Author Archives: Meli

Things I learned in April

Facemasks make me break out.

So I tried a couple of different kinds of face masks over the past month. They were all these random combinations of exotic ingredients meant to make my skin amazing.  I have to say that I don’t usually use things on my face.  I have good skin to start with.  I normally don’t get acne or any other kind of common skin issues.  So when it comes to my face, it’s just bar soap and water.  But I really wanted to try the face masks because they looked so cool.  (Yes, I feel for the marketing.)  So I bought them and tried them all out.  And what I learned was I should just leave well enough alone.

The first kind of mask I tried was clay. It was meant to get rid of impurities and make my face feel tighter and younger.  This one was OK.  It did what it said it would do but it didn’t have the all the pomp and circumstance of other masks.  It is was ingredients I could pronounce making my skin feel smooth, big whoop.

Then I tried a mud and algae mask. Again this one did exactly what it said it would do.  It cleansed, it tighten and it moisturized.  But like the clay mask, there really wasn’t any kind of pomp and circumstance to it.

The last mask I tried was the black charcoal mask. This was the dramatic one.  It was the one I had been waiting for.  You could feel it tightening.  After a while it was hard to talk and peeling it off resulted in all these little white things being pulled off your face.  It was satisfying actually seeing things being removed.  Since the other masks just washed off after you were done, you never really saw if they pulled gunk off of my face or not but this mask let you see the gunk it all its glory.  So I made it up in my mind, this mask was my favourite, simply because I could see what it was doing.

Until later in the week, that is. My face had started feeling funny.  It would burn when I applied lotion to it.  It was really sensitive.  And I started to notice blemishes on my skin.  I was getting blackheads and they were noticeable.  I was getting pimples.  Nothing major just little ones but I had never gotten pimples before.  It was weird. And it was all because of the face masks.  Using them deep cleaned my face, yes, but they also made my skin more susceptible to all the things I had been able to avoid for most of my life.  So now I need to figure out how to get my skin to being as resilient as it used to be.

Apple cider vinegar is not a cure all.

The next big thing for April was apple cider vinegar. A co-worker of mine swears it can help with anything going on in your life.  It’s what coconut oil was in 2016.  She swears it can help with hair loss/hair growth, weight loss and everything in-between.  So I started using it for Maks skin issues and as a hair rinse.

For Maks I made this wonderful little scrub and I have had him using it every couple of days. For my hair, I diluted the cider with some water and would use it to rinse my hair after shampooing but before conditioning once a week.

Maks used the scrub and I used the rinse for about a month and the verdict is, we are both smellier but his skin hasn’t changed and my hair is just about the same. I am sure apple cider vinegar works for some people and maybe we just aren’t giving it enough time to be effective but Maks skin condition is something we have been dealing with for a long time and it may take something stronger than apple cider vinegar to get it cleared up.  I am on the fence about whether or not I am going to keep using the apple cider vinegar in my hair.  I need some sort of reassurance the rinse is working for me to keep using it.  In my mind, if I haven’t seen any results four weeks in, it’s just not working.

*I got this cartoon from Adamtots over on Instagram. His watermark is on the cartoon if you want to check out his work.

**I didn’t try all these masks at the same time. Even though the post makes it sound that way.  I tried them over the course of the month.

Crazy cravings

I could always use a snack. I am not starving or anything but, I am always like “it would be nice if I could have a snack right now”.  There are very few occasions where I can say I am full and couldn’t eat another bite.  Those happen very rarely.

Right now, I have some crazy cravings going on for some weird stuff.

Smoked salmon – I really want some smoked salmon especially with avocado and eggs.  It’s crazy because I am not normally all about smoked salmon but lately I have been.

Ceviche – really good ceviche. I big bowl of it.  It would be awesome if I could have some ceviche now.  I would prefer a mix of seafood ceviche but I am willing to settle for shrimp ceviche.  Weird, right?

Dulce de leche – I just love the stuff. I am not particular about what the dulce de leche is on or in, I just want it to taste like dulce de leche.

My goal is to get some of the above in my belly.

Hello May!

May means I will be super busy.

It’s the start of warm weather.  (Or at least, it is supposed to be the start of warm weather.)

It’s a month of birthdays.  I have 6 birthdays to celebrate in May and there are only four weekends.  So It’s a lot of time management.

This is my confession

I raid my children’s Easter baskets after they go to bed but instead of eating all the candy, I bring it to work and add it to the communal candy bowl. I don’t think they need to eat all the chocolate and candy they got and I don’t know what else to do with it so it ends up in my office. My coworkers appreciate my thievery.

Concussed

Maks ran into a wall yesterday.

If you know Maks, this doesn’t surprise you too much. Ever since he was a baby, Maks has bumped into things, ran into things, fallen off of things and jumped off of things. He is the type of kid who runs at things head first as fast as he can and doesn’t concern himself with the consequences.

Now in his defense, his intention was not to actually run into a wall. He was playing a game, tried to slide away from the person chasing him, and he slid into the wall. The problem was he slid with such force there was an audible crack as his head smashed into the wall. It was such a loud crack, his teacher was concerned he might end up with a concussion. So I spent the night on concussion watch*.

Maks didn’t have any of the symptoms really. His head hurt and he had an impressive bump but none of the other signs. He was talking fine, he wasn’t sensitive to light and he wasn’t oddly fatigued. I still ended up waking him up at midnight though. I wanted to see if he would wake up and he did. He has a mild headache today and he was still sleeping when I left the house but nothing was out of the ordinary. Right now, I am going with no concussion, which is a good thing but I will keep an eye on him because sometimes being concussed** takes a while to show up.

Before I had kids, I never knew what the signs of a concussion were. Why would I need to know this? It never even crossed my mind to even look up what the signs to a concussion were. Now I am well practiced in concussion signs.

Le sighs.

I can’t wait for my kids to stop running their heads into things.

*If you don’t know what to look for in a concussion, here are the signs.

  • A mild to moderate headache
  • Drowsiness, dizziness, or loss of balance
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • A change in mood (restless, sad, or irritable)
  • Trouble thinking, remembering things, or concentrating
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Short-term loss of newly learned skills, such as toilet training
  • Changes in sleeping pattern or fatigue

**I really wanted to use concussed in a sentence.

10 Things That Make Me Happy

Because sometimes I need reminding.

  1. Books, books and more books. There is nothing quite like book therapy.
  2. My electric blanket. Love it!
  3. Delicious food. My cravings change daily but I am happy as long as I am eating something yummy.
  4. Beaches, the sea, saltwater. The manatee in me is most at home in the water.
  5. Peonies. Because they are pretty and smell nice.
  6. Sunshine and warm weather. Pretty self-explanatory, no?
  7. A good playlist. Music makes everything better.
  8. Being outdoors. Warm weather helps with this.
  9. Sleeping in. I don’t get to do this very often but when I do, it is just fantastic.
  10. Macros that run like they should.

Apple Cider Vinegar – Just Like Windex

I loved the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. Way back when, I thought it was hilariously funny. And now I swear I am working with one of the characters from the movie; the dad, only my coworker is female and younger. In the movie, the dad had this fixation on Windex. Whenever anything went wrong, he was certain Windex could fix it. And my coworker is the same way. Only her fixation is not Windex, it is on apple cider vinegar. I swear any time I mention an ailment or inconvenience, her solution is apple cider vinegar.

My conversations with her go something like this:

I have a headache – use apple cider vinegar

I have a clogged shower head – use apple cider vinegar

I haven’t been sleeping well – use apple cider vinegar

I have baked on grease on my cookie sheets – use apple cider vinegar

I have killer crampsuse apple cider vinegar

I have thinning hair – use apple cider vinegar

I forgot to put on deodorant – use apple cider vinegar

I need to lose some weight – use apple cider vinegar

When it comes to her, every problem has one simple solution; apple cider vinegar. No matter what the topic of discussion is, I know what the response will be and even though it is funny, I never really took her seriously. I am sure apple cider vinegar is good for some things, I don’t believe it is the cure all she claims it to be.

Until now.

I went to get some of the lotions the dermatologist recommended for Maks’ Keratosis Pilaris and ended up speaking with the pharmacist about some natural options to treating Maks’ skin. She even suggested apple cider vinegar scrub in lieu of the lotion I went in to get. According to her, she has seen better results in children when an apple cider vinegar scrub is used instead of the Salic acid solution.

So I am jumping on the apple cider vinegar bandwagon. (My coworker would be proud) I have put together a brown sugar apple cider vinegar scrub for Maks to try out. The hardest part of the scrub was finding the organic apple cider vinegar with “mother”*. I use apple cider vinegar when I make pasta salad but apparently, I couldn’t use the same kind of vinegar for the scrub because it is not organic. Organic apple cider vinegar with mother wasn’t something I could find at my local Walmart. After some searching, I ended up finding the vinegar at a local bulk food / health food store.

Then came scrub assembly. It is a super easy recipe; equal parts brown sugar, apple cider vinegar and coconut oil. Voila! You have a scrub to combat Keratosis Pilaris. I was super excited to try it out and so was Maks until he got into the same room as the concoction and smelt it. The scrub smells horrible. According to Millhouse the vinegar smells like fart, Maks says it smells like feet and Mats says it smells like farty feet. It really is an awful smell and Maks was put off when I told him it would have to be rubbed onto his skin. He was a trooper about it. He plugged his nose and used it last night. So far, nothing has changed with his skin and I really didn’t expect it to after the first application. We are going to try it out every other day for the next couple of weeks and see what happens. If there is no change then I will head back to the pharmacy and just pick up the topical ointment I went there to get in the first place.

*mother is the important part of the vinegar. It is a specific molecule chain that makes the vinegar cloudy and effective.

Keratosis Pilaris

Ever since he was born, Maks has had these little bumps all over his arms, torso and parts of his legs. In the summer, the bumps even spread to his cheeks and forehead. They don’t change shape, itch or ooze anything. They just seem to exist as part of his skin.

As an overanxious first time mother, I took him to the doctor and was told the bumps were perfectly normal and they would eventually go away on their own, I was not to worry. But after about a year the bumps were still there so it was back to the doctor we went. The second visit to the doctor was during the height of summer, the bumps were clearly visible on his flushed face, so much so they made the doctor take notice. This visit proved more productive than the first and it resulted in Maks being diagnosed as allergic to sun screen. We were told to use sunscreen sparingly on his body and not at all on his face.

OK, that’s a start. But not using sunscreen didn’t prevent the bumps. In fact, even when no sunscreen was used, Maks still had the bumps and he was starting to get self-conscious about them. The other kids were starting to notice them and the obnoxious ones started to make fun of him and his bumps. So it was back to the doctor we went and went and went over several years. Each visit resulted in being told that what Maks had was normal and he would eventually outgrow it. I was never actually told what the bumps were or if there was anything, I could do to them. After many visits, I convinced the doctor to refer Maks to a dermatologist, at least that way we could get a second opinion and some sort of formal diagnosis as to what the bumps were.

We waited close to six months before Maks could get in to see the dermatologist. The dermatologist ended up telling us more than our family doctor did though. Maks has Keratosis Pilaris; a common skin condition. The bumps are supposed to start in your teens and eventually disappear by the time you are 30. Maks is one of the few kids who got it before he hit puberty. While there is no cure for Keratosis Pilaris, there are loads of treatments. Most of them are topical solutions made up of Salic acid you apply right to the bumps. These solutions help to get rid of the bumps, and in some cases, the bumps disappear altogether. All of the ointments were available over the counter. None of them required a prescription. And the best part? The ointments could be used on kids as young as two. So Maks would totally be able to try some of the treatments and hopefully find one that worked for him. With summer coming up this is great news.

Yay for progress!

Say No To Flash Cards

At the meeting with Mats teachers, they suggested some ways to incorporate word games into Mats daily life. It is to help him recognize letters and numbers and encourage him to write them in the right order and direction. They didn’t recommend flash cards because they didn’t feel Mats would respond well to having letters flashed in front of his face. Mats teachers wanted me to get creative when it came to word games because Mats tends to get bored so easily and trying to cram in a list of words into a short period just won’t work.

They gave me a lot of suggestions and I picked a few to start out with. We started playing the games almost right away and I have found that both boys have benefitted. I can adapt either game into French and English and for Maks, I have even started incorporating math into the games.

Here are two of their favourites. These work really well for either English or French, not so much for math.

Memory:

This one seems obvious but it never occurred to me to give it a try until Mats teachers suggested it. To make the game I repurposed some old business cards. I flipped the cards over to the blank side and wrote out one word on the back of each card. Then I wrote out the entire list again on another set of business cards so there were two pairs of each word. When we play, I pick out 4 to 10 pairs of words and mix them all up. Then I lay the cards, word side down, on a table and the search for matches begins. All the participants have the say the word they flip over and when they make a match. If Mats doesn’t recognize the word, then we spend some extra time sounding out the letters but otherwise the game moves along quickly. Both boys are competitive and they each want to find the most matches so it is in Mats best interest to learn the words as fast as he can so he can beat his brother.

Lego Blocks:

This one requires a large amount of Legos, which I have stored in what feels like a bazillion boxes all over my house. The Lego blocks take a while to set up but once it is all put together, Mats can spend some quiet time putting them together. You use one long piece of Lego for the entire word then Mats has to put the word together using smaller pieces of Lego. It’s a Lego word puzzle. It helps Mats learn to sound out letters and put words together but he can also work on family words. This game best suits his personality, he gets to put things together and he gets some quiet time. Both of those things are important to him.

So far, I see the games helping Mats. He is getting better, the backwards letters and numbers are still there but they are getting to be less frequent. I am hoping this gives him a more exciting perspective on reading and writing.