Wednesday, November 29, 2017

12 Must See Christmas Movies


This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  

Peppermint hot chocolate, cozy sweaters, twinkling lights, candy canes, pine trees...

You're thinking of Christmas right now, aren't you?

You're welcome.

12 Must See Christmas Movies
One of our Christmas traditions is to watch one of our must-see Christmas movies.  Want to know what made it onto my list?  Here you go!

Monday, November 27, 2017

20+ Places to Buy Adaptive Clothing and Accessories for Special Needs

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  Don't worry, this won't cost you any extra!

For parents who have kids with special needs or a disability, it can be hard to find clothes that work well and are easy to wear.


This list of places that sell adaptive clothing and accessories covers just about everything from G Tubes to wheelchairs to sensory needs.   

Monday, November 20, 2017

Christmas Traditions: Ornaments for Every Occasion From Etsy

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  Don't worry, this won't cost you any extra!

Every year on Christmas morning, my kids know that they will find a new ornament in their stockings.  Each of their ornaments mark a milestone they experienced in the past year or note something that they're currently interested in.  This year, Katie will be receiving a basketball ornament as she just started playing basketball, Nano will get a tractor ornament because he's really getting into farming with Hubby, and Anna and Davy will each get a first year of preschool ornament as they both started school this year (Anna is in 4/5 preschool and Davy is in 3/4.)

I have a lot of fun carefully picking out a special ornament every year for each of my children.  Someday, when they move out to their own place, they will already have a collection of ornaments for their Christmas tree.  I hope this is a tradition that they will someday pass on to their own children. 

Christmas Traditions: Ornaments for Every Occasion From Etsy

One of my favorite places to get ornaments is Etsy.  I love how unique every ornament is and how easy it is to find personalized ones.  A great bonus to shopping on Etsy is being able to help support fellow small business owners like me. 

Here are some of my favorite ornaments that I found on Etsy this year...

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Best Places for You to Shop Online

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  Don't worry, this won't cost you any extra!

It's that time of year again!

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

I'm about halfway down with mine and most of it was done on my laptop after the kids went to bed.  Online shopping for the win!

The Best Places for You to Shop Online

I actually do most of my shopping online, even household supplies using Amazon subscriptions.  With four kids and a chronic illness, it's been a lifesaver for me. 

Here are just a few things I love about online shopping...

Monday, November 13, 2017

30+ Books for Kids with Special Needs Siblings: The Ultimate List

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  Don't worry, this won't cost you any extra!

When my youngest son Davy was born, my three older kids were 6, 4 and 17 months old.  The next year or so was very hard on my whole family as Davy spent countless hours at doctors' appointment, was hospitalized five times and, and required one-on-one care during most of his waking hours.  The guilt of not being able to care for all my kids' needs was crushing and made even worse when people would "helpfully" point out that I had three older kids who needed me too.  I knew that having a medically complex, special needs sibling was hard on my kids and I didn't want them to resent him or feel left out.

When Davy was around six months old, I found a book about kids with G Tubes on Amazon and got it to read to the older kids.  It helped them see that their brother's button wasn't scary and other kids had them too.  That got me thinking of how helpful books could be for kids who have siblings with special needs.

30+ Books for Kids with Special Needs Siblings: The Ultimate List

Keep reading for a list of over 30 books for kids with special needs siblings.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

10 Things Guaranteed to Cure Whatever Ails You

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  Don't worry, this won't cost you any extra!

As someone with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, asthma, acid reflux disease, eczema, etc, I've heard it all.  On top of that, all four of my kids have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome as well, and three of them also have asthma and eczema.  My youngest son, Davy, had to have a feeding tube until he was 18 months old due to the severity of his issues.

10 Things Guaranteed to Cure Whatever Ails You

With all that, there's no shortage of unsolicited advice and cures.

"You only have your disease because you've 'claimed' it."

"You'd feel better if you would exercise more and eat better."

"Your *insert condition here* could be cured if you tried this supplement."

"Your EDS was caused by vaccinations."

Thanks to all the helpful advice I've received, I was able to put together a list of things that will cure any problem you have.  You're welcome.

Monday, November 6, 2017

When Terror Hits Too Close to Home

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  Don't worry, this won't cost you any extra!

Yesterday morning was like any other Sunday morning.  I fixed a hot dish in the crockpot for the fellowship dinner that takes place at church every week, picked out a suit and tie for Hubby, fixed the girls' hair, helped Nano with the top button on his shirt so he could put his tie on, got Davy dressed in corduroy pants and a button-up shirt, and made sure everyone had their Bibles before we left the house.

There are around 40 people in our little Baptist church on a normal Sunday, and we're all like one big family.  Hubby and I both grew up in this church.  Our parents and several of our siblings along with their families still attend as well so we have a lot of relatives in the church.  It's small and close-knit, and we love it.

When Terror Hits Too Close to Home

Like usual, 3 year old Davy struggled to sit quietly during church despite the crayons, matchbox cars, and mints I plied him with.  We sat in the back row on the right side of the church to minimize the distractions to others as they listened to the sermon.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Bodysuit Solutions for Special Needs Kids


This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  Don't worry, this won't cost you any extra!
I was also compensated for this post, but all opinions stated are mine. 

Davy wore an actual shirt instead of a onesie for the first time ever when he was 18 months old.  Before that, he only wore onesies to protect his G Tube on his tummy.  They kept his Mini One button covered and protected from pull-outs.

Bodysuit Solutions for Special Needs Kids

We had planned to leave the G Tube in until after the next cold and flu season as Davy generally regressed quite a bit with his oral eating when he got sick.  However, due to recurring infections, Davy's G Tube was removed earlier than planned.  Thankfully, he continued eating 100% by mouth and didn't regress too much during cold and flu season, as we had feared he might.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

50+ Books for Special Needs Kids: The Ultimate List

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  Don't worry, this won't cost you any extra!

If your child has special needs of any kind, reading them a book about another child with similar issues can make them feel less alone.  

When I got my kids a copy of "Special Like Me" which is a book about a boy with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome just like they have, they were pretty excited.  I even took it to the school and read it to each of my two oldest kids' classes.

For children with special needs of any kind, reading them a book about another child with similar issues can make them feel less alone.  

50+ Books for Special Needs Kids: The Ultimate List

Books that focus on special needs of any kind are not just a great idea for the kids who have them, but for their peers, family, and anyone else who could benefit from learning more about the condition (hint: that would be everyone).

With that in mind, I spent several days researching and compiling this list of children's books about various special needs and disabilities.  I hope you find a book that works for your family!   

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Easy No Sew High Low Vest Tutorial

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  Don't worry, this won't cost you any extra!

I wear layers most of the time.  Sometimes it's a t-shirt and hoodie, but other times, when I have to look like adulty and like I didn't just roll out of bed, I throw a vest on over my shirt to dress it up.

One day, I was wishing I had a vest to go with a specific shirt I was wearing that day and then happened to glance at my mountain reasonably sized stash of fabric and realized that I had everything I needed to make myself a new vest.  10 minutes later, I was done and out the door.

Easy No Sew High Low Vest Tutorial

Want to make the cutest, easiest fashion piece ever for yourself?  You'll need four things...a yard of knit fabric, fabric scissors, 10 minutes of your time, and a long sleeved shirt from your closet.

Seriously, that's it.  And don't worry.  You won't be cutting up your long sleeved shirt.   

Thursday, October 19, 2017

My POTS Story: How an EDS Diagnosis Led to POTS

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  

I remember sitting in the shade as a kid while my siblings ran around and played in the sunshine.  I had no interest in joining them because the sunlight made me feel "funny."  I didn't know it at the time, but it was the first symptom of Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome or POTS.

Since I was a teenager, I've had chest pains.  They're sudden and sharp, and they feel like I'm being stabbed in the heart.  After mentioning it to my doctor, she ordered an echocardiogram and an EKG, both of which came back normal so I wrote it off as me being weird again.

My POTS Story: How an EDS Diagnosis Led to POTS

When I was 18, I went to a two day Christian music festival and camped in a tent with some of my friends.  It was hot and sunny the whole time, and I was absolutely miserable.  I ended up sleeping in the tent most of the time, so dizzy and nauseous that I could barely stand.  When I was able to get out and listen to some of the concerts, the sun was so bright that I couldn't see and I got a headache from squinting so hard.  I thought I'd be fine when we got home, but a few weeks later, I was still so fatigued that I couldn't keep my eyes open and not feeling well at all.  I went to the doctor who diagnosed me with a severe chronic magnesium deficiency.    

POTS Warrior shirt from Sunshine and Spoons
See the whole "POTS Warrior" collection in the Sunshine and Spoons Shop

I have never fainted, but I've always had issues with being dizzy and lightheaded.  I black out easily and it usually takes me a minute to feel okay again after I stand up.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Just Like Me: Toys for Kids with Special Needs

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  Don't worry, this won't cost you any extra!

Kids love it when their toys look like them.  From hair and eye color, to any special needs that they might have, it helps them feel accepted.  They can also help kids feel less afraid of their differences or medical conditions.

My son Davy was only two months old when he had surgery to get his G Tube.  The day before his surgery, a nurse came into his hospital room with a stuffed bunny that had a G Tube just like the one Davy would be getting.  I practiced hooking the extension tube up on the bunny before and after Davy got his feeding tube which was much less stressful than having to practice on my screaming baby.  He got his G Tube out when he was 18 months old, but the bunny still sits on top of his dresser.  I plan to add it to his memory box when he gets older.

Just Like Me: Toys for Kids with Special Needs

Toys that are adapted or created to have special needs or disabilities shouldn't just be for the kids who have them though.  What greater way to teach your child that it's okay to be different, have a feeding tube, or wear leg braces than for them to play with a toy like that?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Handsocks and Eczema Awareness Month

I was compensated in the form of product for this post.  Nevertheless everything in this post is my honest opinion.

October is Eczema Awareness Month.  Mild eczema is usually no more than an annoyance, but for people who have severe eczema, it can be downright miserable.

With four of us diagnosed with asthma, eczema is also a common issue in our family.  Davy's eczema is definitely the worst though.

Handsocks and Eczema Awareness Month

The poor kid has eczema from head to toe and when it's flaring up, he's so miserable that he can't sleep at night.  He scratches until his skin is raw and open.  I do a skin care routine for him each night that includes a layer of triamcinolone (a prescription steroid cream), vaseline, and then vanicream.  The triamcinolone often burns when it's applied and so understandably, Davy hates his skin care routine.   Periodically, his eczema will flare-up so severely that nothing I do at home can get it under control again.  The only thing that works at that point is a round of Prednisone (an oral steroid) and antibiotics.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

What Is Life Like with ALS?


I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and it can make being a mom hard.  My kids know that there are days that Mommy has lots of owies and needs to rest.  I can't do a lot of activities with them like take them to the park or go for walks with them.

My EDS has given me a small taste of what it's like to be a mom with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease).  Sarah from Speed 4 Sarah was diagnosed with ALS when she was 33 and her daughter was just two years old.


ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder.  Early symptoms include muscle cramps and twitching, weakness in the limbs, and difficulty swallowing or speaking.  As it progresses, the muscles atrophy and eventually become paralyzed.  The survival rate is generally 2-5 years after diagnosis.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Giving Back Program Pick for October

In the past, I've selected March as a month to give back by donating a percentage of all sales in the Sunshine and Spoons Shop to a foundation or charity organization.  But now it's time to up the ante.

From now on, I will be selecting a different organization each month to which to donate 10% of all proceeds from the Sunshine and Spoons Shop during that month.  Each month, the new organization will be posted here so you can see who and how your purchases can help.  I'll also post the total from the month before.

As October is Dysautonomia Awareness Month, a cause that is dear to my heart (pun intended for those of you with POTS, haha) 10% off the proceeds from all purchases during the month will be donated to Dysautonomia International.


Be sure to check out the dysautonomia collection at the Sunshine and Spoons Shop to help raise awareness for and continue to fund research for dysautonomia.  Remember though that ALL purchases count towards the donation amount.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
@sunshineNspoons is donating 10% of all shop proceeds to @Dysautonomia International this month!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Have a suggestion for next month's Giving Back Selection?  Leave it here!










Monday, October 2, 2017

What are Dysautonomia and POTS?

Did you know that October is Dysautonomia Awareness Month?

Let me back that up a little....do you know what dysautonomia is?

If you said no, you're not alone.  Most people have never even heard of it.  I didn't know what it was either until I was diagnosed with it.

What are Dysautonomia and POTS?

Monday, September 25, 2017

20+ Shops Run by Special Needs & Spoonie Moms

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  Don't worry, this won't cost you any extra!

Parents who have chronic illnesses and/or children with special needs often have a hard time working a traditional job.  Between therapies, doctor appointments, and low spoon days, a job with flexible hours can make the difference between being able to keep a job or not.  One of the best ways to do that is to be self-employed.

20+ Shops Run by Special Needs & Spoonie Moms

Many special needs/spoonie moms end up starting their own shops online which gives them the flexibility to take care of their kids and themselves.  Want to help support them?  Check out the list I compiled of shops run by special needs/spoonie moms below and do a little shopping.  Christmas will be here before you know it!  

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Meet Sarah: Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease Awareness

Charcot-Marie-Tooth...sounds like a fancy dentist, right?

Actually, it's a neurological disorder that was named after the three doctors who first identified it.  It affects approximately 1 in 2,500 people.  Some of the symptoms include foot deformities, muscle weakness and atrophy, loss of sensation, and more.

September is Charcot-Marie-Tooth or CMT awareness month.  Joining me today is Sarah Wells from My Stripy Life to talk about her journey with CMT.

Meet Sarah: Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease Awareness

Hannah from Sunshine and Spoons: What condition do you have?

Sarah from My Stripy Life: I have lots of conditions, labels that have been applied to my list of symptoms over the years, my most recent being Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (hEDS) and the associated co-morbidities. But the one I'm going to tell you a little more about today is my first diagnosis, Charcot Marie Tooth Disease (CMT). It's a peripheral neuropathy affecting the sensory and motor nerves to my arms and legs. I like to think that my bodies nerves are like a system of electrical wires and because of CMT the wiring to my arms and legs is wonky.

💙

Hannah: How does it affect you? How does it affect your family's daily life?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

How to Start an Online T-Shirt Business with Printful

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  Don't worry, this won't cost you any extra!

When I first started my t-shirt business, I had to figure everything out on my own.  What sites to use, how to set up my website, how to design graphics for my shirts, etc.  It was time-consuming and intimidating to say the least.

Thankfully, I had some experience researching things like that as I'd been running an online shop selling handmade children's clothing and accessories called Annalie's Baby Boutique since 2010.  I loved my shop, but I knew it was time for a change.  I just didn't have the time to devote to it anymore plus my health was deteriorating thanks to Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, and it was getting harder for me keep up.  

I had a lot of designs that I wanted to have printed on shirts, but the idea of having to pay up front to have a bunch of shirts printed that may or may not sell was a little daunting.  That also would mean keeping up on inventory, packaging, and shipping products myself.  And then I found Printful, a print-on-demand company that would take care of all of that for me.  It was exactly what I was looking for.

How to Start an Online T-Shirt Business with Printful

I closed down Annalie's Baby Boutique and opened the Sunshine and Spoons Shop in September 2016 to go along with my blog, Sunshine and Spoons.

Here are my statistics for the year of 2016.  I opened my shop in mid-September.

How to Start an Online T-Shirt Business with Printful

Want to open your own print-on-demand t-shirt shop?  Here's how to do it.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

How to Make No Sew DIY Rice Heating Pads

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  Don't worry, this won't cost you any extra!

There are five people in my family who have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which means that pain is a normal occurrence around.  I prefer to try alternative methods of pain relief such as using essential oils (Panaway is a great one for muscle pain!), massage, ice, and heat before turning to tylenol.

A few weeks ago, I had all four of my wisdom teeth removed and was in excruciating pain for 10 days straight.  After applying ice to both sides of my face for the first 48 hours, the oral surgeon recommended switching to heat.  He said I could heat up the ice packs he'd sent home with me, but they just didn't seem to hold the heat very well so I decided to grab one of our trusty rice socks that I'd made with one of Hubby's (clean!) tube socks instead.  The problem was that it was too big and bulky to work well for my face.  In a rare moment of clarity, I grabbed a leg warmer from the kids' mis-matched sock basket and turned it into a perfectly sized rice heating pad.  

How to Make No Sew DIY Rice Heating Pads

Want to make your own rice heating pads that are the perfect size for kids AND adults?

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

How to Make a Snot and Chest Rub with Essential Oils


This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  Don't worry, this won't cost you any extra!

I don't know about your kids, but when mine have stuffy noses and coughs, no one sleeps in my house, which makes for cranky kids and a cranky mama.  Thankfully, I have a few tricks up my sleeve to help everyone sleep a little better!

First, I run a diffuser in the sick child's room at bedtime for about 30 minutes with a drop of R.C. oil from Young Living.     

Secondly, I rub some of my Snot and Chest Rub on the bottom of my little one's feet and on his or her chest.  

How to Make a Snot and Chest Rub with Essential Oils

When I first got some Snot and Chest Rub from my oily friend, I had doubts about how much it would help, but after four sleepless nights with Anna, who was three years old at the time, I was getting pretty desperate.  Guess what?  We both slept all night!!

Want the recipe?  You can find it below.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

10 Survival Tips for When Your Child is Sick

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  Don't worry, this won't cost you any extra!

Cold and flu season are just around the corner!  Yay. *insert sarcasm here*  

So far, we haven't been hit by anything, but I know it's coming especially with school starting back up again soon.

To make things a little bit easier, I thought I'd share with you some of tricks I use to prepare for and survive when my kids get sick.

10 Survival Tips for When Your Child is Sick

Monday, August 21, 2017

What You Need to Know About the Truth of PTSD

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  

When you hear of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD, what do you think of?

If a soldier returning from being deployed is the first thing that came to your mind, you're in the majority.

Here's a definition of PTSD from the Mayo Clinic:
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event -- either experiencing or witnessing it.  Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
Any traumatic event can trigger PTSD.  Obviously, war is a big one, but there are so many others as well.  Traumas such as the death of a loved one, having a medically complex/fragile child or one who spent extensive time in the NICU, abuse, surviving a natural disaster, and more can cause PTSD.

What You Need to Know About the Truth of PTSD from Sunshine and Spoons

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What you need to know about the truth of PTSD: http://bit.ly/2wxeXl2
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PTSD is isolating.  I try to keep my struggles with it to myself because very few people understand that it's not something I can control in the moment or just "get over."  The worst is when someone else has been through a similar experience and came through it without suffering from PTSD.  There's no way to predict who will end up with PTSD and who won't, but I can tell you that just because you're one of the ones who does, that does NOT mean you're weak.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Etsy Finds: 15+ Educational Toys that Kids Will Love

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  

Most of my kids' toys are in the play area of our basement.  The kids aren't allowed in the basement because the last time they went down there, they dumped ALL of the toys out.  ALL OF THEM.  That happened just about a month after I spent countless hours painstakingly organizing all of the toys into labeled boxes.

I may have cried a little.  

Since Toypocalypse, the kids only get to play with the toys that were already in the main level of our house.  That's about 10% of their toys.  They have legos, playdough, the sensory bean box, tractors, Shopkins, and a few other assorted sets and random toys.  It's been about 6 months (because I just can't bring myself to go downstairs and face the insanity), and they have barely noticed.

What that tells me is that it's quality, not quantity that matters when it comes to kids' toys.

Etsy Finds:  15+ Educational Toys that Kids Will Love

So guess what?  I'm going to be having a garage sale (or rummage sale or tag sale depending on where you're from) and selling a LOT of toys!  Also, I'm going to be a lot more selective about bringing toys into the house.  (Unless they're for me...I collect Vintage Fisher Price toys)  As far as toys that the kids play with, I have a few requirements.

Any toys in my house must be educational and non-annoying (to me, not them because we all know that kids don't care how annoying a toy is.)

With that in mind, I put together a list of awesome educational toys I found on Etsy that kids AND their parents will love.  Bonus: not a single one of these toys needs batteries!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

What Chronically Ill People Want You To Know

Just about everyone who has a chronic illness fights not just their illness, but the preconceptions and judgments of their friends, family, and even complete strangers.  Stories like this or this happen way too often.

I asked people on my Facebook page, in the Spoonie Mommas group, and the Sunshine and Spoons group what they wish people knew about their chronic illnesses.  The answers were pretty eye-opening.  

If you love someone with a chronic illness of any kind, read this.  For them.  You'll come away with a greater understanding of what they are going through everyday.    

What Chronically Ill People Want You To Know

For me personally, I wish people knew that I feel like I have the flu just about everyday.  Imagine that...waking up in the morning aching intensely all over, so exhausted that you can barely put one foot in front of the other and that it gets worse throughout the day.  Now imagine waking up like that every single day and knowing that it will never get better.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

How to Conquer the Laundry Monster

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  

Around four years ago, I conquered the laundry monster.  It was awesome.

Aaaand, then it came back to life.

Long story short, I had my fourth baby who ended up being medically complex, we moved to a new home, my two oldest kids, the baby and I were all diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, and I've spent the last three years at doctors' offices and in hospitals.  My world was turned upside down, and I totally lost control of the laundry.

How to conquer the laundry monster

That baby is now three years old and doing amazingly well.  We're slowly getting past the newly diagnosed stage of having a genetic syndrome and moving on to the maintenance stage.  We've lived in our home for three years now and everything has been unpacked, spread all over the house, and multiplied x 2000.  (Seriously, where does all this junk come from?!?)

It's time to tackle the laundry.  *insert scary music here*

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Do You Really Have to Treasure Each Moment?

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  

As parents, we've all heard statements like these...

"Enjoy your kids now because you'll never get these days back."

"They'll never be this little again."

"Treasure each day with your child."

It seems that I always run across one of those blog posts or memes on days when I haven't had too many good mommy moments.  Days when I'm literally counting down the minutes until bedtime and simultaneously dreading the usual bedtime battle.  Days when the kids weren't the only ones yelling around our house.  Days when I wish I was done with diapers or potty training for good.

Do You Really Have to Treasure Each Moment?

Thanks for making me feel guilty for having "wasted" another day with my kids that I'll never get back.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Shopping for Gifts at Uncommon Goods

I was compensated for this post, but all opinions are mine.

The summer is half over already.

Seriously.  What happened?

We're deep in summer mode over here, but I've already started my Christmas shopping.  With four kidlets of my own, 14 nieces and nephews and countless other people on my list, I've found that it's much more cost effective and less stressful for me to start super early.

On a side note, Anna saw the Christmas tree stashed under the stairs in the basement this morning and asked if we could put it up yet.  I draw the line there.

It's not just Christmas shopping though.  I tend to buy things for birthdays and other events throughout the year, mainly because if I don't, I know I'll completely forget until the morning of and then have to panic and shove some random gift in a gift bag.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Why God Hasn't Healed Me

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  

When I was 17, I went to an outdoor Christian music festival for 2 days with some friends.  That's when I found out that I have a heat and sun intolerance and also when it got kicked into overdrive.  I spent most of my time sleeping in the tent, and it took me several months to recover.

Why God Hasn't Healed Me

Since then, things have gotten worse.  Each one of my pregnancies intensified my heat and sun intolerance, and now it's so severe that I often joke that I'm a vampire because I stay out of the sun as much as I possibly can.  Just a few seconds in the sun or heat, and I start feeling dizzy, nauseous, weak, and like my head is going to explode.  I panic when I get into a hot car until the air conditioner is running at full blast, I will go out of my way to walk in a shaded area versus a sunny one, and I stay indoors whenever possible.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Awareness Bundle Giveaway!

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  

If you have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, you know how important it is to raise awareness for the disorder. Most people you encounter have never even heard of it and many doctors don't know much about EDS or have incorrect information on it.

If you're looking for ways to help raise awareness, I have an entire post devoted to that here.

You want to hear something really awesome though?

I'm co-hosting a giveaway for an Ehlers Danlos Syndrome awareness bundle with five other awesome bloggers!!  My co-hosts are Sarah from My Stripy Life, Brittany from A Southern Celiac, Sara from A Zebra Writes, Jenni from 1visibl3Girl, and Mary from The Headache Heroine.


Enter to win an EDS awareness bundle giveaway worth over $75!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Raising Awareness for Celiac Disease with A Southern Celiac!


This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  

In addition to being Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Awareness month, May is also Celiac Disease Awareness month! I invited Brittany from A Southern Celiac to tell us all a little more about it and help dispel some of the myths about Celiac's. Brittany also has Ehlers Danlos so we thought the partnership was perfect for us both. Please welcome her to Sunshine and Spoons!

May is Celiac Awareness Month, so Hannah has kindly allowed me to guest post on her blog! I'm Brittany, the Celiac behind A Southern Celiac. I was first diagnosed with celiac disease in 2012 at the age of 19 after having stomach issues since I was 18 months old! Stories like mine aren't uncommon, which is why I'm so passionate about spreading awareness for Celiac Disease.


Brittany2.jpg

Don't worry though, I'm not here to bore you with my diagnosis story. I've written that out before, and honestly, it was even tedious for me to re-read! Nope, today I'm here to share some surprising facts about Celiac Disease.  I'm assuming you know the basics. Celiac is an autoimmune disorder affecting the small intestine. When a celiac eats even small amounts of gluten, their body gets confused and attacks the small intestine. The only treatment is a strict gluten free diet. That seems pretty straightforward– but there's more to Celiac than it seems.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

What It's Like To Be a Kid With Ehlers Danlos Syndrome

This post may be a little hard for you to read. I know I had tears in my eyes more than once while typing this up.

If you've been hanging around Sunshine and Spoons for very long, you know that at least 3 of my 4 kids have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which they inherited from me. Davy (3) and Nano (7) don't really understand it yet, but Katie (9) does. She goes back and forth between being proud of being a zebra to asking why God would make her have EDS and all of the pain that goes along with it.


Kids are supposed to be able to run and play. They shouldn't have to deal with chronic pain and fatigue. They shouldn't have to spend their childhoods at doctors' offices, wearing braces and explaining random bruises.

But, that's not how things always work. I interviewed 25 kids who have EDS to see what it's really like to be a child or young person with the disorder. 



What it's like to be a kids with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome

Averie, 10 years old (hEDS) - "The hardest part is telling other kids that I can't do certain things, like play on the monkey bars, or do everything that my classmates are doing in gym class. EDS hurts a lot.  It's frustrating that you can't do as much as your friends, and POTS is really frustrating because I just have to explain myself more when I'm getting up more slowly than others, and have to draw attention to myself."

Friday, May 5, 2017

How YOU Can Raise Awareness for Ehlers Danlos

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  

May is Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Awareness month!  As three of my kiddos and I all have EDS, this month is pretty special to my family.

To help raise awareness for EDS, I put together a list of resources and tips that can help you share the word and teach others about EDS.

How YOU Can Raise Awareness for Ehlers Danlos

Friday, April 14, 2017

Health Storylines App Review

  This is a sponsored post. I have been compensated through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. All opinions remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.
Link to asthma app: http://www.allergyasthmanetwork.org/asthma-storylines-self-care-tool-for-managing-asthma/

Maybe it's just me, but I tend to forget things easily.  So when I tell my doctor that something has been bothering me and she asks me for details, I stammer for a few minutes as I try to remember when, where, why, etc.

And then there are my meds.  I found out the hard way that forgetting one of my medications for even a day has really bad side effects for me so remembering to take them every. single. day at around the same time is super important.

I've been looking for an app for my phone for a while now that would allow me to track and remember my daily medical info so I was happy to try out Health Storylines.  The company has a long list of apps for different health conditions, such as sarcoma, epilepsy, heart problems, IBD, and MUCH more.  Since I have asthma, I installed that one. You can learn more about it here.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

How the Last Year has Changed My Life

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  

I did it!

I survived a year of blogging at Sunshine and Spoons and have loved every minute of it!  It's been more amazing and successful than I ever imagined it would be.  The highlight of the last year of blogging has definitely been the emails I've received, telling me how a post I wrote helped someone.

To celebrate my first year of blogging at Sunshine and Spoons, I'm taking a cue from Mama @ Heart who also recently celebrated her first blogiversary.


How It All Got Started
I'd been blogging at Supermommy!...Or Not for about seven years.  It started as an online scrapbook of my family and it was fun to have an outlet for writing.  But in 2015, I started rethinking it.  I wanted to blog professionally, and I wanted to help people who were going through some of the same things I was.  I had gotten to the point that if something was taking a lot of my time, but wasn't necessarily benefitting my family, it was time to cut it out.  Rather than convert Supermommy!...Or Not, I decided to start fresh.  You can read about how I chose the name "Sunshine and Spoons" here.

A Look Back at Some of My Favorite Blog Posts
This is my 102nd post.  Yes, I know...I've been busy :)  I've written about everything from chronic illness to parenting hacks to gift guides.  In one year, my blog has been viewed over 270,000 times which is more pageviews than my first blog received in 7 years of blogging.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

5 Things I Need From You as Someone With a Chronic Illness


Having a chronic illness is hard on so many levels, but having a good support system can make the difference between being able to handle the spoonie life or having it take you down.

If you know someone with a chronic illness, then you know that sometimes it can be hard to know how to be supportive, especially if your loved one has recently received a diagnosis.

On the flip side, it can also be hard to tell your friends and family what you need from them as a spoonie.  It's difficult to admit that something is wrong.

5 Things I Need From You as Someone With a Chronic Illness

Here are five things I need from you as someone who has a chronic illness:

Monday, March 27, 2017

15 Coordinating Easter Outfits for Siblings


This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  

When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up and have, like, eight sets of twins.  I mean, look at how much fun it would be to dress them alike or in coordinating outfits especially for holidays like Easter or Christmas!!

Katie and Nano, 2010

And then I grew up and starting having babies and realized just how much work they are, even when they come just one at a time.

Nano, Anna, and Katie-Easter 2013

So, I settled on dressing up my four singletons instead.

My favorite way to do that is with handmade outfits.  I've always made them myself because I enjoy sewing and it can be next to impossible to find coordinating outfits for kids ranging in sizes from 8 to 2T in a store.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A Better Way to Track and Organize Your Meds

  This is a sponsored post. I have been compensated through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. All opinions remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.

Shaking and dizzy, I crawled into my bed and laid down.  The room spun around me.  I had just returned from a trip to the pharmacy to which my dad had to drive me because I knew it wasn't safe for me to drive.

All I could do was lay there in bed.  I couldn't even sit up or the intense dizziness hit me again.  Shaking, I unscrewed the childproof cap off the bottle of pills I'd returned from the pharmacy with and then managed to prop myself up on my elbow just far enough to swallow one of the pills with a gulp of Gatorade.

I wasn't sick.  I had forgotten to refill an important prescription and which lead to me forgetting to take it for several days, and the side effects of stopping the medication cold turkey were brutal.

"Never again," I promised myself.

Fast forward a few months, and I've forgotten to take my meds at least several times since then, thankfully for no more than a day at a time.

I'll be honest, I'm busy and forgetful.  Trying to stay on top of meds for myself plus 3 kids is tough.  Like so many with chronic illnesses, I frequently struggle with brain fog and remembering important things.  I know I'm not the only one who has these kinds of problems, so when I was introduced to PillDrill, I knew I had to share it with you.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Day in the Life of a Spoonie Momma

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  

As a special needs mom with special needs of my own, I'm often asked what my days look like.  So, last Friday, I journaled my whole day to give you a glimpse into my world.

A Day in the Life of a Spoonie Momma

Friday, March 10th.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

How to Inspire Your Kids to Love Reading

How to Inspire Your Kids to Love Reading with Reading Parties!
This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  

I have an addiction, and I'm not planning to quit it.

However, having kids has cut down on the amount of time I have for my addiction.  Chances are, you have the same problem.

I am unashamedly addicted to reading.  I'd love to read all day if I could.

But...I have four kids and an insanely busy schedule so unless you count reading notes sent home from school and recipes off the back of a pasta box, reading is not something I get to do much anymore.

Even though I don't have much time for reading myself right now, I still want to instill a love of reading in my kids.

My mom taught my siblings and me to love reading and one of the ways she did that was with family reading parties.

You read that right.  Reading parties.