Emergency First Aid–Free Printables!

I recently got put in charge of my church’s monthly women’s evening meeting.  So now I get to plan the get-togethers where our husbands think we’re meeting to learn spiritual stuff when really we’re catching up on gossip and eating junk.  Pretty sweet gig, lemme tell ya.

This week we put on a little class on dealing with first aid emergencies.  I prepared a packet that includes information on CPR, choking, cuts, burns and what to do in case you have to give birth in an emergency situation (i.e. not a hospital or your choice of birthplace :).  This packet would be perfect inside an evacuation kit to be used in a real life or death emergency or simply stuck in your first aid kit or medicine cabinet.

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Cuts and burns quiz and instructions

Birthing in an emergency

Adult CPR (the CPR and choking links are to the CPR Dude website which is where I got my information.  Just print off a screen shot of each page!)

Child CPR

Infant CPR

Choking Adult or Child

Choking Infant

I’m such a huge fan of all women being prepared to give birth in any situation; information is power!   Now, if you ever find yourself speeding to the hospital with contractions right on top of each other and think you just might not make it,  you’ll be the picture of calm and rationale, right??

Laughs from the Littles

 

I keep DYING to share some of the funniest and most touching things these great kids of mine come up with.

I recently decided that I’d start a series of posts chronicling the hilarity that ensues at our house.  I knew kids were funny but sometimes they seriously just SLAY me.

The only sad part is that I’m usually alone with them and there’s no one else to laugh with me.  That’s where you guys come in.

Introducing: Laughs from the Littles, Round 1.

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Me: “Everyone is good at something.”
Liam:”Except me.”

I gear up to give him a motivational pep talk until…

Liam: “I’m good at everything.”
Me: Laughs.  “Except humility.”
Liam: “What’s that?”
I explain.
Liam: “Nope, I’m good at that too.”

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The best part about this picture is Liam’s shirt.  It says, “I’m pretty much one of the best people I know.”  (plus a stick drawing of Greg Heffley aka Wimpy Kid).  Fitting, considering our above conversation.

While playing Duck, Duck, Goose as a family, Toby decides to pat heads to the words of, “tiger….platypus….deer scat…goose…”

Stay tuned for the next installment of snort-inducing children’s quotes.

Sew easy

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I got a little burned out while working on some pattern drafting and harder  sewing projects lately so I decided to give my brain a break by whipping out some quick and easy fun projects.

Have you been over to MADE and seen Dana’s new video tutorial series?  They are freaktastically awesome.  And I don’t use “freaktastic” lightly.  They are PERFECT for a beginning sewer or anyone who needs a little sewing pick-me-up.  I’ve watched them all!

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This is what I get when I tell them I’m taking a picture.

One of her videos is a quick and simple rundown of a basic elastic skirt with bias tape trim.  Such a fun summer wardrobe addition that takes literally 20 min (or less!) to make.

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This is what I get when I say “pose!”  I admit I didn’t make that lace one Kira is wearing.  It was an adorable H&M find and the underskirt is actually BRIGHT neon coral.  I wish they had it in my size.

And now that I mention bias tape…she has a video on that too.  And I’ll admit.  I was never much of a bias tape aficionado but she makes it fun.  In fact I just bought several fat quarters to make cute tape with.

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I’m also a huge fan of these lipgloss-holder key rings.  I made a bunch for Mother’s Day gifts for my sisters and SIL’s.

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Aren’t they cute?  Instead of chapstick, I bought fun lipgloss from Forever 21 and just added about an inch to the length of the pattern.

Whew! That was fun!

Now back to the drafting…wah, wah, waaaah!

**For reference, here are the measurements I used for my skinny just-turned-5-year-old:

Raw fabric =  20” wide x 13” long, elastic = 19” long, bias tape = 20” long
Finished measurements were 12” long with an 18” waistband.

A decade of lovin’

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Luke’s mom let us borrow her convertible VW bug for our weekend away.  Yesssss.
On May 8th Luke and I celebrated 10 years of marriage!  That seems to be simultaneously a ludicrously long amount of time and barely the blink of an eye.  Part of me wonders how the heck I became my mother who now measures time in 10 year increments instead of weeks or months and the other part of me can hardly remember back to when I was a clueless single person desperate for a date with a decent guy.  Wow, flashback!  Dating is brutal.
I talked Luke into going back to San Diego, where we were married, for a quick weekend away and it was THE best.  Remember back when you had no responsibilities and could just lounge around eating and sleeping in and frolicking time away??  Yeah, me neither…but it’s awesome!
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Here we are, our marriage just minutes old.  Man, we had no idea what was about to hit us.  But we’ve loved every bit of it!
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Of course we had to take some pictures in front of the same temple, 10 years later.  Not much the worse for wear, eh?  Luke’s missing some hair and my rear end ain’t as tight as it used to be, but all things considering, not bad at all.
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I sure do love the San Diego temple.  Don’t ask me why we got married here when both of our families live in Arizona.  It was just the first of many times when my sweet husband bowed to my unreasonable whim, with no questions asked.  I sure love him!  And his willingness to bow to my whims. 
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We rode bikes around Coronado island which is the cutest, most picturesque island I’ve ever been to.  And the houses are all gorgeous!
photo 1 (2)The Hotel Del, where Marilyn Monroe filmed “Some Like It Hot”.

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Spent some time on the perfect beach at the Hotel Del Coronado where we spent our wedding night.  Bless Luke’s heart, he even called to see if we could afford to stay there again on this trip (we couldn’t).  Ah well, maybe in another 10 years.
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Also, Extraordinary Desserts.  Um, yeeeeah. 
Sad story: I left the rest of that ganache covered cheesecake (the lightest, fluffiest cheesecake you’ve ever tasted!) in the hotel fridge and realized it as we pulled out of town.  We (er, Luke) decided not to go back for it and if I told you I don’t think about that cheesecake sitting abandoned in that mini bar on a regular basis, I’d be lying.
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I always told myself I wanted to fit back into my wedding dress on my 10 year anniversary and, SUCCESS!  Granted, there was a bit of sucking in involved and this was taken before the previously mentioned dessert episode, but I’m calling it a win.
In all seriousness, I consider myself one of the amazingly lucky ones who found an incredible guy who’s happy working all day to support his little big family.  After work he comes home to grubby fingers wanting piggy back rides and to dish duty and the bedtime routine, but he does it all with pleasure and a laugh.  I’m so grateful for him every. single. day. 

The spiritual side of birth

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Baby Finn, just minutes old.  Also, my cleavage. 

I’m super thrilled to share a book review as a part of the  Virtual Book Tour for The Gift of Giving Life!  I virtually befriended one of the authors a couple of years ago and I am so grateful to have found this incredible resource for mothers and mothers-to-be.  It’s written by women who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (some of us Mormons :), but any woman of faith will appreciate the revelations contained within.  I believe that this book’s potential to transform our ideas and conceptions about birth is unimaginable!
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First off, this book is HUGE, over 500 pages!  It’s organized by well-written and touching essays on an array of topics concerning birth and motherhood: from infertility to homebirth to the heartbreak of loss.  Besides these amazing essays, it’s chock full of birth stories that will leave you in awe and in tears (good ones!). If I had all the money in the world, I would buy a copy of this book for every mother and woman I know
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Here I am 41 weeks pregnant with Finn.  Did I mention he’s 11 MONTHS today? (wha??!)
It’s evident that the birthing community talks a lot about being physically and emotionally prepared for a baby.  Carrying and nurturing a baby inside of you and then delivering that baby takes a toll on every woman’s body and emotions.  But rarely do we hear that we ought to prepare spiritually or even that birth can be a spiritual event!  This is part of why I’m so passionate about women being informed before birth and taking back some control over their birthing environments.  We all recognize that witnessing someone pass from this life to the next can be profoundly moving and deeply spiritual.  I believe that welcoming a new life into the world should be just as meaningful, and much more joyful!
I couldn’t possible be able to choose my favorite chapter or story in this book but I can say that The Gift of Giving Life completely changed the way that I see and process everything about motherhood.  I know that the role of Mother is so important and so sacred, that every part of it has a spiritual aspect: making the decision to conceive, intimacy, pregnancy, labor and of course, the birth itself.  (There’s also plenty to read for adoptive mothers, grandmothers and others!)  As mothers, we are guardians of the gateway between heaven and earth.  We have been given both the power and the inclination to create life, with husbands and God as our partners.  We can come to know the special connection mothers have with Jesus Christ as we give a portion of our bodies and our blood to bring new life into this world. If we could communicate the importance and sanctity of these truths to the next generation, we could undoubtedly change the world.
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Thanks for reading my review and be sure to visit the Gift of Giving Life Virtual Book Tour page for a chance to win some great baby-related prizes!
Now go buy a couple copies of the book on amazon to give any new moms in your life.  It’s my favorite baby shower gift!

Pain

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Becoming a mother opens you up to so much joy…and pain.  You essentially become an extension of your children and often feel what they feel.
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Remember this (super serious) post?  A homeschooling friend gave an amazing presentation more on this topic during our discussion group and it included this poem that might help me have perspective during rough patches:
Pain stayed so long I said to him today,
“I will not have you with me any more.”
I stamped my foot and said, “Be on your way,”
And paused there, startled at he look he wore.
“I, who have been your friend,” he said to me,
“I, who have been your teacher–all you know
Of understanding love, of sympathy,
And patience, I have taught you. Shall I go?”
He spoke the truth, this strange unwelcome guest;
I watched him leave, and knew that he was wise.
He left a heart grown tender in my breast,
He left a far, clear vision in my eyes.
I dried my tears, and lifted up a song–
Even for one who’d tortured me so long.

As Quoted by Spencer W Kimball (Past president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

Tri, tri again

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I’ll admit, the run is my favorite part of a tri but when your legs are complete Jell-O and you feel like you’re going into cardiac arrest then a good playlist can do wonders.  Here I’m listening to Pharrell Williams’s “Happy”, which is why I’m smiling and not swearing.
I competed in my 4th triathlon about a week ago and it was a total party!  Evidently I’ve become one of those people of questionable mental stability who enjoys sweating and making a fool of myself in front of hundreds of people while wearing spandex.  I don’t know why it’s so addicting but, hot dang, I’m loving these!
image (4)My places and times for each portion of the race.
My swim and run times were surprisingly fast considering the amount of time I’d been training (i.e. not a lot).  The bike killed me (yet again) because I have a ghetto old road bike I bought at a garage sale.  But I got 5th place in my age division (30-40, I think) and 23rd overall (out of 150-something people).  It was a shorter sprint triathlon than usual:  300m swim, 8.4mi bike and 2 mi run and I liked that just fine!
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Me and my best triathlon buddy, Tammy.  Not only does she keep me accountable when training on the bike (not my favorite) but she’s hilarious and irreverent whenever we need some comic relief.
I’m considering doing a “triathlon for dummies” series chronicling some of my favorite tips as a beginner.  I was mostly afraid of what I didn’t know! 
So…stay tuned!

Ode to winter

The temperature reached 100 degrees this week, here in the Valley of the Sun and, well, that really sucks- pardon my french.  I can no longer even pretend that I’ll have additional chances to wear wonderful winter sweaters, button downs and boots.  Therefore, I present an Ode to Winter Fashion post, highlighting some of my favorite cool-weather looks.  If you’re lucky (?) enough to still be experiencing sub 70 degree temps then I hope you try to enjoy your remaining sweater weather.  If not, then I’ll commiserate with you.  I mean, let’s face it…swim suits are WAY less fun to wear than sweaters.  Um, in my current bodily state that is.  Time to tone up!
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leopard overload.  but can you really have too much??
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ah, yes.  the ol’ chambray top/colored jean combo.  Adieu, my beloved winter uniform!  until next fall…

Faith and fear, hope and doubt

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I’m kind of obsessed with color so this last Christmas I challenged myself to decorate with only white, silver and gold just to prove a point.  See!?  I did it!  I can make neutrals look pretty!  And it felt surprisingly good, especially considering I usually have all kind of wacky colors going on at Christmastime: I usually switch between hot pink/green and bold blue/purple color schemes :).
I was just looking at the quote in this frame (from the LDS general conference in October of last year) the other day and felt it resonate with me once again:
“Doubt your doubts, before you doubt your faith”
-Dieter F. Uchtdorf

In the last few weeks, so much sad, sad news has reached my ears: a local family lost a special needs child when he escaped from their yard and drowned in a nearby canal, my friend discovered serious abuse happening to her children right in her own home, and I learned of several other traumatizing stories that happened to parents and children of families I admire or follow online.
I bring this up because as a mom of little children I occasionally find myself contemplating the dangers and accidents and evils that could befall my family and honestly, the thoughts are paralyzing.  I almost can’t breathe when I think about all the things that could bring calamity to my sweet little innocent children.  I’m not a naturally anxious person at all, but I find myself having mini-panic attacks at the possibilities!  Is it even right to bring children into a world so full of hatred, prejudice, violence, accidents and danger??
I contest that YES.  Of course it’s right…and good and necessary and worth it all and here’s why…
Once or twice, after feeling these crippling bouts of fear for what the future holds for my kids (or me…the thought of losing my husband is equally unnerving!), I’ve felt a supernatural sense of calm.  I know it was God speaking right to my soul and saying that yes…bad crap happens (um, but not in so many words….I mean, I’m sure God would never use the word “crap”…this is just me paraphrasing).  Life is full of danger and sin and accidents and really, really awful stuff that even the best people in the world can’t avoid.  But you know, the bad stuff in life does not have to define you. 
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I usually avoid even thinking about the awful possibilities out there, but in these spiritual moments, I’m able to imagine them, in all their seriousness and possibilities, with very little fear.  YES, one of my children could fall seriously ill, one could die.  I could get cancer; Luke’s plane could crash.  Any one of us could suffer abuse or be abducted.  A child could drown.  A child could choke, I could have a severely handicapped baby that would never talk or walk or speak.  But once those thoughts passed through my head, it was made clear to me that I would move through.  Tragedy doesn’t have to be a brick wall which halts our progress forever.  It can sure feel like a brick wall; we can slam into it and get bruised and battered but if we look closely enough, that wall will have chinks in it.  Little holes and pieces of masonry sticking out just big enough for us to grab hold of, and, eventually, we can scale that big old scary wall of tragedy and come out on the next floor up!
During an amazing discussion about this recently, a friend described a family she knew who endured an unthinkable accident that left their son paralyzed and severely handicapped.  The mother of the family had (something like) this to say about it all, years later:
Not only CAN good come from bad, but it MUST.  That is part of the plan of Jesus Christ.  Sometimes the greater bad that occurs, the greater the good that will result from it.  Even when the bad things are your fault, there is always a way for good to triumph. 
I believe that God is the Father of our spirits, which makes him the literal Dad of billions of people.  The same people who lie and hurt each other, who steal and murder and commit hideous crimes.  Something tells me that because God loves more purely than any of us, He likely feels pain more acutely than us.  If He gave us the choice to make these mistakes, even when these mistakes will hurt His other children and hurt Him (probably most of all!), then what does that say about the importance of our freedom?  Surely the freedom to screw up must be one of the most important gifts in the whole world!  (Um…thanks??? 🙂  And then I realize:

Surely more good can come from our tragedies, our mistakes and our learning from them, than from never enduring hardships at all.
THAT is why we’re here. 

Wow.  What a thought.
Here and here are two of my favorite online examples of mothers enduring trials beautifully.  And I interact with more of them around me every single day…

Easy-peasy Egg Breakfast Cassrole

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I looooove breakfast.  It’s my very first chance to eat every day and I SO look forward to it!  In fact, I’d have to say that I’d rather eat out for breakfast than any other meal.  And as if deciding on a great morning meal isn’t hard enough, I’m equally in love with both savory and sweet breakfasts!

I came up with this easy meal after scouring the internet looking for the perfect Christmas morning brunch.  It’s great for holidays (or any other lazy morning) because it can be prepped the night before. (see note) 
It can also be made even healthier by adding more veggies: fresh spinach, leftover zucchini or asparagus, bell pepper, you name it!

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Egg and Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole

20 oz package of frozen hash browns (or made from scratch)
1/4 c olive oil
10 eggs
1/4 tsp parsley
1 tsp garlic salt
pepper to taste
1/2 tsp herbes de provence (can substitute oregano, or Italian herbs)
4-5 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
3/4 c cheddar cheese, grated
1/4 c provolone and muenster cheese, grated*
1/4 c milk (dairy or non)

*I used a random combination of these cheeses because I was using up leftovers and it was delicious!  Feel free to substitute any other flavorful cheeses of your liking.

Spread frozen hash browns in 13×9” pan and drizzle olive oil on top; mix until hash browns are coated.  Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, whisk eggs and spices together well.  Add bacon, tomatoes, cheese and milk and mix to combine.  Pour egg mixture on top of cooked hash browns and bake at 350 degrees for 25 min. 

Note: If making the night before, cook hash browns as directed.  Allow to cool slightly, then continue with recipe until egg mixture is poured on top of hash browns.  Cover with foil and refrigerate until needed.