Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I've Been Sleeping with Someone Else

Don't worry. My husband knows about it.

Two dudes actually. We've been sleeping together for about—oh...25 years or so. 
And it's everything it needs to be.

I ain't ashamed, people. I'll fess up.
Yeah, I'm a grown woman who still sleeps with teddy bears. What about it?

Mr. Chips, here, is my main boo.
Old Mr. Chips is looking pretty haggard these days with his cataracts (from getting rowdy in the washing machine) and nappy fur, but that much love can wear a brutha down.

He peered at me from behind some potpourri at the ol' St. Vincent Martyr church bazaar and it was a done deal. We were obviously soul mates. Obviously.

Come now. If we're close, you KNOW Mr. Chips. You might have even partied with him at one point, right? I'll spare you the photos. He's been around.

And during the holiday shopping season of 1989 (gads), Bloomingdales baited shoppers with an offer I couldn't let my mother refuse. Spend $50 and get a big, fluffy white teddy bear that you'll NEVER ever be able to throw away.
Boomie has lost his nose and a bit of his mouth over the years,  but he's still the best headrest in the world. 
Wouldn't ya know, that Christmas, Mr. Chips, Boomie and I became a threesome. 
Boyfriends always had to beware. Any mistreatment of Chips & Boom resulted in aggressive backlash.

One dark day, a Ft. Lauderdale hotel maid actually STOLE the alluring Mr. Chips to give to her daughter. Needless to say, good always wins over evil and he was safely returned.

Sounding crazy?

Don't judge, friends. It's about loyalty.
These ragged stuffed animals have been by my side through it all—they've soaked up tears, comforted me through so many ups and downs and have reminded me that snuggling, love and whimsy are good for the soul.
Oh, even though the three of us are far too old to stay together, I just can't "bear" the thought of saying goodbye. There's just too much love stuffed in there.

And, you know what? I'm okay with holding on when it comes to love and sentiment that strong. My two lil' bears ain't goin' nowheres.

Do you have any lovies from your childhood that you just can't throw away? Why is it so hard to let go?

Have a grown-up day, my friends...and a snuggly night.
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

Monday, June 17, 2013

Looking Chalazia Right in the Eyes

Oh no, my friends. It's reach out for a lil' support time. If you've got ANY tips on this one, puh-lease send them my way. Forward to a a sister out, people.

I'm so sad to report that it's happening again.
The chalazia are back, and this time...BOTH of our sweet kiddos are under siege.

If you missed my initial, more optimistic post on our first battle with these clogged oil glands in the eyelids, catch up here. Man, how I'm wishing that previous post was the end of chalazia worries for us, but alas...they're back. And brutal.

Since we'd been through this before, we started warm compresses at the first sign of our 2-yr-old first STINKIN' chalazion a'brewing.

And then, salt in the wound- our eldest developed a monster on her lower right lid and another, less obvious chalazion began clogging up her upper lid.

Our older child hadn't been affected by blockages in years and this was our youngest's first bout, so we found it incredibly suspicious that both kids developed chalazia around the same time. Coincidence? Docs say they're not contagious, so what gives? What do you think? Seems so bizarre. Allergies, maybe?

Major, major drag, people.

Following our pediatric ophthalmologist's advice, we started with rice compresses that we made with socks. We microwave them for about 20 seconds and hold to the eye for 15 minute intervals 3-4x a day. They hold heat far better than washcloths, but now- wondering if the moisture from washcloth compresses might be helpful, we're alternating between the two.
chalazia compresses
We're switching between rice and warm washcloth compresses.
Hoping to keep those glands clear of any additional irritation, I've been doing my best to keep our daughters' hair pulled back as much as possible, and we've been opting to give the girls showers instead of baths to encourage drainage from the steam.

After 4 weeks of compress treatments and minimal improvement, both girls were prescribed Tobramycin and Dexamethason drops and ointment 4x a day. After over a week of use, we're seeing little result.

Surgical removal is not recommended (phew!) at this point, since ugly as these clogs are, they aren't large enough to cause damage to the eye.

But it's killing me to see my sweeties' eyes all backed up like this. You know? :::sigh.

So I'm reachin' out, friends. If anyone has any tips for helping to clear eye ducts, please let us know. If you know someone who has been up against chalazia, ask em' how they got over the hump (pun intended) and report back. We'd be ever so grateful.

As hard as it is to see our girls' precious little faces marred by chalazia, it definitely helps me to remember to see past outer appearances- to remember that a little blemish ain't so bad, and most importantly to be thankful for the health those cuties DO have and focus on the positive.

I've learned that parenting isn't always going to be picture perfect, but we've got a whole lotta resources and a whole lotta love to get us over the hurdles.

Thanks for all your help, friends! Keep your ears open for news that might help us strengthen the fight against chalazia and send us your tips.

Have a happy week, everyone, with clear eyes to the skies!
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Peace Out, Plastic Planters

Tell ya what...
I'm getting pretty sick of plastic. 

Don't get me wrong, I know it's an incredibly useful material and all, but the look of it kills my swerve lately.

It's aesthetically abrasive to me, non-organic, harsh on my eyes. 
So, we've been making a conscious effort to ditch plastics in and around our home.

This season, I recycled all our plastic planters in order to switch them out with substitutes that make my eyes much happier. 
Switchin' out old plastic planters for terra-cotta, wood and metal
For my birthday, my fella got me some wonderful alternatives to the plastic planters that just didn't work with the natural beauty of my annual flowers.
With a little help from my four-year-old friend, we swapped out green plastic window boxes with these charming wooden ones. I love the way the wood looks against the colors of the annuals. Simple, smooth and gorgeous!
Pennington window boxes
Pennington window boxes
To get some color "hanging around" out there, I've replaced plastic hanging pots with these lovely, and inexpensive, bark-covered planters. They have a whimsical, fairytale quality that I adore.
For additional aesthetic awesomeness, we added these horse trough steel planters, which came with 100% biodegradable coco liners. Again, I'm just lovin' the easy, natural look.
CobraCo Canterbury Horse Trough planter
CobraCo Canterbury Horse Trough planters
And my favorite newbie of the season, this old whisky barrel, has taken the place of all my old, large plastic planters. My hub added a panel inside so that I didn't have to fill the entire barrel with dirt, and I was able to fit TONS of stunning annuals inside this beauty. Love, love, love!
Whisky barrel planter
My new planters bring back that smooth YES groove, baby. My eyes are happy anywhere I look out there, and the ambiance feels so much more graceful and natural without rough, cracking plastic eyesores that take away from the organic beauty of the flowers. 
I'm excited to discover new, unconventional ideas for creating beautiful planting space. Old wooden wagons and washtubs might be perfect for repurposing with flowers. So many possibilities!

Any cool ideas? Send them our way!

Enjoy the colors of the season, friends.
XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Morel Madness

Did you find any morels this season?

Since this is only our second season of real 'shroom hunting, we're relative newbies to the game. But, in regards to morel hunting, I'd say we did okay for ourselves this spring.
morel mushroom
If you've never been out looking for morels, a few things to consider...

1. These babies are relatively easy to pick out, thanks to their hollow stems, unusual cap-shape and texture.
morel mushroom
An afternoon morel bounty
2. In my humble opinion, morels are so scrumptious. Cook em' up and slap them on top of some pizza with some snazzy cheese for gourmet-style deliciousness!  
cooking with morel mushroom
Giant morel stuffed with crab meat and cheese. A-MAZ-ING!
3. Be sure you don't confuse morels with false morels, which are NOT hollow inside the stem. False morel stems have a solid, meaty flesh and can be dangerous to consume. Read more about false morels here

If you're the outdoorsy type and feel like joining the hunt next season, a few MORE things to consider...

Once you've positively identified morels in an area, it's likely that they'll grow there again in following seasons. Remember to make note of the places you've found them and revisit to check for more. 

Check for news/info/spottings in your state. Be forewarned, however; it can be painfully frustrating to see people nearby coming home to post pics of BAGS of morels when you haven't found a lone 'shroom. Stay positive. They're out there somewhere. You just have to know where to look.
giant morel
My BIG find this season.
And on that note, when you DO find them, shhhhhhhhh! I get such a kick out of the secretive nature of morel hunting. Many hunters are ultra-protective of their spots once they've hit the jackpot, so if you plan to return next season, keep your location under tight wraps. It's more fun that way, of course. 

Now that we've started hunting, we've bumped into plenty of like-minded folk out there a' searching. Hope we never run into any grumpy hunters...

Mushroom wars?!?
morel hunting
Here, we've found our morels from the end of April through the end of May. So study up for next season and have yourselves a BLAST out there searching. It's a treasure hunt in the woods every time. 

And again, NEVER eat ANY raw mushroom in the wild and make absolutely sure you have positively identified any mushroom you intend to consume.

"There are old mushroom hunters, there are bold mushroom hunters - but there are no old, bold mushroom hunters!."
-- Minnesota Mycological Society

Get it? Nuff said. 
Next on the huntin' schedule...chanterelles! 
Will report. 
You know it.
Have fun in the woods, my friends!
Have you found any interesting mushrooms yet this season?

XOXO From My Hearth to Yours

Catch up on my previous 'shroom hunting post- A Family of Mycophiles? here.

And P.S.- Remember that ALL readers can still get a discount on RideSafer travel vests this month. head over to Safe Ride 4 Kids here and enter the coupon code "hearth10" to receive a $10 discount off any order placed in the month of June.