Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Most Popular Christmas Book at Our House

Cats and Christmas? Add an interactive Pop-Up Book and you have an unbeatable combination. At least, in the eyes of my 2 1/2 year old. 

Nye-Nye got this book as a Gift from her Auntie Julie and Cousin Nia last Christmas. She was too young to gently pull all the tabs last year. 

Now it's PERFECT.

It's getting LOTS of Love every single day. She's only torn one small section and that was easily repaired with some glue.

Neither of us have gotten tired at finding all the different ways this group of cats get into mischief. Knocking over stuff, hiding in boxes, pulling off ornaments...they remind me of my 7 month old.

The design is terrific, the illustrations charming. As someone who has hand-made several books, I am impressed with the quality of this book.

My favorite page is when the exterior of an entire house that Pops up...complete with a Santa diving into the chimney. Very cute.

There is only a sentence per 2 pages, so it doesn't take long to "read" the book, even when you spend a minute or two playing with the various tabs. (A must on some nights when Mommy and Daddy are tired and we don't want to spend 15 minutes reading ONE BOOK).

This book has now officially become part of our Family Christmas Tradition.

Thanks Julie and Nia!

Here is my Affiliate Link to The Curious Cats' Christmas A Pop-up Adventure!  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

5 Gifts for Migraine Sufferers.

I got my first Migraine 10 years ago. During these past 10 years, I have sought relief through many, many different ways. I seriously need to write a post about EVERYTHING I have tried. 

Sleep, Prescription Meds, Muscle Relaxers, Feverfew, Tons of Water, Massage, Light Exercise (when I feel one coming on), Essential Oils, Ice Foot Baths, Trigger-Point Therapy, Steam, Heating Packs, Alternating Heat and Cold, TENS, Caffeine, Ice Packs, Acupuncture, etc...

Through a lot of trial and error, I have figured out what works for me. The amount of Migraines I get and their severity have really lessened. As soon as I feel a twinge in the back of my neck, I have to TAKE ACTION. 

Obviously, the best solution is to PREVENT a Migraine from happening. My triggers are Hormones, Lack of Sleep and Stress. Unfortunately, there is not much I can do about Lack of Sleep at this stage in my life.

Here are a few PREVENTIONS that have helped me. And some ideas for Gifts that may help the person in your life who suffers from Migraines.

1. Buckwheat Pillow

I bought this 10 months ago and I LOVE IT. Definitely worth the 35 bucks I paid for it. Great for headaches caused by neck pain. It's cooling and is like a Memory Foam Pillow, without all the questionable chemicals. It's a little crunchy. It can take a few days to get accustomed to the sensation of the pillow shifting around so much. But, neck pain is no longer a Migraine trigger for me, thanks to this pillow.

One of these days I want to buy a whole Buckwheat Mattress. You can buy a kit from Open Your Eyes Bedding.

2. A Gift Card to a POCA Acupuncture Clinic

Acupuncture treatments have helped shorten the length of my Migraines, lessen their severity, and helped prevent me from getting to the vomiting stage many, many times. Regular treatments are essential for me to get my Migraines under control.

How is that affordable?  Two words.

Community Acupuncture.

At $15-25 a pop for a treatment in a group setting, I can't recommend this enough. For those folks living in MD/NOVA/DC, we are lucky..there are several options. I've been to the...

The Turning Point (Frederick)

Mend (Baltimore),

Our Space (Silver Spring) 

and Sufi Acupuncture (Hagerstown).

Black Sheep Community Acupuncture Clinic (Baltimore) is only 5 minutes from my Sister's house. I definitely want to get a treatment there soon.

Check out POCA to see if there is a Community Acupuncture Clinic near you. I'm sure the Clinic closest to you (or the Gift recipient) would be happy to provide you with an Acupuncture Treatment Gift Card.

3. Epsom Salt

There appears to be a link between Magnesium deficiency and Migraines. One way I've been trying to get more Magnesium is to regularly take baths with Epsom Salts. It's an easy (and relaxing) way to up your Magnesium intake. You can soak your feet in an Epsom Salt Foot Bath for 20 minutes, if you are more of a Shower person. Nice Stocking Stuffer.

4. Raw Almonds

A tasty way to get more Magnesium is through eating Nuts and Seeds. Pumpkins (and other Squash) Seeds provide the most Magnesium of any Nut or Seed.. Another thoughtful Stocking Stuffer.

5. Peppermint Essential Oil

When I feel a Migraine coming on, I try and find ways to cool down the base of my skull. Ice Packs work well and so does Peppermint Essential Oil. It's very cooling and feels so good on whatever part of my head is the throbbing. I know a lot of people use Lavender Essential Oil as well. I love the smell of Lavender, but prefer the cold sensation of Peppermint more.

That wraps it up. As common as Migraines are, I'm sure there is someone on your Christmas List who might benefit from some of these Gifts. Hope this helps!

***Full Disclosure: There are a few Affiliate Links on this page. Thanks a bunch.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Gifts to Make. Infused Vodka.

What's a terrific adult present for that person who has EVERYTHING? A beautiful bottle of Infused Vodka.

(Thanks Elyse for the inspiration)!

Papa Bear and I experimented making several flavors this Summer. We both really like the taste of the "Lemon Verbena and Cinnamon Infused Vodka." With our first batch, we kept the Cinnamon Sticks in for 3 days (3 sticks in a large Ball Jar) and I think that was a little bit too long. I think two days is perfect.

We also have also made some Lemon Balm and Black Tea Infused Vodka. I love Black Tea, so this one was my favorite.

I'm thinking of making a "Cranberry and Lime Infused Rum" and maybe adding a little Black Tea. For Thanksgiving, my Mama always makes a Cranberry Punch with some Black Tea. A little Rum to it always takes it up a notch. 

Cranberries, Lime, Black Tea and Rum...sounds like a perfect combination to me. I've read that when infusing with Cranberries, the longer they sit the sweeter the drink. At least a week, maybe two. I better get cracking!!!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Gifts To Make. Play Silks. Ages 2-7.

If there is a Kiddo on your Christmas List who is really into Imaginary Play this be right up their alley.

It's one of the coolest Craft Ideas I've seen in awhile. Cheap, easy and encourages Open Ended Play. It's so worth making yourself and NOT buying.

Kool-Aid, White Vinegar and boiling hard is that? The hardest thing for me was tracking down some Kool-Aid.

I bought several plain white silk scarves from Dharma Trading Company. The cheapest was about $2 and the largest one was $8. I don't even want to think about how much the large one would have cost, if I bought it from a Waldorf site.

It took less than an hour to "dye the Playsilks" and was very straight-forward. (The biggest issue was a whiny Toddler who wanted to stir the boiling water).

I would think this would work as a present for both Girls and Boys up to the age of 7 or so. Especially if you dyed a really large scarf or two. A cool tent, or curtains for a theater...the possibilities are unless!

This could also work as a gift for that person in your life who ADORES scarves as a fashion accessory. It would be a fun activity to do with an older child.

Nice tutorial here.

Wonderful photos with another tutorial here.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Sorry things have been a bit quiet around here.

I have had the best intentions. But, between committing to going to bed earlier. And, not having had a car to drive to the Gym (where I do most of my writing, while the girls are in Kids Club) has meant, I haven't had the time to write all the posts I've been planning.

Here is a post of some of my Gift Ideas from the past.

I spent the first week of December frantically organizing the house for a walk-through by our Landlord that never happened. The threat of somebody snooping through our closets and storage areas was enough of a push to get me to FINALLY go through all our boxes.

The Great News?

What was found?

A pair of rain pants, a pair of heavy SmartWool socks and an eye mask. All things I was going to ask for Christmas.

The missing wheel for a piece of furniture we had borrowed from my Mother.

A metal antique hand-washing station that we had borrowed from my Mother.

A photo of Nye nursing in the bath-tub.

Baby Indian clothes for Bright Eyes to wear.

We'll been battling the sniffles and a cough around these parts. So, I've been making some "Elderberry Kombucha" and my first batch of "Lacto-Fermented Cranberries" (packed full of Vitamin C).

I've been making tons of soups and made my first attempt at "Lacto-Fermented Green Beans" which were devoured by my Husband and my Eldest in a blink of an eye. Yummy!

Our Christmas Calendar has been a success and has helped even my Grinchy-self get more in the Holiday Spirit! Hope to share more soon!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Happy 7 Months! Anala.

Only photos Today. My Monthly Lettter isn't finished yet. I'm having trouble narrowing down these photos to my favorite two or three. Which are your favorites?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Post-Nap Surprise

It worked out well. The Christmas activity of the Day 2 was to buy a Christmas Tree.
Papa Bear came home early on Day 2 and brought home a tiny living Christmas Tree. He hid it in the Play-room. After waking up from her nap and giving her Daddy hugs and kisses, she opened up the Day 2 of the Advent Calendar. They went hunting for the tree. The excitement of her finding the tree was contagious. 

Our activity for Day 1 of the Advent Calendar was to "hang the Stockings." Unfortunately, only one Stocking could be found, so we hung some Ornaments instead.

The Christmas Tree with be decorated, a few Ornaments will be made and hung and maybe a Christmas Wreath and then I think that will be it for this year's decorations.

If you celebrate Christmas, are you finished decorating?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Our Homemade Christmas Calendar


December, already?

How did that happen?

This year I figured the Kiddo was old enough to understand an Advent Calendar. Of course, I remember that I wanted to do one the last night of November. Three or so hours later, this is what I had...

Not sure if it's going to survive all that daily handling required. But, it didn't cost any money, so I am pleased. Plus, I really like it's Handmade quality.

I was inspired by the blog Morning Creativity. Happy December! Can't wait to share my ideas for this Month's Theme.
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