art · kids · quarantine

10 Things to Know BEFORE You Tie-Dye

After three round of tie-dying with my daughters, we’ve pretty much nailed down all of the things NOT to do and things we would do different next time. We made our share of mistakes as newbies and I would love to share them with you so we are all better off. Here we go:

Prewash your shirt!

1. Prewash your shirts. Or at least use a wet shirt. You can kind of see in the picture above that the dye isn’t absorbing as well and running down the fabric. This was our second day of dying and we just flat out forgot to do it.

The good news is that if this happens to you, there is a work around. We waited the recommended 6-8 hours, then rinsed, squeezed out and put back in the bag for several more hours. It worked! A wet shirt really is necessary to achieve the more graduated pretty watercolor effect.

2. Use a shower curtain or tarp. As you can see in the above pic we used a shower curtain to place under us. We also worked outside. I’ll be honest, tie-dying is messy. The more systems you have in place to prevent messes the more fun you’ll have!

Use the gloves!

3. Use the gloves they provide. Otherwise your hands will look like mine. It took two days for this to wear off.

Use a fork to help with the spiral.

4. Use a fork. When you’re doing the spiral technique, using a fork can help keep the spiral tight. Just place in the center, then twist. You can use your hands to guide the rest of the twisting, as shown.

Rubber bands don’t have to be perfect.

5. Rubber band placement doesn’t have to be perfect. We did some spiral shirts where we were super careful and some where we weren’t and all of the shirts turned out nice.

I will say if you are wanting to achieve a certain pattern, it will be more important for you to divide into sections, almost like a pizza.

Don’t forget to flip it over and do the other side.

6. Flip it over! If you forget this your shirt will look half done. Once you’ve applied die to both sides, THEN you can bag.

Gallon sized ziplocs work great.

7. Use gallon sized ziploc bags. Once you have finished dying, if you buy the popular Tulip brand like we did, it comes with a box for you to place your shirts in. We wanted to do multiple projects at once, and ziplocs let us do this. They work great.

Do keep rinsing!

9. Keep rinsing until the water runs clear. After waiting the 6-8 hours for the color to set. The directions say to keep rinsing the shirt until the water runs clear. We did this, and machine washed and dried as instructed and still I ended up with two light blue towels in my next day’s load that were formally white. I would say, when you think you’re done rinsing, keep rinsing. And maybe machine wash twice!

Try other techniques!

10. Experiment with other techniques. We tried the technique pictured above and it was more of a true tie-dye. We used kitchen twine.

The coolest thing about tie-dye, is that matter what you do, or how many mistakes you may make, your project will still be a cool surprise in the end.

kids · parenting · Uncategorized

Keeping Your Child Safe on Their New iPhone

My eleven-year-old daughter just received a new iPhone for her birthday. This was unchartered territory for our family, and I was a little uneasy about how to set it up and make sure we had settings and parameters in place to keep her safe.

I found out through friends and a little bit of trial and error, but I wanted to share the settings we personally use that have given us peace of mind.

1. Family sharing. First of all, add your child as a family member. You can go to Settings>Apple ID>Family Sharing.

2. Purchase sharing. Scroll down a bit and you will see several radio buttons. Find Purchase Sharing and turn this off. We do not want our daughter making any purchases on her phone.

3. iCloud Storage. Directly below Purchase Sharing is iCloud Storage. We do have this and I did turn this on. I always think it’s wise to back up data.

4. Location Sharing. We allowed this. We shared locations with each other. I want to know her location at all times and I am fine with her knowing mine.

5. Screen Time. There is so much to be found in this setting. Turn it on, then click on it to reveal the options pictures below. I also love the visual of the graph that lets us easily monitor the time she is spending online.

6. Downtime. This allows you to choose what time your child can get on their device in the morning, and what time they need to be off in the evening. We are on summer break, so hers will most definitely change once school starts.

7. App Limits. This is what I really wanted to know when I was setting up her phone! How to limit the number of hours she can be on her phone. You’ll find it here.

8. Allowed Communication During Screen Time. I chose contacts only. Then further down you can choose exactly the contacts you wish to allowed. Our daughter has 8.

9. Allowed Communication During Downtime. This is for when she’s used up all her screen time. We only allow my husband and I as contacts. We need to be able to reach her at all times, but don’t want anyone else to.

10. Content & Privacy Restrictions. This is an important section! Be sure to click on each option to select the content, movie ratings, to block explicit lyrics and more.

In addition to these iPhone settings, you may consider the Bark App, Life 360 or Disney Circle.

I want to end by saying our child is a great kid. We really do trust her! We love her to pieces and want to do our best to keep her safe online and protect her innocence, while still letting her have a phone like the rest of her peers.

If you are reading this and have any other suggestions, apps, or settings that we should be using or putting in place, I’d love for you to share. We are all better together!

travel with kids · Uncategorized

Our Bike Ride at Alys Beach

My daughter Anna Claire is ten, and new to riding her bike. She really wanted to ride bikes on 30A during our vacay, so I researched for somewhere safe, less crowded, and with level ground.

Alys Beach fit all of our criteria, plus the architecture and entire little community is so charming. It’s beautifully manicured and photogenic.

Please know my child did not mean to ride into the grass. She didn’t stop in time.

Also, as an added bonus, prior to our trip, I had researched the different bike rental locations along 30A and The Bike Shop at Alys Beach had to the best rates. You should also know that bikes are typically priced for daily rental, and we only needed hourly which they allowed.

I don’t know that a reservation is required, but I opted to reserve ours which gave us confidence that the bike sizes we needed would be available.

A little bike safety lesson: Did you know that the child should ride in front of the adult? This allows you to keep your eyes on them, and call out directions to them. This made my child nervous at first, but I think she liked leading the way by the end.

Back home we are vigilant about wearing our helmets when we ride, since we share the road with car traffic, but with a designated bike lane, no one was wearing one. My daughter loved this! (So did I.)

 

Pro Tip: Be sure to venture down the side roads. We loved looking at the beautiful homes and condos. We also found Charlie’s Donuts which is known for having the best smoothies on 30A. AC had a Long John and we split a mango smoothie. So good!

The Bike Shop at Alys Beach is also located directly across from the large green space and next door to Piper’s food truck in case you work up a thirst or would like a yummy taco after your ride.

Bike riding was a great social distancing activity, and I can honestly say this goes on my list of the top five bike rides I’ve been on in my life.

I will just end by saying how kind, happy and friendly everyone was at Alys. It was contagious!

personal development · wisdom

Staying in Your Power

Last night, I fell asleep listening to an audio. Then when I woke up, the last few minutes of the next “recommended for you” was playing and ending. It was a two hour audiobook called The Power Is Within You.

It’s all about reclaiming your power, and that it’s all within your control. That is great news!

The author was abused herself as a child, and she begins by explaining that those of us who experienced abuse will subconsciously place ourselves in situations of abuse (hers was physical, mine mostly verbal.) She addressed how you can break this cycle and get back to a place of self-love, through forgiveness and sending love to those who have hurt you.

The book points you to self-love so that you can then love others. And to love yourself, you must use conscious language and be very aware of the words you speak, how you speak to yourself and to others.

It goes on to say you need to stop complaining and gossiping, because negative words bring more negativity into your your life. When you complain, criticize or gossip, when you are talking about others, your mind internalizes it as if you are speaking about YOURSELF. When you talk negatively about someone you need to ask yourself why you feel those things about yourself. The things we dislike in others are the things we don’t like about ourselves. Mic drop!

We often don’t think we deserve. This comes from our childhood, and our power comes from our deservability. What keeps us from feeling we deserve is typically someone else’s belief that we have accepted as truth. If we can let go of this misperception, we can return to our power.

Another part that resonated with me the most was what she had to say about guilt. Maybe you were made to feel like a burden as a child. As an adult this can make you feel like you’re bothering others, you’re in the way, or you’re inconveniencing someone whenever you need anything. Maybe you find yourself apologizing to others when you’ve done nothing wrong. This again points to a lack of deservability which is you trying to see yourself through someone else’s misperception. Stop that!

By dropping these old patterns and leaving your past behind you, you can move forward in your power. Your past does not serve you.

One of the main concepts she proposes is using affirmations and making sure the words you speak are positive. But she defines affirmations differently than what you might think. The traditional meaning of affirmation is a positive statement. Anything we speak is an affirmation and we reap the consequences of all words we speak, good or bad. The book is very law-of-attraction-ish and teaches that the words we speak come back to us some how in the way of experiences. We have to really pay attention to what we say!

I can’t recommend this book enough, whether you listen to the audiobook like I did or if you prefer to just read it. It came along for me at the perfect time. If you have been walking through lows related to past guilt, unworthiness, negativity or not feeling you are deserving, this book will give you the tools and knowledge you need to stay in your power!

essential oils · health · natural lifestyle

THROAT ROLLER AND THROAT SOOTHING PROTOCOL

What do you reach for when you need something to soothe your throat, or when you have drainage in your throat due to seasonal irritants?

We try to use natural remedies at our house, as much as possible. Also, I talk for a living so I was constantly on a search for a natural option to soothe my throat.

It has evolved over time, but we have an extremely effective natural protocol that we have used for our family for several years now. These quickly soothe the throat and let you continue your day drainage-free.


Here’s my protocol.


1. Make a roller using the infographic below, and add an additional 10 drops of Purification as well, if you have it. Purification is a blend known for soothing the throat. For children, I do half the number of drops of essential oil.

To make the kids roller, simply use half the number of drops of essential oils, but maintain the same amount of carrier drops.


2. Get your hands on Thieves Cough Drops when they are in stock or Thieves Lozenges which are in stock. They soothe on contact and have no harmful chemicals or bright red dye or food coloring. And they are yummy!


3. Make yourself some Thieves tea. A drop of Thieves, as drop of Lemon, and a tbsp of raw local honey in a mug of hot water. Or put on your big girl pants (or big boy pants) and just down those three ingredients in a tablespoon! (Hot! But it works!!)

What natural remedies do you like to use for soothing your throat? Please share in the comments. And if you are in need of any of the oils or products mentioned in this post you can purchase them here.

essential oils · health · natural lifestyle

Natural Deodorants and DIY Anti-perspirant

Let’s talk DEO.

Anyone else out there who has tried several natural deodorants and even tried making their own? After many, many product tests and recipe attempts, Primal Pit Paste is my absolute favorite. Only it’s not an antiperspirant. So I took a shot at making my own spray.

The Essential Oils Desk Reference book recommended sage and Purification, and my ref guide 4 essential oils app added Endoflex to the list which my husband uses to support his thyroid. I love it!

I can’t say that I don’t sweat at all, but I don’t get wet circles under my arms and I know the body needs to sweat some to get rid of toxins. I’m just thankful not to be applying memory killer aluminum to my body anymore. I need all the brain cells I can get!

Please do your own research and you will find as I unfortunately did, that over-the-counter deodorants contain aluminum, which has been linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s.

To make your own anti-perspirant use any of these oils you may have on hand:

  • 2 oz spray bottle
  • 2 drops sage
  • 2 drops Endoflex
  • 2 drops Purification
  • 2 drops nutmeg
  • 2 drops petitgrain (EO that controls perspiration like no other, IMO)
  • a splash of witch hazel
  • fill rest of the way with water

If you don’t have all of these, I think just Purification or just petitgrain would work great. I’ve actually applied a drop of Purification under each arm on days I’ve left the house without using my spray. Works awesome in a pinch. 🤓

You can get started with the world leader in essential oils here.

art

Sea Salt Watercolor Technique

My husband and daughters gave me a very nice watercolor set for Mother’s Day, and I was able to try it out today.

I took watercolor classes when we lived in San Francisco, but I’m way out of practice. Just getting started by refreshing myself on some techniques.

This is sea salt. Isn’t it cool? Steps are provided in the photo captions. 🎨🧂

Mask off the edges for crisp, sharp lines. Use good watercolor paper. This paper measures approximately 4” x 6”.
Do a wash of color. I layered cerulean and phthalo blue. In retrospect I would use less water.
Let partially dry, but while still wet, sprinkle on sea salt.
Make sure painting is completely dry. If in doubt paint is totally dry, use a hairdryer. Shake off any lose salt. Then rub/scratch off any remaining salt.

Here is the post that inspired me and includes many other watercolor techniques to try.

health · quarantine

Anxiety Affects Your Immune System: Ways to Guard Yourself Against Fear and Worry

Dear friends, these days I am seeing more and more share that they are in a state of worry and fear. But that fear and worry wreaks havoc on your physical wellbeing.

During these times especially, we need to be doing all we can to keep ourselves in a mental state of ease and calm.

Here are a few things you can start doing today to guard yourself against fear and worry:

  1. Be mindful of the media you consume: watching the news, scrolling through your Facebook feed, and even binge watching dark Netflix series. The songs you listen too with the killer baselines but have negative lyrics. Limit these as much as possible for one week and experience for yourself, the difference it makes.
  2. Immerse yourself in uplifting books, watch shows that inspire, and maybe trade your fearmongering Facebook in for the lighter inspiring feelings of Pinterest or Instagram or TikTok.
  3. Do something creative. Being creative requires you to be present and it’s the most wonderful distraction from thoughts that concern you.
  4. Meditate. This probably should have been number one. If you are finding yourself in a state of fear and worry, meditation has this wonderful way of shutting those emotions down. When you quiet your mind, you block your thoughts, including those negative ones. And no thought is better than negative thought. Meditation is like hitting a reset button for your emotional state.
  5. Reach for activities and things that calm you and are satisfying: get outdoors, take a walk, take a bath, light some candles, breathe in calming essential oils like lavender or those that are grounding like frankincense. Do some gardening or baking if that’s something you enjoy.
  6. Some studies I read when I was preparing to write this post emphasized the importance of staying connected to friends and social networks. Text or FaceTime a friend. Organize a zoom call.
  7. Make positive lists. Journal. My daughters and I have been doing this more and more often. We make lists of things we would like to do, where we would like to go, places we would like to travel, meal ideas/recipes we want to try, birthday ideas, things we can do for others.
  8. Learn something new! Learning a new skill is empowering and also helps you to be more present.

Whatever you choose to do, choose something that will get yourself to a mental place that feels better. I hope that these suggestions can help point you to some ideas that will bring you more peace. ✌🏻

*Curious about how anxiety affects the body exactly? Here is a Psychology Today article that’s a bit older, but explains it pretty well. And there is this one as well.

kids · product reviews · quarantine · Uncategorized

All Things sand.tagious

Watching sand.tagious kinetic sand cutting videos is so satisfying. If you don’t know about them, I’m happy to introduce you.

What is it exactly that makes the sound of cutting sand so satisfying? Apparently, sounds like this trigger a ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) which is a “low-grade euphoria,” a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin, particularly the scalp and spine.

An entire genre of ASMR videos has emerged on social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram with the discovery of this phenomenon. And kinetic sand cutting is just one type of ASMR video. Other ASMR types include whispering, crinkling plastic, and crunching.

The intention of the videos is to calm and soothe. sand.tagious videos have been praised by those with anxiety, autism and insomnia but anyone can appreciate them. You can read more about sand.tagious and the ASMR connection here.

Our family loves kinetic sand cutting videos because they are calming, and they help us to clear our minds and be present. I dare you to be anxious and stressed out while watching. It just isn’t possible.

More than that, sand.tagious videos have inspired us to be more creative with our kinetic sand. Watching and listening to someone else play with and cut kinetic sand is satisfying for sure, but doing it yourself adds a kinesthetic and tactile element that is just as satisfying.

We have had fun trying to make our own kinetic sand cutting videos, using found items around the house with our sand, and acquiring tools like the ones used by sand.tagious. This set includes just about everything you would need to get started and is the best bang for your buck.

Our very first attempt at making our own sand-cutting ASMR video. They wanted it sped up, but then realized there is no sound. The girls want their own YouTube channel. 😁

This set includes just about everything you would need to get started.

https://www.instagram.com/sand.tagious/

https://m.facebook.com/sand.tagious

health · introvert · kids · Uncategorized

5 Things I Did (and Do) to Overcome Social Anxiety

I was watching a series on Netflix with my kids called “The Healing Powers of Dude.” It’s about a middle school kid named Noah who has an emotional support dog named Dude…and social anxiety.

I was explaining to my almost eleven-year-old daughter that I could relate to Noah in so many ways. That I was very much like him at that age. As a young adult I wasn’t surprised when I was diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder. My daughter couldn’t believe it. She said, “But Mommy you seem extroverted.” I thanked her for the compliment and started sharing some ways that I overcame it.

I wondered if other young people might benefit from the wisdom I’ve gained and maybe wouldn’t have to struggle like Noah did. Like I did.

So here they are, five things I did (and still do) to cope with and eventually overcome social anxiety:

1. Stop nightmaring. Nightmaring is where you go “worst case scenario.” You come up with all kinds of imaginary possible outcomes in your mind, and many of them are utterly absurd and irrational. I totally had a habit of this, and still catch myself doing it from time to time. In “The Healing Powers of Dude” Noah imagines losing Dude or his schoolmates turning into Zombies. Some more common examples of nightmaring would be imagining that everyone is looking at you, or talking about you. Somehow I felt like imagining all of the possible negative outcomes would help me be prepared, but what I realized in time was that those negative things rarely ever happened – I was just imagining for nothing. The key word though is “imagining” and it’s good news because that means it isn’t real. It’s fiction. And you cut it out by staying present which is number 2.

2. Stay present. The term anxiety means that you are focusing on imaginary negative future outcomes. They are illusions only in your mind. You can eliminate them entirely by staying present. But how do you do that, you ask? When you can’t shut your thoughts off? There are several strategies I use: conscious breathing. Meditating. Yoga. Go outside and be in nature. Tap into any one of the five senses. Finding joy in what you are doing in this moment, which is also number 3.

3. Find joy. Look for things that are satisfying. Make lists of things that bring you joy. Lists of your hobbies. Create vision boards. Find a couple of safe people, like Noah did.

4. Recharge your battery daily by taking some quiet time for yourself. Chances are, if you have social anxiety, you also are an introvert. Your energy gets depleted around others and especially new social situations. You need to know when you need to withdraw and recover. In one episode of “Healing Powers” Noah realized he needed to step away from the party and be alone in a quiet room. I still to this day will withdraw from a group when I feel low energy. It’s self-care when you have social anxiety.

5. Take comfort in routine, structure and schedules. Those of us with social anxiety are often triggered by the element of surprise. The unknown. The unexpected. On the flipside, routines and structure are calming and reassuring for us. This is how I am able to teach middle school. I need structure and routine for my own well-being and it makes it very easy to create it for my students. I generally feel safe with my groups of kids, we know each other and the sequence of events from day to day is predictable. I am writing this during the 2020 quarantine and even here at home, without realizing it, I have created a very predictable routine and schedule for our family. It becomes second nature with practice. Noah enjoys going to concerts and I do too. He says he feels like he can blend in with the crowd and I totally get that. After you’ve been to a concert you know what to expect and you feel at ease with the whole show routine.

I have come to accept that I will never be an extrovert, and I don’t know that I want to or need to.

Final words of wisdom?

🐾 Practice staying present and being in the moment! Remember that life is supposed to be fun. Plan fun and exciting things for yourself.

🐾 Try as much as you can to replace your nightmaring with daydreaming. It’s great to flash forward and think about what might happen in the future – but make sure they are good things.

🐾 Give yourself space when you need it.

🐾 Remember that structure and routine are your friends. They are comforting! The whole reason anxiety exists is because it is fear of the unknown. By creating predictable routines for yourself you lower the anxiety for yourself and those around you. This does not mean you have to live in a box. Our family goes on lots of adventures! But I make sure I do lots of planning beforehand and that I am with people I trust when I do them.

🐾 And one final thought. Give yourself permission to just stay quiet. So much of my social anxiety as an adolescent came from feeling like I had to know what to say. But now as an adult I realize it’s perfectly acceptable, if not preferable, to stay quiet.