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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Spring Thawww


Are you enjoying a Grand Thaw like we are???
A few weeks ago I was telling Jenna about the expression, "March comes in like a lion & out like a lamb." 

It was early March.  Michigan was still in a deep freeze and toting lots of snow-- I felt kind of ridiculous telling her how nice this month would become and secretly wondered if it truly would.

But- it has!!!  God is always so faithful with the promise and fulfillment of new seasons- Every.  Single.  Time!  Spring always reminds me that even during the harshest of seasons, there is always hope of better days.  
It's nature's way of showing hope revealed.  
So we are enjoying these better days, quite literally!

~Spring~
Enjoying warm(er) weather from our NEW DECK!

Hannah tries on Jenna's Rain boots
They are a little big, but they help her do a mean bear walk!
Tyler and Lauren discover BIKES!!!
I think we will need a few more of these.
Tyler & Tanner in the playhouse
Silly wet girls having a blast standing under the constant drip of water from our gutters.
Tanner playing with toys that were buried under snow.
Jenna just loves getting up in the trees just like Daddy!  



We are SO GLAD the weather is getting warmer--

because being stuck inside really BLOWS :-)



Hope you are enjoying longer days, 
sunshine, green sprigs & promises 
of a new Season!

Hugs!

Becky




Saturday, March 14, 2015

Cindy's Suds!

I LOVE the products from Cindy's Suds!  I have tried almost all of them & could rave about each one.  I've been intending to write a blog about her stuff for a while, and she recently came out with a new item so I knew now was the time.   Like I said, I love all her products but there are two specific favorites that are essential for this dry weather:  Cindy's Suds Healing Salve & Germ Guard.

Before I go on, YES, this is kind-of a product review for some of my favorite Cindy's Suds products.  "But she is your sister- you must be biased"- you might be saying.  True, true-- she IS my sister and I love her dearly.  I suppose I am biased towards her products versus competitors, but then again I see how she hand-makes them in her house.  I also LOVE what Cindy makes, have personally used her products for years, and I have my own blog- so yep, I am doing an unsolicited plug.

And besides, if she made terrible stuff, I would not blog about it ;)

Healing Salve:
This Michigan winter weather is drrrry--- and thanks to the coldest Winter in years, two toddler girls going potty all the time & two more in diapers, I have been washing my hands a lot.
Like, at an OCD level.
That left me with red, chapped, dry dry dry hands.  A few months ago I was rubbing Tyler & Tanner's red, chapped cheeks with her Healing Salve and I decided to rub a gob onto my hands.  My hands were so dry & chapped that even when I put lotion on them they still had this weird skin-burr feel and when I touched things like cotton I got the heeby-jeebies.  I might have sensory issues, but still...

Oh Man, did the salve take that away & it makes my hands feel so very healthy and GLORIOUS!!!  
The Healing Salve looks greasy, but it's not:  the ingredients include (but are not limited to) almond oil, calendula flowers, lavender buds, chamomile, beeswax, Shea Butter, Vitamin E oil & Lavender Essential Oil.  When I first slather it on my hands, they are shiny & slick from all that rich oil- but literally 30 seconds later, my thirsty hands have absorbed it and softness remains.  Whether using Healing Salve on hands, arms, cheeks, cuts, scrapes, have young skin or old, Healing Salve is great for all kinds of skin.

I use it daily on the boys' faces, arms, legs, any rough patches of skin, the girls' hands, and certainly my hands.  This salve is very similar to her Diaper Balm, which I also use.  I have a tin of Salve upstairs and a tin downstairs so I always have some close by.   If you have any kind of skin irritation, I HIGHLY recommend this stuff!  It works for our family, and I have no more heeby-jeeby skin issues!

Germ Guard:
This next product is AWESOME!!!  Cindy just created a new product called Germ Guard.  I actually found out about it when she posted it on her Facebook Page.  I called her and asked what it was all about.  She said it was made with natural ingredients and Essential Oils that are known for their antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties.  Since my house is filled with ludicrous amounts of Hand Sanitizer and Disinfecting Wipes, a little bit of natural sounded excellent to me!
I love this picture because Cindy's Germ Guard stands tall in front of those products- they are still good products to use, but you can use the spray in lieu of them and use it in other applications, too.
OK, so here is why I am in LOVE with the Germ Guard.
First, it is versatile.  I spray it everywhere and all the time.  On the bottle, it says: "Spray throughout home and on commonly touched objects such as door handles, phones, faucets, etc., to guard against bacteria and viruses."

And the ingredients are: "witch hazel, essential oil blend of clove, cinnamon, rosemary, lemon, eucalyptus, & orange".   I asked Cindy if I could spray it on hands, and she said that would be fine.  So I do.  Often.

Which brings me to the second reason I love it: my kids do!  The kids wash their hands often, but sometimes they also use Hand Sanitizer (especially when we are out & about).  Sanitizer obviously works, but being made with alcohol it is harsh on the skin and strong.  I don't like them using it too much if I can help it.  Plus, if they have a cut it stings and when they are given a squirt before they eat, sometimes if they lick their fingers it tastes gross.

Cindy's Germ Guard has a pleasant, clean scent and can be sprayed on hands without it tasting gross.  I know, I tried.  It is also really easy to just quickly spray some eager hands rather than squirting 8 hands with sanitizer and making sure they rub it all in.  PLUS, I can spray handles, knobs, and toys with it and feel like I am helping make things a little less icky while using a natural product instead of chemicals.  I simply love, love, love it!


The third reason I love Germ Guard is because it's made with a healing blend of essential oils.  Skeptic or not, you probably know people who use essential oils and swear by them.  Cindy's Germ Guard spray is made with a blend of essential oils that are similar to "thieves oil"- the blend is known for its antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties.

A quick testimonial: last week my throat got scratchy.  And all 4 kids had runny noses and the boys were acting crazy, which usually means they might be getting sick.  I not only used the Germ Guard in the above-stated ways, but I also started spraying it in the air and breathing it in and misting it in the bedrooms & even spraying myself and the kids with it liberally.
We never got sick.
Moreover, my throat got better the next day.
Coincidence?  Maybe.  But I also think using Germ Guard helps!!!

SPRAY PLEASE!!!!!
Like I said, I could rave about all of Cindy's products.  My house is filled with her soaps, soaks, balms, salves, lotions, and sprays.  Before you ask, YES I buy her products.  Being her sister, she does gives me free samples to test and she also feels it her duty as Aunt Cindy to provide my baby's bums with plenty o' balm.  I am not a salesperson, I won't get any commission from this blog, but I DO believe in her products and love this awesome stuff that Cindy creates.

Check out the Cindy's Suds website to see what other fine products she makes!  If you live in the Grand Rapids area, you will find her products at Harvest Health and Hop Scotch.  You can also click on these links & go to her website or her Etsy shop.
Right now, Cindy is actually offering a promotion on Etsy for reaching 1,000 Likes on Facebook.  She is giving 25% off the total purchase price this weekend, through March 15, 2015, by entering the Coupon Code 1000LIKES.  The funniest thing is, you would think we planned this collaboration of my blog with her offer, but we totally didn't!!!  We just must have some psychic sister thinking going on :).  Thanks for stopping by to listen to my plug and thanks for considering Cindy's Suds.

Stay healthy, Friends!

Hugs!

Becky



From Cindy's Suds Facebook page:








Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Snow 2 Ways

There is SUNSHINE in the Mitten!!!  Temps are above 30 degrees!!!  
This is good news.  Welcome, March!  I love the promise of Spring.

The last time I took the quads outside to play must have been before Christmas.  It is just too much work to gear everyone up since they like to undress as fast as I dress them.  That, and temps have been way too cold.  But with the promise of Spring around the corner and the warmer temps, this weekend I took them outside to play.  With a little help from Jenna and our neighbors, everyone had a blast and we played outside over an hour!


                 
~Tyler & Tanner~
~Hannah & Lauren~
Well, at least I got 4/5 in the sled.  I pulled Jenna, Lauren, Hannah & Tanner until I ran out of steam, it was a heavy sled!
Jenna pulling Lauren, who liked laying down more than sitting up apparently!



After lunch and naps, the kids were begging to go outside and play in the snow again.  I didn't want to gear everyone up again since I had to start dinner soon, so I did the next best thing.  My friend and fellow quad-mama Amber just wrote in her "Four to Adore" blog about her snow adventures in TEXAS and how her kiddos played with snow inside.  I love this option, so that is what we did!
The kids were occupied over an hour playing inside with snow!

Tyler, Tanner, Hannah & Lauren were thrilled when I dumped the cold spread onto the table
Dig in, kiddos!  I threw in a few of our toy kitchen gadgets which worked out perfect with the snow


Tyler kept on telling me how cold it was

Lauren making a snow cup cake
Tyler dumping snow on the floor...
...and then politely cleaning it up
"Tee hee hee.... a mess mom is letting me make!"
Even Jenna had a blast playing with snow inside
A double-snow-winner of a day!
When's the last time YOU played in snow???

Hugs!

Becky

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Snips & Cuts

The other day I was at the dollar store and saw scissors... was it time to introduce them???  I snatched four and decided I could always wait for a good opportunity.

Well, this afternoon, much to my chagrin Andy declared he was taking the boys for an outing--- to get their hair cut.  Mohawks, specifically (or as Jenna calls it, a 'Mowhog').  While I am not a fan of the hair style, it's only hair and I think it was time for some male bonding!
Tanner & Tyler before...

Tanner & Tyler AFTER
The girls were very upset Andy was not taking them with, so I asked Lauren & Hannah if they wanted to do something special.  It was time for scissors!

Hannah held her scissors surprisingly well!
Lauren loved trying to cut snips of paper!
I thank God all the time that He guided me to becoming a pediatric OT- a job I LOVE- and one that continually comes in handy with my kiddos.  Scissors skills were something I use to do all the time with my students, and my girls are mature enough to try it.  My boys?  They're not there yet.
We practiced snipping strips of paper & straws to make Cut Up Junk Soup while I did hand over hand practice to teach them the proper scissors grasp (thumbs up, elbow down, scissors pointed out).

We had fun, and the boys look... ummm.... like boys!
Manly "Mowhog" boys Tyler & Tanner


Hugs!

Becky

Friday, February 20, 2015

Play & Potty

Monday was not only President's Day, but also "Mid-Winter Break" at school.  Which cracks me up, because here in the Mitten we usually have enough snow days that at least one should qualify as a Mini-Mid-Winter break, but hey- I won't complain about a day off!  My good friend Michelle came over with her three kids to play for the day.  It was a great day!
Michelle & I were roommates in college & grad school 

How many kids can fit inside one pack n play filled with balls?  Hmm, let's see...
The older 2 kids, Jenna & Blake.  Jenna always says she is going to marry Blake.  I am ok with that!

Daddy horsin' around with his crew
Fun in a tub!
Lauren, Hannah, Tanner (yes, the one picking his nose), and Tyler

Another thing that has kept us busy lately is Potty Training- but this time around, with such success!  I am proud to say that Lauren & Hannah have successfully become Potty (& poopy!!!) Trained!!!  

If you don't care to read about Potty Training, I completely understand- just skip on down, friend! 

Lauren proudly showing me her potty.  Tyler is enjoying a book on the seat, but he has no interest in actually using it to potty.
Hannah proudly showing me how well she can go potty.
A few months ago Lauren was showing signs of readiness.  I gave it the ol' college try, but ended up stopping.  She was not progressing as fast as I thought she was; the house was still under construction so the others would use our time in the bathroom to get into trouble; and I was getting frustrated.  Many moms I talked to said to just wait a few months and try again when there was interest.  A friend recommended putting the potties out in the open instead of using the bathroom.  So I followed those tips, and BOOM- one day the girls were ready.

How did I know?  Well, they both kept on ripping off their diapers.  Over and Over and Over.  I quickly I realized it was because they wanted to potty like a big girl- and so away we went!  I already had the potty and lysol wipes, but I did not do any type of reinforcer other than praise for potty.  They simply loved the cause & effect of it!

I also used an OT-ish technique of breaking down the task & allowing them to master each step before progressing to the next.  With the first try, I had Lauren wear underwear and ended up washing them a LOT and even throwing a few pairs away.  This time, I let the girls run around naked on the lower half for days as they learned that urge=gotta go!  I wanted quick success with no pants or undies to get in the way.
Once they were successfully going potty on the toilets with little to no accidents on floors, I added pants.  I only gave them pants that were easy to get on & off (still, no undies) and had a stack of extra pants within reach for when there were accidents.  They had to learn to pull pants down and pull them back up (or put them back on) after going potty.  Hannah is quite the diva who does not like being told what to do at all.  At first when she balked at the idea of pants, I just gave her the choice: would you like the pink or purple pants?  That made it all ok ;)
Once they mastered pants, I finally added undies.  We also started using the bathroom toilet more, which they prefer.  They are doing awesome and while we still have some accidents, overall they are about 95% there.
OK, so quickly I need to mention poops- for those, I did use bribery positive reinforcement.  I do NOT like cleaning poo out of my brand new carpets and was desperate to stop that asap.  I told the girls that if they went poop on the potty, they would get a cookie.  It was an Oreo- very, very high stakes since we never usually have those around!  Within 3 days all poops were in the toilet for both girls!  However, my resident Diva took it to the next level- she was able to control her poo to have 5-6 small bowel movements throughout the day to try to maximize the cookie thing.  I quickly addressed that one, telling her only cookies for bigger poops.  Smart girl-- she might be the death of me, lol!  The cookies are almost gone and yesterday both didn't even ask for them any more, so I think that means we have mastered the poop training, too!

Insert me doing a happy dance right now!!!

Hope you get to enjoy some time with family and friends this season!

Hugs!

Becky