Monday, August 21, 2017

What You Need to Know About the Truth of PTSD

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 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:

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.

PTSD means always being on edge.  It's wondering when that trigger will find you and send you spiraling into full-blown panic.  It's constantly being aware of your surroundings in an attempt to control your triggers.  It's emotionally and physically exhausting.

PTSD is paralyzing.  When it's triggered, it's like hitting a brick wall.  You feel trapped, stuck, and you can't get out.  You can't breathe, your heart is racing, and in your mind, you're right back in that traumatic event that caused your PTSD to begin with.  It's like being stuck in a nightmare that you can't wake up from.

How to Tell If You Have PTSD:

You can start by taking this online screening from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.  Then print off your results and take them to your doctor.  

Symptoms of PTSD include having flashbacks of the traumatic event, nightmares, feeling disconnected from family and friends, having symptoms longer than three months, avoiding situations that remind you of the event, being easily startled, etc.

My PTSD Story:

I've never been in the military, but I have PTSD.

When I was six years old, I had my first anaphylaxis event.  I was in a medically induced coma for five days so I could recover.  Because I was so young, I blocked it out of my memory, but then when I was 10, I had another attack.  And then another at 13, and another at 15 and so on.  I now average one severe asthma attack/anaphylaxis event that requires an ambulance ride about once a year.  The hardest part is that despite going to many doctors, we've never found a trigger and so there's nothing I can do to avoid going into anaphylaxis.  

It wasn't until after the anaphylaxis attack when I was 10 that I began to experience symptoms of PTSD.  I was walking past the ambulance shed just a few blocks from my house with my siblings when the ambulance peeled out and headed down the street with lights and sirens blaring.  I immediately felt like I was back in the ambulance struggling to get even a single breath.  It was absolutely terrifying, and I couldn't stop hyperventilating or crying.  I somehow managed to get home and cried myself to sleep that night.

Since then I've learned that ambulances, hospital "smells," or even watching someone struggle to breathe on a tv show can send me straight into panic mode.  There's no warning, I go from zero to sixty in a millisecond.
My PTSD story:

Over the years, I've learned different coping techniques to help me deal with my PTSD.  Thanks to implementing them, I don't have as many full-blown panic attacks/flashbacks as I used to.  I hope these tips can help you if you're living with PTSD as well.

Tips for Coping with PTSD:

1. Avoid your triggers as much as possible, while understanding that sometimes that won't be feasible.

2.  Distract or "ground" yourself.  As soon as the panic starts to set in, try to focus on something tangible right in front of you to bring yourself back from re-living the trauma.

Grounding Techniques for Anxiety and PTSD

3. Understand that on days when you're feeling good emotionally, you can probably handle your triggers much better.  On days when you're not doing so well, take extra precautions to avoid them.

4. Join a support group such as one of these.

5. Talk to your doctor about your PTSD.

6. Remember that your traumatic memories cannot be compared to anyone else's, even if they experienced the same event.  Each person is different and will react differently.  This does not make you weak.

7. You can find resources here for helping you cope with and heal from PTSD.  There are also books for helping your loved one with their PTSD.

Tips for coping with PTSD:

8. Share your PTSD story.  The more people that realize that PTSD is not just a veteran related issue, the more understanding they will have for it.

9. Memorize a few of the Psalms and recite them when you feel your PTSD start to flare.  Some good ones are Psalms 31, 40, and 42.  Doing so can help ground you and also comfort you.

Do you or someone you know suffer from PTSD?  I'd love to hear if this post helped you in any ways! Leave a comment or feel free to connect with me in the Sunshine and Spoons Facebook Group.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Etsy Finds: 15+ Educational Toys that Kids Will Love

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!

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 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!

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 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'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 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 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 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!

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, June 9, 2017

Cars 3 is Racing Into Theaters with 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!

One of the most popular Disney movies to date is Cars.  It's one that my kids have watched more times than I can count.  When Davy was in the hospital last week, he watched it three times over a two day period. Thankfully, it is something the whole family can enjoy and I don't mind it.

Well, Cars 3 is finally on it's way to theaters and to help celebrate its release The Hopping Bloggers have put together an awesome prize pack for one lucky reader! This package is worth $150 and includes:
Synopsis Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast racers, the legendary Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) is suddenly pushed out of the sport he loves. To get back in the game, he will need the help of an eager young race technician, Cruz Ramirez (voice of Cristela Alonzo), with her own plan to win, plus inspiration from the late Fabulous Hudson Hornet and a few unexpected turns. Proving that #95 isn’t through yet will test the heart of a champion on Piston Cup Racing’s biggest stage!
CARS 3 races into theaters everywhere on June 16th!

Connect with Cars 3

Enter to win this Cars 3 using the form below. GOOD LUCK!
If you're a blogger looking to connect with brands: Join The Hopping Bloggers database and get started today! If you're a brand looking to work with a network of professional bloggers: Check out the creative campaigns The Hopping Bloggers has to offer!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Raising Awareness for Celiac Disease with A Southern Celiac!

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!

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.


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 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!

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:

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:

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!) 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!

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.