Sunday, July 9, 2017

Summer Math Game

Howdy everyone and Happy Sunday!!

Today I'm teaming up with Education.com to bring you a fun math and graphing activity that you can do with your kiddos right in your home for FREE.

Just because it's summer, doesn't mean that we should let those brilliant little minds stop thinking and dreaming!
So let's get those littles outside, one with nature, and get those brain gears a-movin'!


Here you go!!


Counting Tree Rings



It’s commonly believed that counting tree rings reveals the age (in years) of the tree itself. But counting tree rings may reveal more than just the age of a tree. This project aims to discover new ideas through a careful analysis of tree rings.


Problem:

How can we learn more about trees by counting tree rings?


Equipment:

Computer with internet access.
Access to actual tree stumps
Digital camera
Typical office/craft supplies (such as paper, pens & poster-board)


Procedure:

1. Read overviews of relevant topics (see bibliography and terms listed above).
2. Collect a number of digital photos of tree rings, both online and with your own camera.
3. If possible, also collect some actual tree ring samples.
4. Analyze, describe and categorize each sample and photo.
5. Develop and test your own theories about tree rings.
6. Interpret your findings in a detailed report.
7. Show results visually using charts and graphs.
8. Display any interesting photos taken throughout the course of the experiment.

For more thinking fun, check out THESE FREE AMAZING MATH GAMES brought to you by Education.com!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Elf On The Shelf - Why We Have 2 Elves and So Should You...

We have an awesome Elf that comes and visits us every year.
His name is Olaf (named well before "Frozen" was a thing) and he's funny and silly and super responsible.
However, this year our Olaf brought his little sister Trixie along for the fun and she was a different story...

It all started over a year ago when we found out we were pregnant with surprise baby #4.

This led to needing more space.

Which led to moving to a bigger home 4 months before Christmas with a 3 month old baby.

Which led to non-essential boxes not being unpacked and stashed in the basement because boxes can wait and babies don't keep.

Which led to the weekend before Olaf usually arrives (Dec 1st) us frantically tearing through boxes looking for any sign that Olaf would not be delayed.

Which led to a frantic run to Target the night before to purchase a positive sign that there would be Elf fun in our home this season. Now I knew one day soon there would be an Olaf sighting, so replacing him was never an option and that was when a wonderful idea formed and lots of ideas quickly followed.

Even though we had a backup plan... these new ideas were so much better so while the kids were occupied I double downed my search and racked my brain until it hurt but it was worth it because that night after shower time, my beautiful babies came down to a Christmas miracle, and a whole season full of double trouble fun!!

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LET THE FUN BEGIN!!!!



"Help Me" Elves

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"You're Doing It Wrong" Elves

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"Innocent Swinger" Elves

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"Taking Fluffy For A Walk" Elves

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"Princess Tea Party" Elves

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"You're Embarrassing Me" Elves

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"Bundle of Joy" Elves

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"Hanging Out" Elves

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"Poinsettia Zipline" Elves

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"Welcome Home" Elves

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"Hang Time" Elves

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"Room With A View" Elves

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"Nutcracker Defeating The Mouse King" Elves

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"Makeover" Elves

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"Rapunzel's TP Tower" Elves

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"Barre" Elves

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"Snowball Fight" Elves

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"Candy Cane Hunt" Elves

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"Elf Hat" Elves

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Let me tell you, we"ve been doing this for about 6 seasons now and this by far was my FAVORITE!
There are sooooooo many more options and ideas and I totally ran out of days to do just the one's in my head let alone all the awesome one's I found (and some used) from Pinterest!

You could have a little brother or sister elf that is always being mischievous (depending on your situation)
You could already have a naughty elf who's big brother or sister or "Elf Trainer" comes to try and help be good but is always thwarted.
You could have an "Elf in Training" come who just gets everything all jumbled up.


Seriously, so many more options!

To make her extra naughty, Trixie's arm or head would move during the day while the littles were at school (our teenager's influence on her of course) which made discovering the elves fun all day and not just each morning.

On Christmas day they all repeatedly expressed how much they hoped Olaf would bring Trixie back next year too.

In this case, 2 is infinitely better than one!!

HAPPY CREATING EVERYONE!!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Gender Reveal Photo Idea

Had our anatomy scan ultrasound today.

We took all of the kiddos with us to find out the gender and now they want to share with everyone the big news!



Our little stowaway is indeed a BOY and HE is completely perfect in every single way!!
The dr. assured us that there appears to be no lasting affects to him because of the Hyperemesis and he is growing perfect and strong and even measuring a week ahead of schedule which is fantastic since hyperemesis babies are usually underweight.



For 10 years I have dreamed about this little guy and he is finally on his way!

We cannot wait to meet you our little prince!


Happy Creating Everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Card/ Pregnancy Announcement Idea

For this years Christmas card we chose to shout to the world our surprising and extremely exciting news!!

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Yes, these past few months have been spent with IV's, home nurses, multiple hospital visits and trying to squeeze out whatever sweet moments I could bear with my poor family and husband who has had to take over it all.
See HERE for more on what it's like living with Hyperemesis Gravidarium.

More on that later though...

You can view our other fun family Christmas cards HERE, HERE, and my all time favorite one HERE

Happy Creating Everyone!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Surviving Hyperemesis Gravidarum

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So 2 days after we found out the incredible shocking news that we're indeed pregnant, the vomiting started.
I survived you 4 other times, but Oh, hyperemesis gravidarum, please go easy on me this time!!

Well, that escalated quickly.

First admission to the hospital-

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Second admission to the hospital-

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And now home nursing (thank heavens)

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Lord give me strength!

I never got sick with my miscarriages, so being sick is a good sign.

It's hard to explain to people what it's like to suffer from Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Some look on you with pity, some say ignorant things like "try ginger" or "saltine cracker?" or my favorite "that's part of being pregnant", but for the most part, the majority just think you're exaggerating and just a lazy bum.

Let me tell you something about what it's like living with Hyperemesis.
I wake up each morning and want to cry because I know exactly what I am facing for the day, except I can't cry because I'm so weak and literally no tears will come because I'm so dehydrated. I've lost 23 pounds that I didn't have to lose in the first place. I'm starving, literally, to death. Everything I put in my mouth comes right back up again. Everything. Including water and that cracker you thought would fix it all. You would think the vomiting would stop once there was nothing in your stomach, but it doesn't. You either sit there and dry heave over the toilet all day, or vomit whatever stomach acid your body has produced since the last time you purged. Over 20 times a day I vomit. Everyday. Most of the time there's blood in it because your throat is so raw from the vomiting and harsh acids coming up.
Walking makes you motion sick. Too much noise makes you sick. The lights on the TV and computer screen make you sick. Your eyes moving when you read makes you sick. The motion of someone walking in the room makes you sick. People talking makes you sick. Every time you open your mouth you vomit, so talking is really hard. Basically you are a shell of a person laying in bed willing yourself each moment to not die.
Hyperemesis is like having the stomach flu, food poisoning and severe motion sickness all at the same time.
You're not involved in anything that is going on inside your house, including your children's daily lives. You miss it all. Life is happening completely without you and there is nothing you can do about it.
You need constant help because you're too weak to care for yourself and you CONSTANTLY feel guilty about it.
Add in someone complaining about having to be there to help you and it makes it 1000 times worse. But there is nothing you can do about that either because you can't take of anything, including yourself.
My arms ache from the IV's, and I itch to rip them out, but right now they're the only thing keeping me alive each day.
The anti nausea medicine they push through the IV's makes me feel drugged and heavy, and not in a good way. I try to sleep as much as possible to speed my days away, but the nausea is so severe it wakes me up and then the vomiting starts again. And tomorrow, I get to do it all again.

I really can't tell if this is truly making me stronger, or literally killing me.

The Dr. pushes a vitamin B complex through my IV's twice a day to help prevent brain damage to me because of the severe dehydration and malnutrition.
Yet we still have people in our lives who just think I'm exaggerating.

After I had Ada, my dr. told me that if ever got pregnant again, the hyperemesis would kill me.
"It get's worse with every pregnancy", he had told me, and mine was the worst case he had ever seen.

I resigned myself to being done with my baby years and tried to come to peace with it in my heart.

It never came, but I continued to pray for it anyway since the dr. told me I shouldn't have anymore.
It was out of my hands.

Well, we put it into the Lord's hands and apparently he had something else in mind for us and here we are, our oldest almost a teenager and my youngest preparing for kindergarten and a baby on the way!
And we're ecstatic about it!
What an adventure!

Once I found out I was pregnant though, we started praying hard that my body would be strong, my back would be strong (4 years post 2 spinal surgeries), and that I could survive it and come out at the end with a healthy mommy and a healthy baby and felt complete peace that everything would be ok.

Then the vomiting started.
And got worse.
And worse.
And those who promised they'd help us started coming up with excuses as to why the couldn't and endless complaints while they were here.
And there was nothing I could do about it.
I felt so horrible and weak.
It really is so much worse than last time.
I finally told Mr. Kiggins that this is how I was going to die.
I could feel it.
I felt completely defeated.
It's a very dark time.

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Each day I had to remind myself to hang on just one more day.
Just one more day.
One more...

I still remember the last night I vomited. The Saturday after Thanksgiving.
After a week of no more vomiting, I ripped my IV out and all I could think was how I wanted out of this room. My downstairs never felt so welcoming!
I never called the home nurse to come put my IV back in and was able to keep down all of my oral medications and meals that whole week.
That Thursday I called and asked my dr. to be released for home healthcare.
I was still nauseas, but I was able to eat, able to keep my food down, able to take my medicines, able to bear through the nausea and be part of my family again. I was able to be downstairs, ride in the car, go for short outings. Each day I felt stronger and stronger and a little more like myself. And even my arms are starting to heal and hurt less.

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Each day it truly has gotten better and now I feel so much more like myself and I'm so grateful.
My "just one more day" has finally come and so will yours!! This won't last!  I promise!  
I honestly don't know why this one passed so quickly this time.
There is no logical explanation.  However for me, I know that there is a Heavenly one!
Never doubt the power of faith!

And as for our little stowaway??
Well besides trying to murder me for the past 3 months... growing big and strong and right on target!

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We're halfway there little one and I'm so excited to get you in my arms soon!

And now that Mama is feeling better I have the energy to share what I've learned after surviving Hyperemesis for the 5th time.
Yes, 5th time.

1. You HAVE to have a support system.
Having a loving husband there to cheer me on each moment and pick up all the mommy responsibilities I was unable to do was MANDATORY for the health and happiness of not just me, but our entire family.
Feeling guilty for being sick only makes you feel sicker.

2. You have to surround yourself ALWAYS with positive people and things.
Negative nellies have no place near a Hyperemesis sufferer.
My mother was a huge help with helping take care of the kids, home, meals, and me.
However, she never let us forget for a minute what a sacrifice it was for her and everything she wasn't able to do since she "had" to be here taking care of us.  I would love to not get so sick when I'm pregnant, but I don't get a say.  Constantly complaining about it solves nothing and only makes things worse for all involved.  A hyperemesis sufferer needs positivity, support, compassion and understanding.  If you can't help provide these things, then it's better to just stay away.

3. If you have never suffered from Hyperemesis, then you have NO IDEA what it is like and therefore need to keep your judgments and opinions about it to yourself.  Yes, it is a real disease, and yes, it kills.  Your "morning sickness" cannot be compared to Hyperemesis so don't even try.

4. Find joy in little things.  It's hard when you're that sick, I know.  But try to think of what it's like to hold and smell your newborn baby.  Plan out your nursery in your head.  If you already have kids, have them tape pictures they draw or cards they make up on the walls in your room for you to look at each day.  Watching tv would make me sick, so I would turn on my favorite sitcom (Friends!) that I've watched a million times and just lay there and listen to it with my eyes closed.  It made me happy and helped pass the time quickly.

5.  Most importantly, you HAVE to communicate.  Communicate to your husband, your family, your doctor what you are feeling and what you need.  No one is a mind reader.  A hyperemesis sufferer has a lot of needs that change moment by moment.  My poor husband had to change all of his body wash, shaving cream and deodorant because the smell made me vomit.  I touched a sticky surface in the kitchen that sent me running with my IV pole to the bathroom and had to have my mother wipe down the whole kitchen.  If you are a helper of a hyperemesis sufferer, please remember, none of these needs are personal or meant as us telling you you're doing something wrong.  We're just telling you what we need that we can't do for ourselves.  Please remember that when someone is that sick, manners and niceties are not forgotten on purpose.  Be patient.  Be understanding.

6. Lastly, Constantly remind yourself every moment of every day that this little one is worth it!
Worth every IV, every vomit, every pill, every injection, every stitch, every bedtime story missed, every hospital visit, every forgotten family moment, every tear and every cry of pain.  This little one is worth. every. single. moment.

Hang in there Mama!
You can do this!!


I did it 5 times, and survived and now it's nesting and nursery creating time!
So excited!
After laying in bed dying for the past 3 months, I have SOOOO many ideas!!

Stay tuned...

Happy Creating Everyone!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Movie Gift Card Printable (FREE!)

So the feedback from the Movie Party Gift Cards (originally from our Backyard Movie Party) has been overwhelming!

I love that you guys love it!!

And to show how much I love that you guys love it, I will give to you, a free download of the Movie Gift Card as a blank file.

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That's right, it's not just for birthday parties anymore!

Use any photo editing software that adds text (I like Picasa which is also FREE) to add in whatever message you want it to say.
Use it for work, school, church, a thank you to a baby sitter or fellow carpooler, caregiver... options are limitless!
I had one reader who gave these out to the nursing staff that was caring for her sick mother.
Another reader gave them out as Thank-you's to all the people who helped her with a bake sale.
I used this file to make end of year teacher gifts for my kiddos teachers last year

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Cute right?!?
Anyway, get creative,

FREE File Download HERE

What you get:

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AND...
Here is the same template, but instead of little business card size, they are larger 4x6 cards (which is what I used for the end of year teacher gift).

FREE File Download HERE

What you get:

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There you have it my friends!

HAPPY CREATING!!!