Monday, March 23, 2015

Coconut-Lavender Dream Cream

Perimenopause came early for this chic. At 38, I started having some hot flashes, night sweats, and the occasional night that I couldn't sleep. Fast forward 5 years, and I'm plagued with insomnia.  Admit it, you just counted in your head and figured out my age. Don't go blabbing it to the world!

Some of you know me fairly well and have seen my rants on Facebook at 3 am. Rather than spending my nights tossing and turning, calculating how much sleep I would get if I fell asleep right that second, and waking up Mr. Right I tend to spend those late nights with a good book or getting work done on my computer.  It takes hours for me to get to sleep and stay asleep.

Those nights that I don't sleep cause some really rough days. I'm cranky, unfocused,  and exhausted. My squirrel moments happen every few minutes and I can't finish anything I started. The insomnia has been worse the last few months and for a while I was contemplating very briefly, 'cause you know I can't focus on one thing for long with no sleep, taking an over the counter medication.

Now that I am on this journey of healthier living, I'd rather not take medicine when there is a more natural way to help me get to sleep. I'm sure you have used the sleepy baby shampoo with lavender and know that this fragrant plant can help your little one relax. But it's not just for kids.


Lavender Oil

What is Lavender Used for?

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) has a fresh, sweet, floral, herbaceous aroma that is soothing and refreshing. Because it is the most versatile of all essential oils, no home should be without it. Lavender is an adaptogen, and therefore can assist the body when adapting to stress or imbalances. 

It is great aid for relaxing and winding down before bedtime, yet has balancing properties that can also boost stamina and energy. Therapeutic-grade lavender is highly regarded for skin and beauty. It can be used to soothe and cleanse common cuts, bruises, and skin irritations. The French scientist René Gattefossé was among the first to discover these properties when he was severely burned in a laboratory explosion. Lavender may also be used to enhance the flavor of foods.

With my insomnia, my husbands Chronic Fatigue, and my sons sleep disorders. Its a wonder we are all healthy. I scoured the Internet looking for ways to introduce my kids to lavender without having to diffuse it at night (since we only have one at the moment).  I found a safe alternative that also helps soften the skin. 

Dream Cream

Ingredients

.75 oz. (approx. 29ml) Beeswax Pellets 

4 oz. Organic Coconut Oil

8-12 drops of Lavender Essential Oil

2 - 2oz. jars or one 4-6 oz. jar



Directions 

Melt the beeswax, slowly in a double boiler. I used my Pyrex measuring cup so I could easily pour it in the jar when it was done. 

Coconut Lavender Dream Cream


Next, add the coconut oil. This part takes me back to the beach.  You will start to smell the coconut. Too bad computers don't have scent technology. That would be so cool!

Lavender Coconut Dream Cream


Once it's all melted add 8 - 12 drops of Lavender Essential oil. I didn't want it too strong since my husband and son have very sensitive noses. Ten drops was just the right amount for them. 

Once you have stirred it around to incorporate the lavender oil. Pour it in your jar/jars and decorate. 

How do I use it?

Apply about 20 minutes before bed on the bottom of your feet. Make sure you put some comfy socks on or you will slide everywhere.  It doesn't take long for the oils to absorb into your skin. The socks will prevent you from falling and also from getting it all over your furniture, sheets, etc. 

After about 20 minutes you will feel so relaxed. My husband was skeptical and told me to try it first and see how it works and then he will try it. He's hooked! He has chronic fatigue and it's coming out of remission. Not the greatest time for that. So he needs the best and most sleep out of all of us.  My youngest son has a sleep disorder and this helps him fall asleep in minutes and he stays asleep. It's amazing. And best of all there are no chemicals you can't pronounce or dyes. And you get soft smooth feet in the morning as well as a well rested family. 

I get my 100% therapeutic essential oils from Young Living. You can buy them wholesale which is a great money saver! I have to say this was the best decision for my family. It's a natural way to help ease stress, pain, allergy symptoms and so much more. Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have



*Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please confirm any information obtained from or through this web site with other sources, and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with your physician. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on this website.


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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Easy Peasy Strawberry Cake

It's inevitable. You are having guests over  and you have been working your butt off cleaning the house, grocery shopping, and making dinner. When you realize you don't have a dessert! And you barely have time to take a shower and get ready. No worries, just do what I do. Text your husband as he's walking out the door from work (men love that) and beg him to pick up the ingredients for my Easy Peasy Strawberry Cake.





Strawberry Cake


It's light and airy and takes only a few minutes to make. No baking, no cake pans, just spread and forget it! Growing up my favorite thing in all the world was strawberries (i've grown up now I like chocolate too). So for my birthday my mom would make a strawberry cake that was so delicious. For years I thought this cake was time consuming. But she shared her secret with me and I, dear readers love ya'll so much that I thought I'd share and make your lives a little easier.


Easy Peasy Strawberry Cake


Three Ingredients

Ingredients

1 Angel Food Cake
1 16 oz. Container of Whipped Cream
1 1 lb container of Frozen Sliced Strawberries

Directions

1. Open up your Angel Food Cake and put it on a pretty cake plate

2. Drain the strawberry juice from the container. You don't want to make the whip cream too runny. 

3. Dump the thawed strawberries  and whipped cream in a bowl. No need for daintiness here. Just Dump! You are pressed for time! Mix it up well. 

4. Slop that mixture on the angel food cake. You can make it as pretty as you can  if you want but you still have to take that shower. Hurry up!

5. If you have some fresh strawberries in the fridge garnish your cake with a few and find a place to shove the easiest cake you'll ever make in the fridge. 

Enjoy!

A Slice of Strawberry Cake


See wasn't that easy?

You can thank me later!

Monday, March 16, 2015

6 Apps that help with Dysgraphia

Has anyone told you that you or your child has bad handwriting? You may have Dysgraphia. When he was younger,my son , would scream and cry when asked to hold any type of writing utensil. It didn't matter what it was, he could not hold it. We tried rubber grips to give it a different texture, we tried fat crayons and pencils,  we tried gloves on his hands. You name it we tried it. Nothing worked. It took two long years of trying before he would finally pick up a pencil or a crayon and draw something. 


Students with Dysgraphia

Once he started writing , I was beyond excited for him. He had trouble with some letters but he could write them and as legibly as you can for a first grader. He could write sentences that I could read. Granted sometimes his words ran together and he would forget a space but it was legible and readable. 
Fast forward 3 years, he is now in the 4th grade and can not get what he wants to say on paper. It all comes out in squiggles. He even slows down and does one word at a time it still is just squiggles. You can not distinguish what letters he was even writing to even decipher what he just wrote. 


Apps for Dysgraphia

  What is Dysgraphia?

 Dysgraphia is a learning disability that affects a person's writing skills. It can show itself as problems with spelling, poor handwriting and trouble putting thoughts on paper. These students need specific accommodations in the classroom and extra practice at home to master writing assignments in school. Just having bad handwriting doesn't mean a person has Dysgraphia. Since Dysgraphia is a processing disorder, problems can change over time. 


Signs and Symptoms


  • Tight, awkward pencil grip and body position
  • Messy and indecipherable handwriting
  • Avoiding writing or drawing activities
  • Tires quickly while writing
  • Saying each word out loud while writing
  • unfinished or omitted words in their sentences
  • Difficulty with sentence structure and grammar
  • Large gap between written ideas and understanding what was written through speech

Because of his disability we fought long and hard to get him some help in school. The first step was requesting assistive technology for him in writing. Once the school and the county agreed that he needed help they sent someone to show him how to use the programs they use. And evaluate which tech would be a good fit for him. 


There's an App for that!!


Using that same technology at home can be very expensive and since we don't qualify for assistive technology at home yet we had to figure out other ways to help him with his homework, writing assignments, and projects. I thought I'd share a few here for you. 


SnapType for OT -  works with  iPhone and iPad it allows the student to take a picture of their homework sheet, save it, tap where the answers need to go and type out the answers and finally email it to the teacher or have mom and dad print it out. The Pro Upgrade is $2.99

Dragon - is a talk to text program for your computer (there is also an app for both the iPhone and Android). It's surprisingly accurate and easy to use. I personally have used the app for my phone. We are working on ordering the program for him to use on his computer.  This is perfect for writing assignments, book reports, projects and much more. And it happens to be on sale for $74.99 on their site. 

PaperDesk - Works on the iPad and requires IOS 8.0 or higher. This app allows you to write or type notes. They also have a record feature. And you can also take a picture of diagrams or notes. This probably would be more for older kids (middle school and up).   This one costs $3.99.  

Echo- is compatible with Windows and Mac. It can record everything you write, hear, or say and save it to your computer. This pen runs about $119.00 for 2GB. 

Notability - is like Paper Desk and allows you to record, take pictures and type your notes. Again this one is for older kids (middle school and up). This one is $2.99 and works only with the iPhone and iPad and requires an IOS of 7.0 or later. 

EverNote - Can also allow older students to type their notes from class rather than writing them. It is compatible with both the iPhone,iPad, and Android. And can be used online for just $5.00/month.  This one is free for your phones but has in app purchases ranging from $4.99-$44.99. 



If you have not yet qualified for assistive technology for your child ask for a note taker or scribe to make sure your child gets the notes and homework written down every day so they can read them. It will make for a less frustrating year for all of you! 


Do you know of any apps that can help students with Dysgraphia? I would love to hear from you! 



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Zenni Optical

I have had vision problems since I was in 10th grade and since then have worn glasses, soft contacts, and hybrid contacts. I do have Keratoconus in both eyes that affects my corneas and changes their shape. Because of that, special contacts needed to be worn. I was fortunate to be able to get the hybrids a few years ago since I had vision insurance. At $800.00 per eye they were very pricey and not very comfortable.

Zenni Optical



Since then our insurance changed and we no longer have vision insurance for the adults. After much debate as to what to do, we did what any savvy blogger mom would do. and did our research, asked co-workers, friends and read lots of reviews. We settled on a plan. 

We got our eyes checked at a local vision center and ordered our glasses through Zenni Optical. Starting at $6.95 these glasses were perfect. I loved the fact that I could upload a picture of myself to try on glasses virtually. Granted looking at them online is not the same as checking them out in person. There are so many types of frames to choose from and range from trendy, retro, classy to plain and unassuming. 

Once chosen, I entered my prescription, paid and waited. It took them about a week and half to arrive. I'm not sure if that was because it was a slightly complicated prescription or because they are cut in China. Either way it took some waiting. I did however, get updates texted to me everyday of the status of their progress. It saved me from checking online all the time. 

Zenni Optical


The only thing that bothered me was that the package was in a bubble wrapped sealed envelope instead of a box. But the fact that they were enveloped in it's own cleaning cloth inside a glasses case was protection enough I guess. 

Over all, I think this experience was a great one. I would order from Zenni Optical again in the future. I think I will look for some prescription sunglasses next. Since warmer weather is approaching and sunlight is painful to my eyes I need something soon.  

One tip I would give you if you decide this is the way to go for you and your family. Make sure you get your pupillary distance for each family member from your eye doctor.  You can do it yourself but it's a pain.

Don't know what type of frames to get? Here is a fun quiz at Zenni Optical to help you decide.  I got Cat Eyes. Not exactly what I would choose. But the quiz is just for laughs. 

Based on the quiz, what frames are good for you?


Disclaimer: I did not receive any payment or a reward for writing this review. I paid for these glasses on my own. These are my own words based on my experience and opinion.