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.

I had some problems with the app working right on my phone, which is an LG Treasure.  It kept shutting down, so I tried it on a Samsung Galaxy and it worked great.  I don't know if it was just my phone or what, but I was happy that it I didn't have any other problems after I switched devices.

The app prompted me to fill out a daily questionnaire to track my asthma symptoms which is something that my doctor is always trying to get me to do anyways, sooooo, that was a good thing.  There was also a way to track my daily moods.  That can be helpful for determining if your moods and hormones are increasing symptoms.


I was also able to add reminders for my medications in the app, which could even be customized with a time that the reminder will pop up on your phone.  Super handy when you have a medicine that needs to be taken at the same time each day!


Health Storylines has a place to take notes of questions you have for your doctor.  I think of questions between appointments, walk into the doctor's office, and promptly forget every single one.  I've tried writing them down on paper, but I inevitably either lose the paper or forget it at home.  I've always got my phone with me though so it's the perfect place to keep those questions.


You can also store your upcoming appointments in the app which will remind you when they're coming up.  I usually have 1-4 doctors' appointments each month and it can be hard to remember them so having an app remind me is very helpful.

The app is customizable to your individual needs, something I appreciated as medical needs affect each person differently.


The best part of this app though is that it's free for all android and ios users.  Which means that if for some reason it doesn't work out for you, you're not out anything.

What are you waiting for?  Head over to Health Storylines for a better way to handle your medical needs!






Thursday, April 13, 2017

How the Last Year has Changed My Life

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my linksThank you for helping me keep this blog going!

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:

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Join the Givewaway Hop from The Hopping Bloggers!

If you're a blogger, you're not going to want to miss this opportunity from The Hopping Bloggers!  I'm super excited to be co-hosting this event and will be giving away a free shirt from the Sunshine and Spoons Shop.  Check back on April 25th for this awesome giveaway!

If you're interested in joining the giveaway, see below for more details!

Swinging into Spring Giveaway Hop Blogger Opp.jpg

Thank you for your interest in the "Swinging Into Spring" Giveaway Hop.
This hop is hosted by The Hopping Bloggers founders: Women and Their Pretties & Mama Smith's.
Please read thoroughly and sign up using the linky below.
Sign Ups End: April 20, 2017 (4/20/17)
Giveaway Hop Dates: April 25 - May 9, 2017 Start Time: 4/25/17 – 12:00 am EST • 4/24 9:00 pm PST End Time: 5/9/17– 11:59 pm EST • 8:59 pm PST
Prize Details: $15 minimum value | Open Theme | Family Friendly Hashtag: #sWINgingIntoSpring| #TheHoppingBloggers

Giveaway Hop Details

  • Each blog in this hop will have at least 1 prize per winner. You may have more than 1 prize but you may have only 1 spot on the linky per blog.
  • Each blogger is responsible for obtaining his/her own prize. Prizes can be brand-sponsored or self-sponsored.
  • This is an OPEN themed hop – but your prize should be family friendly!
  • To sign up for this FREE Event, add your blog name and e-mail address to the linky below.
  • Please let us know in a timely manner if you are unable to participate in the hop.
  • Your giveaway must include proper disclosure and be FTC compliant.
  • Please follow the TOS of a particular social media when adding your entries. If you are unsure whether or not an entry follows the TOS of a specific network then please see below:
  1. Google+ Contests and Promotions Policy
  2. Facebook Promotions Guidelines
  3. YouTube’s contest policies and guidelines

Want to be a co-host for this hop?

PAID OPTION: For a $10 non-refundable fee you can co-host this hop. You will receive:
  • A top listing as a "co-host" for this hop and be in the first 10 listed on the giveaway linkup.
  • A link to your blog will be included in the opening paragraph listed on everyone's giveaway.
  • If a company chooses to sponsor a Grand Prize in this giveaway hop, co-hosts ONLY will get one entry in the giveaway tool. This can be a blog visit or social media follow.
  • Limited spots available! There are only 8 spots - first come, first served. Once these are full, the Google Form will stop accepting submissions.
  • You will need to be sure to report your link on or before April 23rd at 11:59 am EST to ensure your spot on the linkup. Any late links and links with issues will be moved to the bottom of the linky when we go live, and then removed after 24 hours if not fixed.
  • Sign up here to be a co-host: http://thehoppingbloggers.com/co-host-hopping-bloggers-giveaway-hop/
  • Co-hosts must post the giveaway hop signup announcement on their blog. Grab the Announcement HTML for your blog HERE

Blogger Requirements

  • Please join our Facebook Group "The Hopping Bloggers" which is dedicated to this Event and all upcoming Events. A lot of information and reminders will be shared there. You can also opt to sign up for our newsletter HERE so you do not miss an event.
  • After sign ups end, an email with HTML code will be sent to each blogger. This HTML must be posted in your Giveaway Post.
  • Your giveaway post must be live by 12:01 am EST on April 25, 2017 or you risk removal from the hop linkup.
  • In that email there will also be a Google Form where you will need to submit your scheduled post's URL - First Come, First Serve style - meaning the sooner you submit your link, the higher up you are on the Giveaway Hop Linkup (unless you are a paid co-host).
  • Please keep your giveaway at 1 or 2 easy mandatory entries. There is no limit on extra entries.
  • While promoting use the hop hashtag as well as #TheHoppingBloggers.
https://twitter.com/HoppingBloggers/status/841362949205872641

To sign up for this hop, add your information in the Linky Below!

Please include your Blog Name as the "Name" along with the link to your blog homepage. This is just the sign up. You do not need to know the giveaway you will feature yet, but start thinking about it. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at Bloggers@TheHoppingBloggers.com.


Monday, March 27, 2017

15 Coordinating Easter Outfits for Siblings


This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my linksThank you for helping me keep this blog going!

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 affiliate links. Purchasing something through one of those links does not cost you anything extra, but it does help keep this blog going!  

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 affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my linksThank you for helping me keep this blog going!

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.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Giving Back with Davy's Birthday Blessings

Davy is turning 3 in less than a week.  THREE YEARS OLD.  I'm not sure how that happened, and I may be in denial that my baby is turning THREE.  I should probably start thinking about his birthday party...

Giving Back with Davy's Birthday Blessings

Davy's first year was intense and filled with hospitalizations, doctors' appointments, infections, etc.  During that time and in the years since, our family was blessed in so many ways by family, friends, and complete strangers.  We've received meals during and after Davy's hospitalizations, money to help cover gas and other expenses from his many doctor appointments, visits, phone calls, messages of encouragement, help with household chores, etc.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Cherishing the Firsts AND Lasts of Childhood

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my linksThank you for helping me keep this blog going!

As parents, we mark down and celebrate our kids' firsts.  Their first smile, first word, first step, etc.  Some people keep detailed memory books or calendars, others post the latest milestone on Facebook.

But have you ever stopped and thought about your child's lasts?  They usually slip by unnoticed until all of a sudden, you realize that things have changed.


Here are some of my kids' lasts that I wish I known about. Some were welcomed, some were sad:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Few of My Favorite (Tubie) Things! + a Giveaway

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my linksThank you for helping me keep this blog going!

For 16 months of his life, my son Davy had a hole in his tummy.

He got it when he was two months old and was unable to eat enough to grow.  His G Tube was a little button that was inserted into the surgically placed hole or stoma in his precious little tummy.  Eventually, he learned how to eat and when he was 18 months old, we were able to remove his G Tube, leaving a little pucker on his stomach that resembles a second bellybutton.

A few of my favorite tubie things + a giveaway!

During Davy's time as a "tubie," I compiled a list of things that I found especially useful or just really cool and am excited to share them with you.  Please keep in mind that everyone is different and what works for one person, may not work for the next.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Davy's Tube Feeding Story

I used to think that only kids who were terminally ill, disabled, or premature had to have feeding tubes.  I never in a million years thought I would have a child who would need a to be tube fed.

I was so wrong.

Davy's Tube Feeding Story

Friday, January 27, 2017

What It's Like to be a Special Needs Mom With Special Needs


This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my linksThank you for helping me keep this blog going!

I have 4 kids. Katie (8 years old) has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, asthma, and a visual tracking disorder.  Nano (6 years old) has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, asthma, and eczema.  Anna (4 years old) has Amblyopia, and Davy (2 years old) has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, asthma, GERD, severe eczema, hypotonia, mild developmental delays, and is a tubie graduate


And then there's me, the source of my kids' bad genes.  I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, GERD, asthma, eczema, Eosinophilic Esophagitis, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome or POTS, unexplained sudden anaphylaxis episodes, and PTSD.  I'm what is referred to as a spoonie.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Join the Free Birds Coffee Club!


My baby sister had a baby last year.  I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around that.  Wasn't  it just yesterday that she was a little 4 year old with a head full of Shirley Temple curls following me around like a cute, but annoying little puppy?

But I digress.

She entered into motherhood with a lot of experience and knowledge under her belt, thanks to watching both me and our older sister have four babies apiece and being the cool babysitting aunt.

Join the Free Birds Coffee Club!

Basically, she's rocking the mommy thing, and I'm kind of amazed at how awesome she is at it.

One of the things she's learned about being a mom is that you will go crazy if you don't take some time to recharge every now and then.  So she decided that once a month, the three of us sisters and our mom will visit a coffee shop together while one of our husbands watches the kids.  Not only is she making sure that she stays sane as a mom, but she's making sure we do too.

Have I mentioned how amazing she is?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

How to Share Your Affiliate Links


This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. Thank you for helping me keep this blog going!

So you signed up to be an affiliate (hopefully with the Sunshine and Spoons affiliate program!)...now what do you do with that referral link?

Obviously the goal is to share it with people so they'll make purchases and earn a commission for you.  To make that a little bit easier, here are 6 ways for you to share your affiliate link along with 5 affiliate companies I recommend joining.

How to Share Your Affiliate Links

First, the most important thing you need to know about being an affiliate is that you must always disclose in a clear and conspicuous manner that the link you're sharing is an affiliate one.  This post from Tricia Meyer gives an easy-to-understand overview of the FTC's disclosure guidelines.

Basically, if you include affiliate links in a blog post, you have to include a disclosure at the beginning of your post.  See the top of this post for an example of how I disclose.

Join the Sunshine and Spoons Shop Affiliate Program


So guess what?!?

You can now earn money by referring your friends to my shop.

Join the Sunshine and Spoons Shop affiliate program!

That's right.  You can earn money in your Paypal account or gift cards to my shop just by showing your friends (and enemies too, because why not?) the awesome shirts in my shop so they can buy one for themselves.

All you have to do is click here and register to be an affiliate.  It's easy and free, and you'll be sent your own personal referral link to share with others.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Join the Sunshine & Spoons Shop Affiliate Program & earn money/gift cards! http://bit.ly/2ixNdah
http://ctt.ec/4aHGl
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As an affiliate for Sunshine and Spoons Shop, you'll earn a 4% commission on all orders placed using your referral link with a 7 day cookie.  There's no limit to how much you can earn!


Want to know more about sharing your affiliate links?  You can about it here!

What are you waiting for?  Join the Sunshine and Spoons Shop affiliate program!




 



Thursday, January 12, 2017

Special Needs and Chronic Illness Medical Binder Printable


When Davy was in the thick of his medical complexities, I put together a binder full of information and notes that I took with me to every appointment.  I used the binder to track Davy's symptoms, log his meds and hospitalizations, record questions for upcoming appointments, and more.  It was pretty basic...loose notebook paper shoved in plastic sheet protectors and held together in a 3 ring binder.  Nothing fancy, but it helped me stay organized and on top of Davy's care needs, especially when we switched health care providers.

Special Needs and Chronic Illness Medical Binder Printable

Then, last year, Davy along with two of his siblings and I, were all diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

How To Save Money With the $5 Method


If you've been on Facebook or Pinterest lately, you may have seen the 52 week saving challenge.

I tried it once.

I got to day 11 and realized that it wasn't working for me.  I usually didn't have the right amount of cash on me so short of writing myself a check each week, it just wasn't practical.

How To Save Money With the $5 Method

But, I still wanted to save money so I wracked my brain and came up with a different way to do it.

Monday, January 2, 2017

My Kids' 2017 New Year's Resolutions

I asked my kids what their New Year's Resolutions were.

They looked at me with blank expressions and turned back to playing with their new toys.

Soooo, being the awesome mom I am, I helped them out a little.