Go stick your hands in some warm dish water!

I’ve been battling a severe iron deficiency for quite a while now.  One of the many annoying side effects of this is that I have become very cold natured.  (Emphasis on the very.)   The weather has turned colder and I am freeeeeezing today.  Everyone else in the house is of course, fine.

Have you ever had one of those moments that made you think of something from your past? Not the big stuff.  We all get reminders of the big stuff.  But just little things?

Today I had one of those, while shivering in the kitchen thinking about how cold I was.  I remembered when I was a kid and my maternal Grandmother was one of the most hot-natured people I’ve ever met.  My Grandpa was on the total opposite side of the spectrum.  On more than one 70 to 80 degree day he was known to turn the heat on in his truck.

But Grandpa was frequently cold inside the house.  He and Gram never agreed on temperature.  And Gram slaving away in a hot kitchen, didn’t help the issue much.  My Grandma LOVED to feed people. She didn’t just cook a meal, she made feasts.  As my uncle often put it, “She makes enough to feed an Army!”

Every Sunday after church we went to their house for dinner.  And nearly every Sunday my Grandpa complained about being cold.  He’d wear a jacket inside the house, and stand in front of one of their gas stoves, warming his back.  And every time he complained about being cold, Gram would always have the same response.

“Well if you’re so cold, go stick your hands in some warm dish water!”, then she’d tilt her head sideways and give him a playful grin.


And often he’d go do the dishes.

So today I’m following Gram’s advice.  I’m cold, and I’m going to stick my hands in some warm dish water!


A truly simple Halloween craft to do with kids.

Most of the Halloween crafts you see articles about, involve a level of complexity that looks like something Martha Stewart would do.  Or requires the purchase of 500 items that you don’t have, while calling them “items you have around the house”.  Well, maybe at Martha’s house, but not mine.  😉

Not that there is anything wrong with Martha.  Or her super impressive crafting skills.  But I don’t have the time, health, allergy tolerance, or energy to do 95% of those things anymore.  So….  I was on the search for something truly simple.  Not simple for Martha types.  Simple enough for me.  Physically and financially.

I scoured the internet and came up with next to nothing.  If it didn’t require the purchase of a ton of items, it required too much work, or something that sends me into asthma attacks.  So…. I came up with my own.

Now consider yourself forewarned, this is not fancy.  It isn’t meant to be.  But for my 6 year old daughter and 7 year old son, we had quite a bit of fun with it.  And maybe you will too.  So I thought I’d share.

I decided I wanted to make some cut outs, of things that we could make and then hang up in the house.  I wasn’t too thrilled with the idea of hand drawing cut outs.  So I went on the search for something online that I could print out to use as a template.  I looked all over and wasn’t happy with anything I found.  Until I found this one PDF that I really liked.  I thought I saved the link to the site it was on, but apparently (as I found out when I went to write this post) I did not.

So, I looked at the PDF again because I recalled it had a website on it.  I THOUGHT this was the site I had found it on.  WRONG.  Apparently I found it on a site that took credit for this person’s work, because that is not the site I originally got it from.  Not cool.  Anyway….  I visited the website, and found the article with the PDF so that I could link to it here for you.  What is really funny is that her idea is to use the cut outs the way that I wanted to before I ever went online to find them.  (The site I got it from was using them in other ways.)  Her blog looks interesting and I am anxious to check out her blog in more detail.  But for now… here is the link for the PDF.  And her article that she posted it in.

As you can see you get 3 cute, well done little templates.  A bat, a ghost, and a pumpkin.  Which is exactly what I was looking for, so thank you Family Entertaining blog for providing a free PDF of exactly what I was searching for!

These are the items I used (you can easily substitute other things):

  • a tape measurer
  • a hole punch
  • scissors
  • string (We used black and orange yarn, because that is what I had here already.)
  • construction paper (We used Wausau Paper’s Astrobrights construction paper in white, black, and orange.)

Two things I must get out of the way here before I go any further.  1.  I am sorry for the poor photo quality.  We did this little project at night and our home has very poor lighting so…. even with my flash, night time photos are crap.  So… sorry about that.    And 2.  I simply must tell you how much I like Wausau Paper’s Astrobright’s construction paper.

I love the quality of this construction paper.  It doesn’t even feel like a construction paper for the most part.  It is much smoother, the colors are so much better.  I just really like it a lot.  Also it doesn’t stink as bad as most construction papers.  Which matters if you have severely reactive asthma like me.  It does have a mild odor, but nothing like most construction paper.  I found it by random happenstance one year when I found a pack of various Wausau Paper’s at Target, in a school supply clearance bin.  I found out how good it was and went back and got a couple more packs.  I don’t know what the typical price for it is, but generally Wausau Papers are not cheap. So it was a great find.

Ok now, back to the project.

I printed off the page from Family Entertaining’s PDF, and then cut out the 3 designs to use for templates.  Then we traced the ghost pattern on to the white paper, the bat onto the black, and the pumpkin onto the orange.  Then we cut them out.  On this paper, with those patterns I think we got 5 pumpkins per sheet, 4 ghosts per sheet, and 3 bats per sheet, if my memory serves me correctly.  😉

My kids asked if they could draw faces on their ghosts, so I said, “Sure!”

These are some of my 7 yr old son’s ghosts:

And here are some of my 6 yr old daughter’s ghosts:

Now you could use tape, and avoid poking holes in your little creations.  But I am severely allergic to latex, to the point where even minor amounts in adhesives cause me problems.  So I try to avoid tape whenever possible.  So we used a hole punch to make holes to attach them to the string.

The kids wanted ghosts and pumpkins in their rooms, so we did the ghosts and pumpkins on black yarn and we did the bats on orange yarn.  The only thing that we measured was the window, to get a rough idea of how long to cut the yard string.   But I let the kids do the measuring and cutting.

Below are some of their finished products.

Here is their ghost and pumpkin string on their window:

and a close up:


And the bats we placed in random locations throughout the house.  Like this one:

As I said from the beginning, it was a very simple little activity.  But it was one that the kids and I had fun doing together and that is all that matters!


Happy Halloween Everyone!


What matters most.

One of the few “benefits” of dealing with illness is that I think you have a better perspective of what matters most in life. Or what is really important to you.  It’s the first things that flash through your mind when you worry you might not make it.  But even for those of us dealing with illness, some moments can really shove what matters most, right to the forefront of your mind in an instant.

This evening my parents were watching our 14 month old daughter for a little while.  I called to tell them my husband would be getting her soon to bring her home.  Then my Mom & I started to chit chat a bit and while we were on the phone I hear my Mom tell my baby “No”.  Then I hear my Mom tell my Dad to “check her”.  Then my Mom screams, “She’s choking turn her upside down, turn her upside down!”  Then she turns back to the phone and says, “I have to hang up now!”

And she hangs up.

Can you say heart attack?  Because I nearly had one.  I start screaming for my husband, who was just stepping out of the shower and getting dressed.  “Go to Mom & Dad’s!  Go to Mom & Dad’s NOW! Something is wrong with the baby!”
(FYI – my husband is a nurse and my parents live very close by.)

I spend the next couple of minutes trapped in some sort of suspended space.  Pure terror running through my mind.  My son asks, “What is wrong?  Why did Daddy run out of here?”  I said, “I don’t know, something is wrong with the baby. I think she is choking, we need to pray for her.”  And the kids and I prayed.   I know it was only a couple of minutes, if that, but it felt like an eternity.  Then the phone rang.  It was my mom.  The baby was fine.  She scared my Mom, big time.  But she was fine.

Apparently my baby girl thought it was a good idea to grab the last hunk of her biter cookie, shove it in her mouth, and then swig back her bottle.  Which resulted in a little distress, but she was never actually choking or not breathing.  But to my Mom across the room, it looked that way.

It probably shaved a few more years off my life and gave me 100 grey hairs, but WHO CARES?!?!?  I was just so happy to see my little sweetheart come home as happy as ever, like nothing had ever happened.  After her bath, the whole family all piled on my bed together for awhile and I felt as content as I ever have in my entire life.

Where have I been?

I’ve barely blogged at all in recent weeks.  I could write a novel explaining it all.  Or I could just sum it up like this…

broken ribs… suck


complicated food allergies…. suck

nutritional deficiencies… suck

cardiac issues… suck

God… is great

And I am grateful to be here.


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