Thursday, December 29, 2016

Setting Goals for 2017

Let's talk New Year's Resolutions and how easy it is to keep them all year long.


Scratch that.  I'm not doing New Year's Resolutions anymore.  Instead, I'm going in a slightly different direction.

Setting Goals for 2017 plus a free printable to track your own goals!

I'm setting goals for 2017.  I'm not sure why, but a goal seems more achievable than a resolution.

So here goes...

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Easy No-Bake Sin Bars Recipe

These easy no-bake sin bars are Hubby's favorite dessert, and they're so easy to make even though they have three layers.  The only problem I have with making them is that I really like them too and low-calorie they are not!

Easy No-Bake Sin Bars Recipe

Monday, December 12, 2016

What Is a Spoonie?

You may be wondering why I named my blog Sunshine and Spoons.  I gave a brief explanation here, but decided it was time to go into a little more detail on the "spoons" part of it.

You see, I am a spoonie.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Unboxing My ChronicAlly Box

I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company. 

Unboxing My ChronicAlly Box

I've been hearing a lot about subscription boxes with various themes; crafts, Christian living, pets, clothes, etc.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Dress for Christmas With Gymboree

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.  

They may hate me for it when they get older, but I love dressing my kids in matching or coordinating outfits.  And seriously, Christmas is the BEST time to do that.

Which is why I love the fact that Gymboree makes it easy to shop for coordinating outfits for siblings so easy and fun. 

To inspire you, I put together complete outfits for each of my kids.  Since I have four of them to dress, you'll probably see most of the Gymboree Christmas pieces here...

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Meet MaKenzie - Chrohn's Disease Awareness

November is almost over, but I made it in under the wire!  In honor of November being Chrohn's Disease Awareness month, I interviewed MaKenzie who was diagnosed with Chrohn's when she was just nine years old.  

Meet MaKenzie - Chrohn's Disease Awareness

Monday, November 28, 2016

Gift Guide - For the Spoonie

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 know what a spoonie is, then there's a good chance that you either are one or you know one.  To celebrate how strong spoonies are, here's a gift guide with something for everyone! 

Gift Guide - For the Spoonie

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Dear New Tubie 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.  

To the mom whose child just got a feeding tube,

Right now, you're probably pretty overwhelmed.  You've just been thrown into a world you never expected to be a part of, and it's scary.  There are tubes and syringes, feeding schedules and pumps, and possibly a stoma if a G, GJ, or J tube is involved. 

Dear New Tubie Momma

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Meet Elizabeth - GERD Awareness

November is GERD Awareness month!  GERD stands for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease and affects approximately 20% of the US population. It's also referred to as acid reflux, heartburn, and acid indigestion by doctors.

Davy and I both have GERD and it definitely affected Davy as an infant.  He vomited a lot and battled constant GI issues because of it.

Holly's 22 month old daughter, Elizabeth has GERD.  She graciously let me interview her to learn her story and raise awareness for the disease.

Meet Elizabeth - GERD Awareness

Monday, November 21, 2016

Gift Guide - Baby's First Christmas

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.  

Four kids later, and the first Christmas was just as special for my fourth baby as it was for the first.  There's just something magical about that first Christmas.

To celebrate your little one's first Christmas (or Hanukkah!), I put together a gift guide with a collection of unique keepsakes.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

You Can Help Make Sunshine and Spoons Better

Hey guys!

I'm working hard to make Sunshine and Spoons even better for you, and I'd love your help!

If you have a few minutes, would you please take the short survey below?  At the end, you'll be given a $5 off coupon for my shop,

I really appreciate it!  Thanks so much!

Giveaway Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway for the two welcome home kits and the tubie shirt and congratulations to the three winners!  Without further ado, here they are!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Gift Guide - Unique Toys Under $20

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.  

My kids are watching the mail like hawks right now.  Why?  Because they know that Mommy does most of her shopping online, including the Christmas shopping.

Which is also why I'm glad that the mail usually comes while the older kids are in school.

Anyways...if you're like me, you can sometimes have a hard time figuring out what to get your kids for Christmas.  I don't like to spend a lot of money on their gifts since they also get a lot from relatives.  Bigger ticket items are usually reserved for birthdays.

With that in mind, I put together a gift guide of toys under $20 each for kids of all ages.  I hope you find some good ideas for your Christmas list!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

30 Random Acts of Kindness to Do With Your 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.  

Update 12/7/2020: I've received a lot of comments and feedback on this post and I wanted to address some of them. First of all, I live in a small rural town where homemade treats are the norm, but I understand that that's not the case for everyone. That's okay! Just substitute store bought treats and you're good to go. This list is meant to give you some ideas of various things you can do with your kids. Adapt it as needed to make it work for you, your kids, and your community. Not everything needs to include spending money or giving it away. One of the best random acts of kindness your kids can do is to be kind to others. Also, for those worried that people might think finding things in public places is "creepy" or accidental, make sure you're including a "random acts of kindness" card with them so the meaning is understood.

I want to do something with the kids this Christmas that encourages them to put others first and focus on the real reason of Christmas.  After being inspired by this book, I put together a list of 30 random acts of kindness that I can do with them at Christmas and all year round!

30 Random Acts of Kindness to Do With Your Kids

I thought it would be a good idea to leave a little note with each random act of kindness so I created this printable sheet of cards to cut up.  I plan to print mine on card stock to make them a little more heavy duty.  I'm also going to print extras to keep in my wallet for those times when I come across an opportunity to do a random act of kindness unexpectedly :)  If you don't feel like making your own, you can buy some really cute ones here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Welcoming My Tube Feeding Kid Home with Nestle Health

This is a sponsored post and I received product to write my review. However all opinions expressed here are my own.  This post also contains affiliate links.

Davy had just been discharged from his nine day hospital stay.  Just the day before, he'd had surgery for a G Tube placement, and I was terrified of that little button in his tummy.

Welcoming My Tube Feeding Kid Home with Nestle Health

It took me several nervous breakdowns and four training sessions with a G Tube nurse in the hospital before I was even able to hook up the extension tube to Davy's Mini One Button.  Thankfully, the nurse provided me with a dvd that she had made for her patients that gave details on what to expect when your child gets a G Tube.  She also brought me a stuffed bunny? kangaroo? (we're still not sure what it is...) that had a G Tube that I could practice on without the stress of having to hook up an extension tube to a screaming, flailing two month old baby.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Sunshine and Spoons Is Growing!

Sunshine and Spoons is growing again!!  No, I'm not pregnant...that ship has left the harbor with a one way ticket.

Introducing the Sunshine and Spoons group on Facebook!  It's a place where we can get to know and support each other through this crazy thing called life.

We'll share tips, advice, encouragement, and more, plus members of the group will get sneak peeks at new products coming to Sunshine and Spoons Shop along with special deals.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Christmas Shopping with Groupon Goods

This is a sponsored post, but all opinions stated below are mine.

Um,'s November.  As in, next month is Christmas. *gulp*

Usually I have most of my Christmas shopping done by now, but this year, I've been slacking off.

I have lists written down of ideas for what to get everyone, and I already have the kids' Christmas gift ideas finalized, but that's as far as I've gotten.

Time to hit up Groupon Goods!

Friday, October 28, 2016

You Know You Have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome When...

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.  

You know you have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome when...

You Know You Have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome When...

---your joints go out more than you do.

---you snap, crackle, and pop just like your favorite breakfast cereal.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Meet Simeon - Spina Bifida Awareness

In honor of October being Spina Bifida Awareness month, I interviewed Mary Evelyn from What Do You Do, Dear? about her son, Simeon who was born with Spina Bifida.

I've followed Mary Evelyn's blog for several years now and love her honest, humorous style of writing.  She doesn't candy coat what it's like to have a child with special needs but somehow manages to bring out the beauty of it as well. 

In addition to raising her two awesome and completely adorable kids, Simeon and Franny, Mary Evelyn is a school librarian which sealed the deal as far as me being a devoted follower of her blog.  Librarians unite!  Sorry, I'm just keeping it non-fiction over here.

Without further ado (and my sincere apologies for rambling), here's Mary Evelyn!   

What condition does your child have?
  • Myelomeningocele, commonly known as Spina Bifida.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Versatility of Cereal Just Got Better

I'm a serial killer.

Wait a minute...spell-check, please!

I'm a cereal killer!

Yup, I LOVE cereal.  I could eat it for breakfast, lunch, supper, and snacks.  Actually, sometimes I do.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Meet AJ - Epidermolysis Bullosa

October is Epidermolysis Bullosa Awareness month!  In honor of that, I interviewed Barb, whose 8 year old son, AJ, was born with the disease.

What condition does your child have?
Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa

What is Epidermolysis Bullosa?

How does it affect your child? How does it affect daily life?
It's a genetic condition that impacts the production of collagen. It causes his skin and internal membranes to be very fragile. He develops blisters and wounds very easily. Each day he soaks in a tub, and his bandages are removed. We lance the blisters, treat the open wounds and wrap with specialty bandages. A lot of time is spent treating his wounds. He is unable to eat much due to GI issues related to EB and is fed through a GJ tube. He vomits multiple times a day and this past year has been very hard on his eyes as well. He often has blisters in them. He is in a lot of pain and uses a power wheelchair to reduce damage to his body.

Monday, October 17, 2016


If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you may have seen my big announcement about my new shop.

And if I sounded very calm and nonchalant in that last sentence, I'm not.

Friday, October 7, 2016

10 Benefits of Having Ehlers Danlos Syndrome

10 Benefits of Having Ehlers Danlos Syndrome

I'm going to be honest.  Having Ehlers Danlos Syndrome stinks.  It's painful, it makes you sick, and it's just not fun.  But there are a few benefits to it if you look hard enough...

You just have to look really hard.  Really, really hard.

Disclaimer: Just because we can do the "party tricks" shown in the pictures does not mean that we should.  Katie and I only did them for a few seconds for the pictures.  If you have EDS, please don't try any of the following! 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

What It's Like To Be In a Coma

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.  

The last thing I remember is going to bed that night.

I was six years old and had been having an asthma flareup for the last week or so.  But what happened after I went to sleep was completely unexpected.

What It's Like To Be In a Coma

This next part is what I've been told.  I don't remember it at all even though I was conscious for part of it.  I found out later that young children sometimes block traumatic memories out which is what happened to me.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Must Read Blog Roundup #2

Not only do I write a blog, but I love reading other blogs.  Sometimes I come across something that I really want to share with you guys so I decided to put together a round up of posts that I think you'll love too.  Enjoy! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Why Self-Care is So Important for Moms

This is a sponsored post for Self Care Catalysts. 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.

Why Self-Care is So Important for MomsAs moms, we have a tendency to take care of everyone else first and put ourselves last.  For a lot of people, mom=martyr. 

I'm just going to come right out and say this...

That's stupid.  The often-used example of the flight attendant telling you to put your own mask on first before helping anyone else with theirs...completely true.  You're not much good to your kids if you're dying.  You can't pour water into someone else's glass unless yours is full.

I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.  Because of it, I have physical limitations and often need to stop what I'm doing to rest because of the severe fatigue and/or intense pain.  I explain to my kids that Mommy has owies and doesn't feel good, and that I need to sit down.  They are accepting of that, and the older kids make it a point to help out with the younger ones when I'm not feeling well.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Saving money with Groupon coupons

This is a sponsored post, but all opinions expressed are mine. 

When my oldest child, Katie, was two, she was diagnosed with wheat, dairy, peanut, and egg allergies.  Thanks to allergy drops, she now can eat all of those things again, but the three years that she couldn't were hard on our checkbook.  Her groceries cost as much as the groceries for the rest of the family.

Saving money with Groupon coupons
3 year old Katie eating a Sunbutter sandwich made with rice bread.

At the time, I'd heard of Groupon, but didn't know what it was.  One day, a Facebook friend shared a groupon coupon for an online gluten free shop.  I don't remember the exact deal, but I do know that I ended up getting 50% off my total cart which saved me a ton of money on Katie's special allergy food. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Must Read Blog Roundup #1

Not only do I write a blog, but I love reading other blogs.  Sometimes I come across something that I really want to share with you guys so I decided to put together a round up of posts that I think you'll love too.  Enjoy! 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Cheap and Easy DIY Picture Wall

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, my favorite thing at my great grandma's house was her wall of pictures.  The pictures were of relatives, mostly from her generation and earlier.  I fell in love with her "picture wall" and decided that when I grew up and had my own house, I was going to have one too.

We've had our own house for a little over two years now.  It was time to put up my picture wall.

I was a little daunted at the thought of buying a ton of frames and then having to hang them so I started researching other options.

I decided to opt out of framing my pictures and go for a simpler look, using Scotch Clear Mounting Squares.  The squares are removable which appealed to me since I didn't want to end up with marks on the wall.  

Thursday, September 1, 2016

21 Mouth Watering Apple Treats to Buy This Fall

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.  

21 mouth watering apple treats to try this fall

It's the last day of August and fall is right around the corner! I'm looking forward to the cooler weather (yes, it gets hot in Minnesota!), wearing sweaters, and traditional autumn food like apples and pumpkins.     

To kick off this autumn, I put together a collection of apple themed treats to share with you.   (Caramel apple...*drool*)
Look for my pumpkin spice treasury coming soon!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Victory Junction: Where Kids with Medical Needs Can Be Kids

I was compensated for this post.  All opinions formed are mine. I don't recommend products, companies, etc to my readers unless it's something I truly believe in.

I think we can all agree that every child deserves the chance to be a kid and enjoy life.  That's why we have child labor laws, why toy companies flourish, and why so many parenting books have sections or chapters on letting kids play.

But for kids with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses who spend much of their time at doctors' offices, therapies, and in the hospital, they don't get many opportunities to be a regular kid. They often feel isolated from their peers and lonely. 

That's where Victory Junction comes in.

Victory Junction is a camp located in Randleman, North Carolina and is open to kids between the ages of six and 16 at no cost to the campers or their families.  It provides the chance for chronically or seriously ill children to take a break and just be a kid while in a safe and medically-sound environment.  Their belief statement says it all:

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

10 Rookie Parenting Mistakes I Still Make

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've been a mom for over 8 years now.  During that time, I've made a lot of mistakes.  One would think that 8 years and 4 kids later, I would have learned from my mistakes and would be a little smarter, but...

I have two words for you...Mom Brain. *insert spooky background noise here*

Here are 10 rookie parenting mistakes that I still make.  Repeatedly.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Could You Have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome?

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.  

With Ehlers Danlos Syndrome frequently undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, it's important that people know the signs of the genetic syndrome.  It's estimated that 1 in 2500 to 5000 have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome or EDS, but so many people, including doctors just don't know what it is.  It's also estimated that 50% of people who are diagnosed with fibromyalgia actually have EDS.

Could you have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome?

Monday, August 8, 2016

What Is Ehlers Danlos Syndrome?

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.  

You may also like Could I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome?

Unless you've been diagnosed with it or know someone who has, you probably haven't heard of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.  Among those who have heard of it, many don't actually know what it is.

What is Ehlers Danlos Syndrome?

Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (pronounced ay-lers dan-lohse) is a collection of genetic connective tissue disorders.  It affects the body's collagen which can lead to symptoms in every part of the body.  Collagen is the glue that holds the body together and when it's faulty, the body can literally fall apart.  Collagen can be found in the skin, eyes, muscles, ligaments, blood vessels, organs, gums, etc. which means that all of those systems can have issues due to EDS.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Breast is Best...Until It Isn't

In case you haven't heard, it's World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7), a time to raise awareness and increase education for breastfeeding.

It's a good thing, it really is.  But I've met more than one breastfeeding supporter who took the Breast is Best slogan just a little too far.  Breast is only best if it's working for both mom and baby. 

Let me fill you in on my history with breastfeeding so you'll see what I mean.

I breastfed Katie for a year.  It was an incredibly rough start, and we both cried a lot in the beginning.  I had to supplement with formula because no matter what I did, I just didn't have enough milk for her, but at least we made it to a year.

Monday, July 25, 2016

How I Tripled my Instagram and Twitter Followers

How I Tripled my Instagram and Twitter Followers Are your social media accounts stagnant?  Are you working hard to post regularly without seeing a lot of growth?

I was sitting in that boat with you a few months ago. 

On May 23rd, I had 568 followers on Twitter and 443 on Instagram, numbers that had seen very little growth in the past year.

Fast forward 2 months, and I now have 2268 Twitter followers and 1210 Instagram followers.  In case you don't want to do the math, that means that the number of my Twitter followers basically quadrupled and my Instagram followers tripled.

Winners of the Kemps Coupons!

Thank you to everyone who commented on my post about giving my kids dessert first!  Each person who commented was eligible to win one of five $5 coupon from Kemps Ice Cream.

Monday, July 18, 2016


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.  

#BesidesMyDiagnosis is the brainchild of Vanessa from The Girl with Five Lads.  She created it to help those of us with chronic illnesses remember that there's more to us than our disease.  You can find more info on this project here.  You don't have to have a blog to join in-just tweet about yourself outside of your illness using the hashtag #besidesmydiagnosis.

You can see all of the #besidesmydiagnosis blog posts here and check out the hashtag here on Twitter.

1. #besidesmydiagnosis the three things about my appearance that I love in the mirror?
I love my eyes because they're brown just like my dad's.  I've always been a bit of a Daddy's girl :)  I may hate my thick, frizzy, curly, blonde hair somedays, but overall, I like it.  I also love the fact that I recently lost 30+ pounds of baby weight!  I may not be skinny, but I feel good when I look in the mirror. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

To the Doctor Who Stole My Hope

Dear Well-Meaning Doctor,

You saw me struggling to hold it together in your office that day.  Davy was 6 months old, and his many medical needs were taking their toll on me as I navigated my new life as a medical mama.  He hardly slept, cried almost constantly, turned blue and choked multiple times a day, and had a feeding tube.  I was exhausted, and the mom guilt from not being able to balance his needs with the needs of my other three children was wearing me down.

You saw all that, and you made it a point to look me in the eye and ask me how I was handling everything.  I saw the concern on your face, and I knew you cared.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

What You Didn't See When You Called Me Weak

I heard you when you called me weak and a wimp.  I get it.  If I were in your shoes, I'd probably think I was a wimp too.

But since I'm not in your shoes and you're not in mine, I'm going to make a deal with you.

If you want to call me a wimp, you have my permission to do so, as long as you do a few things for me first.

Monday, July 11, 2016

How to Get Kids to Clean Their Rooms Without Complaining

If you follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, you probably heard about #ourfuncleaningday.  Quite a few people asked for more details on it so here you go!

I came up with the idea on Friday.  The kids' rooms were so messy that they were in danger of being listed as a national disaster, and I was planning to spend all day Saturday making sure they cleaned them.  I was prepared for a day of whining, crying, and procrastinating that would probably end with everyone super grouchy and barely a dent in the mess.

And then it hit me.  The best motivator for kids is to make things fun for them, right?  So why couldn't we make a fun day out of it?

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Life I Never Expected

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've always had a deep respect and interest in special needs parents, but I never thought I would actually be one.  I've followed the stories of children who had to have feeding tubes, but I never thought I would one day be a tubie mama as well.  I've read countless books and blogs about people living with life-altering diseases, but I never thought several of my children and I would be diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a degenerative, incurable genetic disease.

But here I am, living a life I never expected.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

What No One Told Me About Being a Parent

Guys, I'm going to level with you.  This is hard.  I had no idea that being a mom would be this hard.  Being a parent is an exhausting, demanding, often thankless job.

When I got pregnant with Katie, my oldest, I devoured every pregnancy book I could find and pored over stacks of books on parenting.  None of them even remotely prepared me for the reality of being a mom.  Sure, friends and family try to warn you what it's going to be like to have a baby, but until you are there, in the trenches, there's no way you can truly know. 

What No One Told Me About Being a Parent

No one told me just how much poop, vomit, and other body fluids I would deal with as a parent, a lot of it with my bare hands and a few baby wipes.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Pledge of Allegiance Printable

Happy Fourth of July!!  I hope you all are able to spend some time relaxing with your families today.

To celebrate this day, here's a free Pledge of Allegiance printable.  Enjoy!

Pledge of Allegiance printable

Saturday, July 2, 2016

That Time I Let My Kids Have Dessert First - Kemps Ice Cream

  It was getting close to suppertime, and the kids were all starving after a full day of playing outside.  As I headed into the kitchen to start a pot of water for the pasta, I remembered something my mom had told me many times.

"Start with dessert so you don't get too full to have any."

Side note: my mom is the best.

That Time I Let My Kids Have Dessert First

So instead of pulling the family size box of elbow noodles out of the pantry, I reached for the ice cream cones.  I called all four kids into the kitchen and watched their eyes grow huge as I scooped Kemps ice cream into sugar cones and handed them out.  Katie chose Mint Cow Tracks, Nano and Anna went with Caramel Fudge Cow Tracks, and Davy got to try the Caramel Cow Tracks.  

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

To the Public Health Nurse Who Saved My Family

Dear Public Health Nurse,

You saved me.  You probably aren't aware of the impact you have had on my family, but I want to tell you that you saved me.

You first started coming to our house 2 years ago to do weekly weight checks on Davy, who had recently gotten his G Tube

You rejoiced with me over each ounce that Davy gained and mourned with me over each ounce that he lost.  You noticed how Anna was also very tiny for her age and started weighing her too, taking a load off my mind as I could finally see tangible evidence of her slow, but steady growth.

To the Public Health Nurse Who Saved My FamilyBut, you didn't just weigh Davy on your portable scale and then leave each week.  You stayed for a while, and you let me talk.  You showed me how to deal with the stress of being a medical mama.  You let me cry and sometimes, you gave me a hug before you left.  You gave me ways to balance Davy's care with the needs of my 3 older kids.  You helped me figure out how to handle sweet little toddler Anna when she acted out to get attention and made me pull my hair out in frustration.  You researched and printed off articles for whatever parenting issue I was currently dealing with, and you gave me valuable information on feeding a failure to thrive child.  You encouraged me to lean on my friends and my family when I didn't have the courage to ask for help.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

85 Totally Awesome Summer Activities for Kids + a Printable

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 asked the question for the 874th time that day, I blurted out the first thing that came to mind.

"Well, if you're so bored, go clean your room!"

Yeah, that went over well with the child who had posed the question. *insert sarcasm here*

About 1 1/2 days into summer break, I realized that I needed a plan which meant that I needed a list.

85 Totally Awesome Summer Activities for Kids with a Printable

Monday, June 27, 2016

Surviving and Thriving When Things Get Tough

Last week was tough.  It was exhausting, heart-breaking, joyful, and tough.

On Monday, I spent almost 8 hours in the car driving Katie to her very first week of summer camp.  As I dropped her and her luggage off at her cabin, I had to ask her for a hug before I left.  Then she was all, "Love you, Mom. Bye." before she walked into her cabin without a backward glance.  I stood outside for a minute trying to absorb what had just happened.  Did my sweet little 8 year old really leave me for a week that easily?  Where were the tears?  Where were the extra hugs as she tried to keep me there as long as possible.  Was this really it?

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Gutsy Goodness Review and Coupon Code

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 was searching Etsy for products for my Mother's Day Etsy Finds post when this necklace from a shop called Gutsy Goodness caught my eye.
Invisible Illness Awareness Pendant
Having been recently diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which is often referred to as an invisible illness, the necklace struck a chord with me.  Although I have Ehlers Danlos, I still have hope.  Hope in God.  Hope for the future.  Hope that by the time my children are older, the doctors will know more about treating this awful genetic disease.

I ordered the necklace and messaged the owner to let her know how much I liked it.  She responded and over the course of several convos on Etsy, we got to know each other.

Friday, June 17, 2016

How My Son Taught Me a Valuable Parenting Lesson + a Free Printable

A few weeks ago, I was in the kitchen slaving over a gourmet dinner for my family.  And by gourmet, I mean I sprinkled some fancy shredded mozzarella cheese on a Hamburger Helper meal.  The kids were in the living room trying to kill each other playing when I heard this...   

"You be the daddy, I'll be the mommy, and Anna and Davy can be the babies."

What Example Are YOU Setting For Your Kids?Awwww, how cute.  They were playing "house."  I kept one ear and eye on the kids while I stirred the pot of simmering pasta on the stove.

8 year old Katie took her role as mommy very seriously in the game, giving hugs to Anna (3 years old) when she pretended to have an owie and finding a toy for Davy (2 years old) to play with.  6 year old Nano, in his part as the daddy, sat down on the couch with my library book on his lap.

Now I was intrigued.  Kids tend to emulate their parents while playing "house," but Hubby doesn't have time to read books so I wasn't sure what Nano was doing.

Nano sat on the couch flipping through pages in my book for about 10 minutes while Katie stayed busy taking care of her two younger siblings/children and cooking in the kids' play kitchen.  Then he put the book down, put his red baseball cap on, and declared that he was heading to the farm before going into his room to play with his tractors.  I stopped him as he passed by the kitchen.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

My Newsletter and 5 FREE Printables!

Who loves printables? *raises hand*  Who loves getting stuff for free? *raises hand and waves frantically in the air*

Everything I've read about blogging in the last couple of months has emphasized the importance of having an email newsletter so I finally bit the bullet and designed one :)

It will be sent out once a week and include a recap of the last week's blog posts, a personal note from me, occasional freebies and special deals that will only be available to my subscribers, and more!

Everyone who subscribes will receive these 5 free printables in PDF form.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Why I'm Not Ashamed to be on Government Assistance

I'm going to come right out and say it.

My family is on WIC, a government assistance program that stands for Women, Infant, and Children.  We have been on it since Katie was a baby.  It provides milk, infant formula, fruits and veggies, bread, cheese, and more to pregnant and nursing women, and children under the age of 5.

If we needed to be on food stamps or any other welfare program, I would be okay with that too.

Friday, June 10, 2016

15 Ways To Support Parents of Children With Feeding Issues

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.  

It's dinner time and you know it's going to be a battle that will end with your toddler throwing his or her food on the floor or refusing to touch a vegetable because "it's yucky. *insert prolonged whine here*"  

While this is a common problem for many parents, what you may not know is that sometimes it goes beyond picky eating.

My kids are picky eaters and have all, at one time or another, given me countless headaches with their unpredictable and seemingly non-nutritious eating habits.  But when now 2-year-old Davy ended up getting a feeding tube at the age of 2 months, I was thrown into a world I never knew existed.

 15 Ways To Support Parents of Children With Feeding Issues

Sure, I'd heard of teens and adults struggling with eating disorders, but it never occurred to me that babies and children could too.  I soon found out that picky eating and a feeding disorder are two vastly different things.      
It's unknown how many children have pediatric feeding disorders and other feeding issues, but there are more than most people realize.  Just a few of the many reasons for a child's inability to eat are GERD, aspiration, allergies, motility issues, etc.  The list is extensive (you can see a partial list here), and sometimes a cause is never actually found.

Tubie Mama shirt from Sunshine and Spoons
Available in the Sunshine and Spoons Shop

Not all kids with feeding disorders need a feeding tube.  A lot are able to eat food orally, but have sensory issues or need high calorie supplements to avoid losing weight.

Parents of little ones with feeding issues face a lot of challenges and often feel misunderstood and like they don't have support.  Well-meaning friends and relatives can unknowingly make things worse.    

Here are 15 ways you can support a parent of a child with feeding issues.