Monday, November 25, 2013

DIY Liquid Hand Soap

Due to the fact that Cassie has a LOVELY reaction to food dyes and scents...we have decided to make our own liquid hand soap.  Todd emptied all the soap dispensers back into the big refill bottle and then cleaned out the dispensers.  I grated, melted and stirred the new mixture.  The finished product is different than we are used to, but it works and is inexpensive.

For the original recipe go here.

DIY Liquid Hand Soap

1 bar Tom's of Maine soap (or other natural bar soap)
10-11 cups of water
essential oil for smell
empty bottle to store excess soap in

Place water in large pan on stove.  Boil water.  Grate the bar of soap onto a plate or in a bowl. Add soap to boiling water.  Reduce heat to med/hi and stir until all soap is melted. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil/s to the mixture.  Mix well.  Remove from heat and let cool.  I eventually just walked away from it.  Once it's cooled it may be very thick.  Using a hand mixer, mix the soap mixture up.  If it's still too thick add one cup of warm water at a time and mix with the mixer until you have the desired thickness.  After the first time or two making the soap you will know how many cups of water you like to have in it. Adjust the recipe accordingly.  Pour cooled soap into dispensers and large bottles.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Middle School and Autism

(Left to right: Max 6th grade, TJ or "Johnny" 10th grade, Alex or "Lex" 8th grade, and Colin 4th grade)
Today is a new day. Today is the first day of school.  TODAY is Max's first day of middle school.  Anxieties have been very high over the last few weeks.  He is scared of being bullied.  He is scared of not knowing where to go and what to do.  He likes routine.  He likes things to stay the same.

Max has been screaming, pushing, slamming doors, stomping, growling, hitting and simply having a rough time.

Autism. It makes things that are hard for a "normal" child 100 times more difficult.  It makes understanding things harder.  It takes patience to a whole new level.

We have sat down with the school and talked with Max's new case manager, principal, and team of teachers.  They are all eager to work with Max and help him to be successful. We have voiced our concerns.  We have discussed a plan.  The plan is in place.

We took Max in to the school to walk around and see his classrooms while there were no other students there.  He tried out his locker...several times.  He knows his way around pretty well.  He is beginning to feel more comfortable.  We attending Open House and he did very well.  He even saw a few friends from elementary school; one who has been so sweet to him came up and gave him a hug.  I know Heavenly Father has put people in place to bless Max's life; people who are sweet and kind and can see how amazing Max is.  These friends of him are some of these sweet people.  They are amazing.

The last thing I had to get in place was the bus ride. I called the bus garage and spoke with the man there.  I asked if he could make sure that Max got to sit in the front seat every day.  His response, "There are a  lot of kids who need to be in the front.  We'll try to get him as close to the front as possible." I thought, are you NUTS? Do you UNDERSTAND? Probably not. So I reiterated that Max has Autism, that loud noises are hard for him to handle and that it would be best for him to be sitting in the front seat.  Again he told me the bus driver would do his best to put him as close to the front as possible.  NOT good enough.

This morning Todd walked the three older boys to the bus stop, wearing his Air Force uniform, before going to work. There's nothing like using your uniform to command respect! LOL! When the bus got there he followed the boys onto the bus and said, "Sir, this is my son.  And he is going to sit in this seat (Max and Alex had already sat in the front seat) every day for the entire year." Thankfully, the bus driver, Charlie, is the same one that Alex had last year and he's really nice.  Charlie was more than happy to agree.

I have spent the last several weeks praying, and pleading with Heavenly Father to help Max with this transition.  Every little blessing is evidence to me that He listens and answers our prayers.  I feel at peace and KNOW that Max is going to have an awesome year!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 it right for us?

One of the hardest decisions I have made is to medicate my child.  I fought it for several years while trying every natural supplement/remedy I could get my hands on.  One day, after many huge struggles at home and at school I was praying to know what I should do; how I could help my son and our family cope with ADHD in a way that was right for him.  The answer was hard for me to hear, and yet has helped him more than anything else I have done.

Alex is a good boy.  He wants to be good.  He wants to do what I ask him to do.  He wants to get good grades.  He wants people to like him and WANT to be around him. He wants the teachers to know how to communicate with him and he wants to know how to communicate with them.

In essence the answer I got was a question, "How much longer will you put him through this/allow him to struggle and suffer before you will try using medicine?"

Oh MAN do I hate it when I have been wrong.  I wanted desperately to help him in a natural way.  But guess what, sometimes that just does NOT work.

Almost immediately after starting medicine he began listening better, getting better grades, was able to follow multiple part instructions, and was more calm.  Seriously.  The grades jumped from D's to A's and B's.

I love doing natural things.  But there is GOOD in modern medicine.  I don't use it all.  But I use it when it's right for our family.

At the end of his 7th grade year we did not feel that the medicine was working for him. The teachers complained that it didn't seem like he had any medicine at all.  We finally let the medicine run out at the beginning of summer and have spent the summer watching him. The first few weeks we didn't even notice a difference.  After several more weeks we began to notice more.  He struggled EVEN more than he had been with following directions.  He struggled with being kind and with controlling his anger.  He obsessed about everything.  There were days that I wanted to crawl inside my closet and lock the door.  It was hard for all of us.

Here we are at the beginning of a new school year and I KNOW the teachers would NOT be able to handle what I have dealt with all summer. Not with a classroom full of students.

Yesterday we spent a lot of time talking with the doctor to determine what would be best for Alex.  This morning he started on his first dose of medicine.  Before it got into his system he was hitting his brother, yelling at his brother, obsessing about a toy, and could not focus on making his food.  I redirected him SO MANY TIMES. It was draining! Once we finally finished making his food and sat down to ate, the medicine kicked in, his breakfast kicked in and he has had the most wonderful day. He did his chores without being asked.  He asked what he could do do help.  He didn't complain once.  AWESOME!

He came to me and said, "I know I can't watch a show because everyone is still doing chores, and I can't play a video game.  What can I do?" The fact that he posed a question ALL ON HIS OWN without getting distracted or upset...AND it was logical, was a huge improvement.

I suggested that if he went and read his scriptures I would allow him to play on the DS.  He wasn't too excited about that so I said, "How about playing on my Kindle?" He liked that!  He went straight to his room, read his scriptures and then came to report.  AMAZING!

He got extra time to sit and play on my Kindle. AND my stress level is SO much lower.

The moral of this story is...don't push aside one idea because you have seen negative effects that it can have on others.  Open your heart and mind and allow inspiration to flow.  And if medicine is right for your child/family member then do it.  Don't procrastinate.  If it's wrong for you, find what works.

Be prayerful.  Talk to a loving Father in Heaven who knows you and loves you and wants you and your family to be happy.  He will guide you and help you in all aspects of your life.  And NEVER say never.  (You can read one of my previous posts on this topic here.)

Have a wonderful and peaceful day!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Being sick is for the birds!

The beginning of the week was wonderful.  We spent time with my Dad, who was visiting from Maine.  Last week we had fresh Maine lobster and clams for dinner one night.  We took the kids to the park, went to the zoo, made molasses cookies which are my dad's favorite, and visited a state park with a really cool cave called The Devil's Ice Box.  By Tuesday of this week I was feeling pretty cruddy...a cold was dragging me down.  By Wednesday I was forcing myself to get up and do things even though I felt awful.

Little Miss Curly Girl was showing signs of being sick right along with me.  When we took my dad to meet the shuttle to the airport on Wednesday afternoon she was feeling really nasty.  Bring on the moaning and crying.  Poor thing!

Thursday I laid in bed for 3 hours with Curly Girl while my oldest two boys took care of the youngest Cutie Girl.  Thursday evening Cutie Girl had a fever.  My wonderful husband, who never gets sick, was starting to show signs of feeling sick, but chose to go play Ultimate Frisbee with some church friends anyway. Man did I want to go too.  But I couldn't even make it up the stairs without huffing and puffing. Geesh! By the time he got home he had a fever too.  GREAT!

Today is Friday...and we have spent the majority of our day in our room snuggling sick, feverish, fussy girls...watching movies...and snoozing when we could.  Our bed got peed on during Curly Girl's nap and now our bedding is being washed. Oh the joys of being sick. :)  I'm so glad I thought of dinner at 2:00 pm today or we would have eaten cereal or egg sandwiches for dinner....again.  Chicken, carrots and potatoes were cooking in the crock pot. What a relief...and a blessing. 

It has been YEARS since we have been this sick...Y. E. A. R. S. And right now I am SO very thankful that it doesn't happen very often.  I am so thankful for good health.  I don't know how long this creeping crud with hang on, but I am looking forward to having energy again and being able to exercise every day again and take care of my family.  Thank goodness for the patience of children who can entertain themselves for hours with legos, TV shows, and pretend play.  And thank goodness for children who are willing to help tend their younger siblings when their mama is sick.  I love my crazy crew!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Good Monday Morning

I love how children think.  They make me laugh.  They make me smile.  They make me chuckle and sometimes even giggle.  They make me burst into hysterical belly rolling laughter.  They are simply awesome!

After finishing my workout this morning I was on the floor stretching my back; on my knees, chest to my knees with my hands outstretched above my head.  Little Miss Cassie Girl comes and lays down on the floor next to me with a blanket wrapped around her neck and giggles.  I turned to look at her and my eyes meet her sparkling blue eyes and she giggled again.  That made me smile and giggle a little too.  I moved to stretch my legs and she stood under me, looked up at me and giggled again.  What a sweet little angel!

I headed into the kitchen to make my smoothie and she went off to play.  The next thing I know she's on top of the kitchen table...this is not a new thing...with a VHS tape box.  The box is empty.  She's sits on the table, opens the box and places her uneaten slice of toast into the box and closes it.  It just struck me as funny.  I laughed out loud.  What a silly little miss.

It's the little things in life that bring a smile to our faces.  I'll be reminded of it all day long.  Have a happy day!

Friday, April 19, 2013


As I make breakfast, load the dishwasher and wash a few dishes my mind is caught up in thoughts of the Boston Marathon this week and the tragic bombings that occurred.  I remember the feelings and emotions that I felt when I sat and watched the Twin Towers collapse and crumble.  I remember the feelings of helplessness and wanting to make the pain and suffering stop.  And some of those same feelings and thoughts emerge yet again as I watched clips and footage of the race.

So many people were hurt.  So many lives altered.  So much sadness.

A hymn plays in my mind as I listen to a talk...
Where can I turn for peace
Where is my solace
When other sources cease to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart, anger or malice
I draw my self apart
searching my soul

Where, when my aching grows
Where, when I languish
Where, in my need to know
Where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand
to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand?
He, only One.

He answers privately,
Reaches my reaching
In my Gethsemane,
Savior and Friend.
Gentle the peace he finds
For my beseeching
Constant He is and kind,
Love without end.

As I think on these things I am so thankful for a loving Savior who is the only true source of peace in our earthly lives.  We can get through these horrific acts of terror and move on and find peace and joy in our lives.  It will not be easy.  But it is possible.

A conference talk from this month's General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints talks of peace and where to find it.  Elder Quentin L. Cook does a beautiful job explaining how we can find peace in his talk entitled Personal Peace: The Reward of Righteousness.

I am so thankful for a loving Savior.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Homemade paints

Curly Girl has been bugging me for paints.  She had some and ran out and just wants to paint.  How could I resist the pleadings of a 4 year old...I didn't want to spend the money on the paint.  I'm cheap.  Haha! I searched the internet for some recipes and found this blog that had a few different recipes.

I chose to make the recipe that she said was their favorite.  Why try to reinvent the wheel?  I'm pretty easy to please.  Today I finally got out the three ingredients to make the paint and Curly Girl helped me.  She stirred the water and cornstarch mixture on the stove.  I helped when it got a little too thick for her.

Then we transferred the warm mixture into small containers that I had purchased for this purpose.  It fit perfectly into the four small 1/2 cup containers.  Once it cooled a bit more I added a very small amount of food coloring the colors that Curly Girl chose.  She wanted rainbow colors.

And there you have happy girl!  Happy Painting Curly Girl!