this day.

We are blessed with what we have been given and therefore give joyfully to an association that continues the research to find a cure for Hydrocephalus.

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Pre-op

 

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Post-op
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Christmas, Holiday, Kids, Parenting, Uncategorized

Trees…Tinsel… and Three Kids

img_4367img_4364Yesterday we took our annual trip to the Wisconsin Tree Farm to pick out the O’Brien Family Christmas Tree… not to be confused with the Griswold Family Tree. Daniel and I are the perfect mix of picking a tree that has no business being in our modest size home. I always go for the tall ones and he always goes for the big round ones. Usually, by the time the tree is in the house there is NO room for a star or angel as the top is smashed into the ceiling and if you indulged a bit too much at Thanksgiving you’re going to have to find an alternative route around the tree as it’s usually so round that it takes up the entire walkway.

The Wisconsin Tree Farm is a great family owned business right on College Street in Fayetteville. Each year the Latzig family from Merrill Wisconsin comes to Fayetteville, lives in a camper and sells their homegrown Christmas trees in the Gator Golf parking lot. They have all types, Balsam Fir, Douglas Fir, Fraser Fir and Scotch Pine just to name a few. We have purchased a tree from this family every year we’ve lived in Fayetteville.

 

We don’t have a designer tree, never have… but I love our tree as it’s covered in ornaments that both my husband and I have collected as well as the kids handmade ornaments they’ve made each year at school. It’s colorful and about 75% of the tree is covered in some type of kid craft that involves glitter, paint, and sequins.

Am I the only one that has this grand picture in my head of how decorating the family tree should go? Let me set the stage for you…

We are all in the living room listening to the Pandora Christmas radio station, fire flickering and hot chocolate or egg nog in everyone’s cup. We all sit patiently while my husband puts the lights on the tree. After all the lights are hung each child goes to their marked Rubbermaid tub and begins placing their ornaments on the tree, taking turns and making sure they are well spaced in order to have a well-balanced tree. all three kids listen to me as I say, “Be sure to put the heavy ones on the top branches.” After the tree is covered in ornaments we sit and listen to the music and stare at the tree filled with lights while everyone gets sleepy for the night.

NOPE, not at all close to the madness that happened here last night (remember my post on Hostage Negotiating?) … Here’s the real picture…

We are all in the same room most of the time and yes, Pandora radio is playing some of our favorite Christmas tunes, but there is no flickering fireplace as it’s a little too warm for that just yet. No one has hot chocolate or egg nog at this point because the milk that my ten-year-old was trying to boil in the tea kettle is shooting out the whistle whole as it got waaaaaaaayy too hot. I’m burning my fingers trying to clean up boiling milk from the stove while my son is yelling from the other room that he’s hungry and my two-year-old is screaming at the top of her lungs because we won’t let her touch any ornaments. It’s finally time for the lights. I work to get the lights on the tree as my husband unravels and checks each strand… Apparently, we aren’t moving fast enough for my son who is trying to see how many times he can slide off the arm of the sofa onto the ground behind the tree and make his way out without touching any branches… our very own American Ninja Warrior!

After all the lights are finally on the tree, it’s time for the ornaments. Now you know those Rubbermaid tubs I was talking about, each marked and organized with each child’s ornaments… HA, wishful thinking… we have four to five buckets full of ornaments wrapped in 5-year-old newspaper and old grocery bags (read this blog from Rubbermaid – awesome storage idea for ornaments). The kids are holding the newspaper and unraveling them so quick that ornaments are hitting the floor like raindrops. We ALWAYS have a designated area for ornaments that need to be glued back together, because we just can’t do it without breaking any. We should probably buy stock in Gorilla Glue this time of year. The kids are all trying to attack the tree at once and all the heavy ornaments that they placed on the weak lower branches are hitting the floor one by one. My two-year-old is climbing the ladder that I forgot to move post – Christmas tree lights and as soon as you go up to make sure she doesn’t fall she repeatedly tells you “GO WAY!” By this time I have stepped on at least three hooks and a shard of glass from the broken ornaments (think  Marv from Home Alone entering the window with no shoes).

My two-year-old has now come up with a new strategy to reach the branches she can’t quite get to, toss those Christmas balls right on up towards the tree and see if they’ll stick … of course bringing two or three other ornaments down along the way! By this time the tree is pretty full and I start hiding ornaments because we need to wrap this party up before someone falls off the ladder or has to go to the emergency room for glass removal. The two-year-old is now standing over by the wooden nativity scene picking up each animal and very loudly showing off that she knows her animal noises.

My husband and I escape to the garage for 60 seconds to put all the empty boxes away… we pause and look at each other like we’ve just been through an F5 tornado and bust out laughing while we hold each other up from exhaustion.

It’s the same thing every year… I have a pretty picture in my mind about how it’s supposed to go, and then it goes in a completely different direction. It’s crazy and the house is now covered in glitter, pine needles and ornament hooks (I used the old trusty Hoover Wind Tunnel to get the glass up already… that thing is like the perfect kid, cleans up and very quiet) but in the end, everyone had a good time. The kids will remember the laughs and their baby sister telling everyone to go away and saying “haw hee” as she holds up the donkey from the manger scene (one of these days we’ll tell her it’s hee-haw, but it’s just so darn cute). For now, I’ll treasure the years we have left with each of them while they want to be around us, want to help decorate and make fun family memories. I can’t wait to see what next years tornado will bring!

What is your family Christmas tree/decorating tradition?

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