Overstuffed Overstuffed

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Tulle Halloween Wreath—Candy Corn Style!

There are a few things you should know about me: I love Halloween, I love candy corn, and I love tulle wreaths. I know that loving tulle wreaths might seem like a weird thing, but even I didn't know how much I loved them until I made my first Halloween tulle wreath a few years ago. I haven't been able to stop since then and now have a lovely collection of Halloween wreaths.

Something about the tulle/tutu style of wreath really lends itself well to Halloween. It can look both spooky or whimsical and the best part is that they are super easy to make! I decided this year I wanted to pay homage to my love of candy corn and make a wreath in candy corn colors, and it turned out so cute!

Make this delightful candy corn tulle Halloween wreath this year. It's simple to make and you'll have the most adorable decorations on the block!

Materials needed:

(affiliate links)
orange glitter tulle
yellow/gold glitter tulle
white tulle 
wreath form
stiffened white felt
orange felt
yellow felt
orange polka dot wired ribbon


Cut tulle into strips

Measure from the inside of the wreath form to about where you want the tulle to end when the wreath is made. For this wreath, that was approximately 9 inches. Then cut a piece of cardboard double that size—I used an 18" piece of cardboard for this project.

Wrap the tulle around the cardboard, and then cut both ends of the loop. This is the absolute easiest way to get uniform strips quickly. You can measure and cut them one by one, but that will add hours to your project.

I don't cut all of the tulle all at once because I don't want to have too many extra strips cut that I won't use.

Decide on your pattern

I actually had a different pattern in my head that used a lot more orange tulle. I was trying to more closely mimic an actual piece of candy corn, which is mostly orange. But once I had about a fourth of the wreath tied that way, I realized I hated it because it needed more white. So, I took it apart and made a new pattern. The pattern I ended up using was 2 orange, 2 white, 2 yellow, 2 white, etc.

Tie the tulle onto the wreath form

I prefer tying double knots rather than looping the tulle onto the form. Not only is it more secure that way, it uses less tulle. I also really like the way the knots look.

Cute candy corn wreath for Halloween. So simple to make that your kids can help, too!

Make a candy corn & bow decoration to finish it off

Use stiff white felt as the base for your candy corn decoration

I used a piece of stiffened white felt and just sketched a candy corn shape onto it. I cut that out and then used it to trace the orange and yellow pieces. I used a hot glue gun to glue the orange and yellow to the white felt and voila! A cute little candy corn for my wreath that was also pretty sturdy due to the stiff felt.

Add orange and yellow felt cut outs to the stiff white felt to make a cute candy corn decoration

I just used the orange polka dot ribbon to make my own bow, but you can also purchase a premade bow if that is easier. Once the bow was finished, I glued it all on to the wreath and hung it on the door.

Finish off your Halloween tulle wreath with a felt candy corn decoration and an orange polka dotted bow

I love it.

Because tulle Halloween wreaths are my favorite.

See my other Halloween tulle wreaths!

The original tulle Halloween wreath
Black tulle Halloween wreath
Whimsical Witch Halloween wreath

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Why I Quit My Job to Stay Home With My Teenagers

To work or stay home? Many moms grapple a bit with the decision to either stay home or go back to work after having a baby, but I didn't. I knew from the get go that I would be staying at home when I had my first. It wasn't until I had my third daughter 6 years later that I had to finally face the idea of going back to work. Sophia was only about a month old when I started teaching voice lessons at the local university for just a few hours a week.

By the time Sophia was in Kindergarten, I had expanded my teaching to around 20 hours a week. I've made every effort to design my schedule so that I was home from work before the school bus dropped the girls off. We really did have a pretty good system going on. But then my second daughter became a teenager and I started realizing that it wasn't as easy being a working mom with older kids as I thought it would be.

The decision between working and staying home with kids is never an easy one, but the questions are different when you are thinking of staying home with teenagers instead of toddlers.

It surprised me a bit that I felt I needed to look at this question again. Who quits their job to stay at home with their teenagers, anyway? In fact, many moms choose this time to finally go back to work simply because their children are more self-sufficient, child care costs are no longer a factor, and the extra money is probably needed more than ever with all the expenses that come with teen kids.

But more and more last year I was feeling that I needed to quit. I was completely stressed out by working and trying to also parent and keep my house clean, no matter how helpful my husband was. I found that I was giving my best energy to my students and often had no more to give when I got home in the afternoons. My children were getting a tired, grumpy, overwhelmed mom right when they need love and patience and guidance.

I couldn't do it anymore, so I decided to quit.

Now that my kids have been in school for nearly a month and I haven't been working, it's clarified my decision even further. Nearly every day I get little confirmations that help me to see exactly why this was a necessary move for me and my children.

Here are some of my recent realizations:

1. My teenagers are under a great deal of stress

I read a statistic a while ago that said the average high school student today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950's.  Another study shows that teen stress is actually higher than adult stress. This blew me away, and I started paying more attention to the stress and anxiety levels of my teenage daughters. I learned quite a bit by really watching them and thinking about all the things they are asked to do on a daily basis. 7 hours of school, several more hours of homework and studying, extra-curricular activities, household chores, a mom nagging them to do all of the above, and maintaining a social life on top of everything else.

Being a teenager is not easy.

A sign at a boy's school telling parents they were not allowed to bring forgotten items to their children recently went viral online. The premise was that if parents do this for their kids, they will never learn how to problem solve. While I do agree that we can't hold the hands of our kids and make everything easy for them, I have come to believe that helping them is necessary. It's about balance.

My daughter Bria called me last year to beg me to bring her cross-country shoes to the school. The bus was about to leave to a meet that was two hours away and she was completely beside herself that her shoes weren't in her bag. I actually had to leave work, run home to get her spikes, and then rush to the school where I barely caught her before the bus left. I was late to teach my next lesson, but I did not want my daughter to fail in that way. Not when I knew she was up until late studying for a test and that she had never forgotten her cross country spikes before. Not when I knew the tremendous pressure she was under to do all that was asked of her. I could help to alleviate some of the major stress and anxiety she was experiencing by simply helping her out.

(And while it's not what this post is really about, the fact that she called me for help WAS solving the problem.)

Now that I am not working, I will be available for these types of emergencies whenever I am needed, and that makes me happy. And it isn't just about taking them their forgotten items—it's about being more emotionally available to help them deal with their stress, it's about having more time to do housework so that I am not putting too large a burden on them, it's about being home with them when they are sick, it's about helping them manage their priorities.

2. My relationship with my teenagers has improved

I don't think I ever really had a terrible relationship with my girls, but when I was working I did not have the energy for a relationship with them. Plus, my tween is incredibly strong-willed, and I had a much shorter temper with her after a long day of work than I do now.

Now I can be the calm one while my daughters are having their emotional breakdowns (which come often for teenage girls, I assure you). I can be more aware when they are having friendship troubles like Chloe did her first year in middle school.

Even though I made every effort to be home when my children were home, now I actually feel present. It's amazing the difference it's made already. Do they still roll their eyes at me? Daily. Do they ever refuse to answer my questions with more than one word? Often! But they also open up more and they want to be around me.

3. I am a better example to my children

While I know there are working moms out there who somehow are able to do it all, I was not one of them—and I didn't even work full time! I feel that now I am a better role model to them in many ways. I am less stressed, I keep the house cleaner, I can help them with their homework, my temper doesn't flare as often. You get the idea.

And because I am doing better at those things, they are too.

4. Our lives are much calmer

Part of it is the later schedule of the new schools we are attending this semester, but I'm enjoying the calmer mornings of not working. Instead of trying to get ready for work myself, I am able to be available to the kids. I am more available to help with homework checks, feed them breakfast, help them study for quizzes and tests, etc.

After school, when the girls are at their busiest, I am feeling more rested and calm and taking them to their activities all over town doesn't feel nearly as frenetic as it did when I was working. If we don't have somewhere to be, I have more energy to help them with homework and practicing at home.

5. My teenagers need me now more than they did when they were smaller

When I was in the throes of raising babies and toddlers, I'm not sure I would have ever believed that they could possibly need me more as teens than they did when they were little. But the truth is, they do. Teenagers are straddling a difficult time of life—they are really still kids, but they are given so much responsibility and are thrust into many adult situations. They need guidance and communication. They need to know that their mother is available for them at any moment to help them work through all the big things.

I only have two more school years with my eldest before she is off to college and away from my daily influence. She's already a month into one of those years, and the time moves so quickly! I want to be certain that I am giving her my best during these critical years. I want to know that I gave everything I could in helping her to be prepared for adulthood.

It all really comes down to the fact that I am spending all of my energy on my children, my family, and my home. When I was working, a huge part of that energy was spent on my job and I had little left. It's amazing how much that shift in focus has improved my life and my relationship with my girls. 

My energy is now focused exactly where it should be during this time of life—on my children.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

9 Ways to Help Your Child Adjust to a New School

There are few things kids anticipate more than starting school each fall, but it can be stressful for students who are beginning at a brand new school. As parents, we naturally want to make the whole process easier on our kids, and it can be pretty frustrating for us, too! The good news is that whether the switch is due to a move to a new city or simply a transition from elementary to middle or high school, there are several things parents can do to help our children adjust to their new schools.

Moving to a new school is hard! Help your children get adjusted to a new school by using these 9 tips.

This fall semester, my husband took a sabbatical leave from the university where he teaches in Michigan and moved us all the way across the country to Utah. The girls have been in school for almost three weeks now, and it has not been easy for them, though they have been extremely courageous in this situation. I don't know if the fact that we are not here permanently has made it easier or harder, but it is what it is and I have learned quite a bit as a parent as we've navigated the last month.

Here are 9 tips that I've come up with that have helped us and continue to help us during this transition time.

1. Listen and Communicate

If your kids are anything like mine are, they will put on a brave face and not say too much about how they are struggling. Then it will suddenly bubble to the surface and they will break down—this happened with each of my girls during the first week of school. When they do have that breakdown, just listen. Hear them out and don't try to fix it all right now. Besides, they don't even want you to fix it, they just want you to understand how they feel. It's easier for them to stay courageous when they feel understood.

Each child handles things a bit differently, too. Talking to your kids will help you really have a grip on how they are handling their school day. Knowing their temperament and how they usually handle hard things will help you to understand them even better. Mostly just listen.

2. Keep Family Tradition Alive

My girls love our family traditions. I think that one of the reasons is because they know what to expect and have something to look forward to at specific times each year. If you have back-to-school traditions, make sure you keep them alive during these difficult transitions.

Our favorite back-to-school tradition is having a feast the night before and introducing a new family theme.

If you don't already have back-to-school traditions, this would be an excellent time to start one! Our feast was started for just that reason—we had just moved to Michigan and I wanted to help my girls get really excited about starting at a new school in a new place. It's definitely become one of our favorite traditions of the year!

See this year's back-to-school feast and family theme here: 2016-17 Feast and Theme

See all of our past feasts here: Back-to-School Feasts and Family Themes

3. Get Familiar With the School Early

We had some good opportunities to go to all three schools (I have a junior, an 8th grader, and a 5th grader) before school started during the process of getting the girls registered. It was especially nice because I took each child to her new school separately, and we took a lot of time finding their classes, opening their lockers, checking out the school facilities, and more. I wanted them to feel as familiar as possible with the school before the first day.

I actually spent about 2 hours in the high school with Bria and 3 hours in the junior high with Chloe. I was amazed at how much time they wanted to spend with the process, but I didn't mind at all. This was about making things easier for them (even though my feet hurt by the time we were done!).

4. Encourage Involvement

Get your kids signed up for all the things they loved doing at their old school, and don't take no for an answer. The best way to meet new people and make friends is through sports and extracurricular activities.

While I sometimes wish that I didn't sign them up for everything—we are already in the thick of soccer and music lessons and dance—I'm glad I did. It really is making the adjustment easier for them. Chloe is thankful for her soccer team friends in the halls of the junior high and Bria feels more comfortable talking to orchestra people, so she's glad she has orchestra to do that!

Communicate with them and be sure you're not pushing them into more than they can handle, but don't let them get away with not doing anything. Bria usually runs cross country in Michigan, but was really adamant about not doing it here. We decided not to push it—mostly because the team had been practicing for a month already when we arrived in town and she wasn't comfortable joining late. Instead, she's doing orchestra, and that's just fine.

There's nothing like a new school and a new place to try something brand new. If there's something that's offered at the new school or in your new area that your child has always wanted to try, encourage them to try it!

Chloe was excited to see that ballroom dance is on the curriculum at her new junior high school and she is absolutely loving it. It's fun for me to see what a great time she's having and I'm thankful that she took the opportunity while she has it.

5. Make Family a Priority

My mom always used to tell us that "friends come and go, but family is forever" and now I say it to my own children. Never is this more true than when you suddenly find yourself in a new place where you know nobody but your family. Make sure that in the craziness of moving that you take time to not only keep up with your family traditions, but that you are really spending quality time together.

Home is going to be a refuge for your children more than ever as they are adjusting to a new place, so make it a refuge. Their siblings are going to be their best friends and confidantes during this time, which is actually a wonderful thing! Sometimes friends get in the way of that, so this is a great time to really let your children rely on you and on each other.

6. Establish a Routine

It really doesn't matter if you're in a new school or not, routine matters! But I think it's especially important when the upheaval of being in an unfamiliar environment happens.

Make sure you're clear with your children about what is expected of them this school year: what time they are to wake up, what their chore responsibilities are, when they should do homework, etc. And then make sure you follow through. Children and teens need that structure—it actually helps them to feel more comfortable because they know what to expect.

I am not as good with this one as I know I should be, but I am working on it.

7. Keep up With Old Friends While Making New Ones

In this day and age, just because you move away doesn't mean you should have to lose contact with your old friends. Encourage your kids to keep up with them so they don't feel like they suddenly have no friends (except their family, of course!).  My teenagers have enjoyed texting their friends and Sophia has been FaceTiming her friends fairly regularly—technology is awesome!

While they definitely should stay in touch with their old friends, keep encouraging them to make new ones in their new place.

8. Stay Positive

The first week of school was just plain hard for my girls. There were lots of tears and a few emotional outbursts. While it broke my heart, I knew that I couldn't get bogged down it. I have to stay positive for them. I pray for them and with them, we talk about how to make friends, I remind them of all the positive things about their schools and the new city we live in.

I still listen and seek to understand their feelings (see #1), but I do my darnedest to help them also see the good in the situation. To make lemonade out of lemons, if you will.

9. Be Patient

Finally, be patient. It gets better, it really does, but before it gets better it will be hard. Your child will probably be more moody or snappy than usual. It may take several weeks or even a few months, I don't know yet, but right now my kids are still having a bit of a difficult time with the transition. Sophia came home today and told me that she is bonding with friends at school finally, but my teenagers aren't feeling it quite yet.

But I'm being patient. I know it will happen!

Even as you do all of these things, keep watching your kids closely to be sure their adjustment is going well. If you notice behavior that concerns you, you may want to talk to their teachers and possibly even your family doctor about the stress and/or depression they are feeling.

P.S. This post was a good way for me to sneak in the girls' first day of school photos! I hope you enjoyed seeing them—Bria is a junior, Chloe is in 8th grade, and Sophia is in 5th grade.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

September 2016 Visiting Teaching Printable

September's visiting teaching message (Parenthood is a Sacred Duty) couldn't have come at a more opportune time for me. We have been on sabbatical for a month now, and my sacred duties to my children as their mother are front and center as I help them navigate living in a new place. Not only did Heavenly Father place us in family units so we could be taught correct principles, he did it so that we would have a loving atmosphere to come home to after being out in the world.

It is our sacred duty as parents to create that loving atmosphere in our homes. That's why President Monson's quote was my favorite from this lesson.

Download and print this handout for your sisters this month—September 2016 Visiting Teaching: Parenthood is a Sacred Duty

“Give your child a compliment and a hug; say, ‘I love you’ more; always express your thanks. Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.”

I'm afraid I sometimes let the daily problems overtake my children in importance—or at least I act like they are more important. I'm ready to stop doing that and to really listen to and love my children, despite all of the headaches and worry that life brings us.

It's a perfect extension of August's message—"The home is to be God's laboratory of love and service."

To download:

Enter your email address in the form below to download the visiting teaching handout. Click here to see the form if you are on a mobile device.

The printable will be sent directly to your email inbox, where you can either print it out at home or send it to a photo service for printing.

I print all of my visiting teaching printables at 5x7—they look wonderful in a frame! (I like simple black frames like this one: Black 5x7 picture frame)


September 2016 Visiting Teaching handout. Download and print this Thomas S. Monson quote for your sisters.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Book Review: Dear Jane by Rachel Ward

Sometimes I'm in the mood for a really deep read that makes me think, but sometimes I'm just in the mood for an enjoyable and fun story. I recently read Dear Jane by Rachel Ward, a new LDS romance, and amazingly enough, it fit both bills for me!

Looking for a clean romance to read? Dear Jane by Rachel Ward is just the book you're looking for.

Dear Jane begins while Quinn is serving her mission and receives a "dear Jane" letter from the boy at home who is supposed to be waiting for her. As devastating as that was for her, she had always dreamed of being a missionary and she resolved to complete her mission with a renewed tenacity and focus. She refused to let that letter ruin her mission.

When she arrives back home she is met with several situations that try her faith in different ways—that's the part that really made me think. There is a lot of depth to Quinn's character and the lessons she learns as she faces her various trials. Perhaps the most difficult thing for her to learn was that bad things can happen to good people—even to return missionaries who are trying their best to do what's right. The meat of the book really lies in the way she works through her problems.

Even though it is a book with a surprising amount of depth, it is still a fun and enjoyable read. So enjoyable, in fact, that I stayed up rather late one night reading it start to finish it ON MY PHONE. I absolutely hate reading on my phone, but my Kindle died, so I was stuck. The characters and the romance and the unexpected twists and turns all made it so I simply couldn't put it down even though I can't stand reading on my phone longer than 30 minutes or so!

Simply put, I greatly enjoyed this book, and if you're looking for a clean, fun romance that also gives you some food for thought you should definitely pick it up.

Purchase the book (affiliate link): Dear Jane on Amazon
Rachel Ward's Facebook Page: Rachel Sue Ward, Author
Rachel Ward's Blog: Trapped Between a Scream and a Hug

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

2016-17 Back-to-School Feast and Family Theme

My girls went back to school yesterday.

My husband is taking a sabbatical this semester, so we are in Utah living with my parents in my childhood home. School starts a couple weeks earlier here, so that's been a bummer for them, but I think it is so cool that each of them are attending the same schools I attended!

Because we aren't home in Michigan where school always starts the day after Labor Day, my preparation for our traditional back-to-school feast came upon me quite suddenly! Still, The Maestro and I managed to come up with something that we feel really, really good about and that the entire family needs to work on right now—not just the children.

Our back to school feast for the year focuses on finishing with an Olympic flair.

This feast is one of the traditions we really look forward to each year as school starts. It's a way for us to really start the school year on the right foot and make a few goals for ourselves that will help us all be better at whatever we are doing. Better students, better parents, better musicians, better readers, better friends, etc.

During our feast of excellent food made by The Maestro, we talk about the theme we have chosen for the year. I am often surprised that the introduction of the theme is usually the girls' favorite part. They always have such wonderful insights and they are quick to see how it applies to them and how they can improve.

Download this printable of 2 Timothy 4:7 and remember to always finish.

This year our family theme is simply Finish. We also included the scripture in 2 Timothy 4:7:

"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith."

Two things influenced this theme for me.

1. I went to a BYU Education Week Class last week about organization. The teacher stressed finishing as being essential to stay organized and save time. She also taught us that finishing is often not what we think it is. We are not finished eating when we have finished the food on our plate. We are finished eating when we have cleaned up the kitchen and brought it back to a state of order. The messes and disorganization in our lives are often caused by not finishing the last few steps of a task and bringing things back to a state of order.

2.  The Olympics (obviously). We have loved watching The Olympics each night as a family, and it is so inspiring to see such dedication and hard work. These athletes always finish—sometimes finishing looks like crossing a literal finish line or finishing their routine, but they started long before that one race or that one balance beam routine. They finish on a daily basis, and that's what makes them great.

We are not very good finishers at our house, I fully admit. I am an excellent starter, but finishing can be overwhelming for me. I notice my kids are the same. They start things, they do what they are asked, but they often forget those last few steps that mean the task is complete.

For the feast, I tried to make it as "Olympic" as possible. I used a black tablecloth and napkins in the Olympic colors. I made a torch out of a water bottle, tin foil, and some tissue paper (you'll have to look closely to see it, I didn't think to take a good photo of it), and the theme printable I made includes the Olympic rings and a small nod to a gold medal.

Instead of the crowns I usually give the girls at the feast, I decided gold medals would be much more apropos. They were super simple to make, too! I just used small yellow paper plates, added their names and grades in glitter glue, and hot glued some grosgrain ribbon to the back so they could wear them around their necks.

I was worried they would miss the crowns too much, but they really enjoyed the medals. They did point out to me that the grades looked like they had come in 5th, 8th, and 11th place in their events—didn't think of that!

You can tell we've been watching a lot of Olympics at our house...

Bria and her Michael Phelps face.

Chloe thrilled to win gold.

Sophia biting the medal.

But for real, my girls were all super excited (and very nervous) to get going at school this year.

Bria is a freaking junior in high school. While I hate how grown up she is getting, I also love it. She's growing into a beautiful, thoughtful, talented, and poised young lady. She handled her first day in a new high school with grace—even though it literally has a thousand more kids in it than her high school back home.

Chloe is in 8th grade, also getting a little too grown up for me to handle. She is such a great girl. Fun, sweet, friendly, and hard-working. She also handled her first day at a new school well, though there were a few tears when she got home because she got signed up for the wrong band class and had to switch around her entire schedule and she'd already become attached to a couple teachers.

Sophia is in 5th grade—her last year of elementary school. She is fearless, outgoing, hilarious, and thoughtful. She loved her first day of school and already has two best friends, the best teacher in the school (according to her!), and is excited for this semester. She doesn't like that she is a "later gator" (her school has both an early and a late schedule), so I'm going to have to find something for her to do in the mornings that isn't sitting around watching TV or playing on the computer.

After school yesterday I probably asked the girls if they were finished with things about 50 times. "Are you finished?" is definitely going to be the new catch phrase around our house—and the girls are already becoming more aware of what finishing really means, whether it's breakfast, homework, practice, or something else.

We are so excited to finish out a great school year!

If you would like to download your own copy of our family theme, please enter your email in the form below. If you are on a mobile device, click here to see the form.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

6 Ways to Help Kids Beat Seasonal Allergies

Children's FLONASE® Allergy Relief compensated me in connection with statements made in this post.

Sophia had to miss her first two field days at the elementary school due to her severe seasonal allergies. It was the saddest thing ever. Field Day is the most anticipated day for a first-grader, especially when you are as active as Sophia. I hated seeing her so upset, but we just weren't finding anything to make it easier for her to be outside without also feeling miserable. 

Thankfully, she's managed to attend her last couple of field days, but only because we took steps to help alleviate her allergies. Because, like clockwork, the allergies show up right around the same time field day is scheduled. While I can't change the pollen counts (oh how I wish I could!), I can still do something about Sophia's indoor environment and her overall experience with allergies. I was actually really surprised about how much doing these things actually helps!

Allergy season tips for kids

Wash clothing immediately

I thought it seemed silly at first, but it is so important to make your allergic child strip down after being outside. I have Sophia put on clean clothes and put the ones she had on while playing outside immediately into the wash. It's amazing how much pollen they can pick up just walking home from the bus stop or playing in the yard for a while, and the less they are exposed to it the more comfortable they will be allergy-wise. (source)

Shower often

I know, I know. Sometimes getting a 9-year-old kid to shower once a week can be torturous! But during allergy season, showering daily (preferably as soon as they come in from outside) is a necessity. The pollen sticks in their hair and on their skin. Help them to learn how to thoroughly wash themselves. (source)

If Sophia isn't careful—like the time she decided to play with the pretty weeds she is allergic to last year—the allergens can affect her nose and eyes. I didn't know she had actually been making weed bouquets until it was too late. If I had her shower immediately, there is a chance that she would not have had an allergic reaction.

Wash bedding often

I'm going to sound like a broken record now, but wash that bedding. It will pick up allergens that will exacerbate symptoms, even if it doesn't necessarily pick up pollen. However, if you happen to have windows open (try not to!), pollen will find its way into your home and onto the bedding. I have a couple sets of bedding to make this chore easier for me during allergy season, and I rotate it every few days. (source)

Leave shoes off inside the house

Not only do shoes track in dirt and mud, they will track in pollens and other outdoor allergens. Leave them at the door. That means everyone in the house, not just the allergic child.

Vacuum daily

I don't love vacuuming, but it's essential when you have allergy sufferers in the house. Even more essential is that your vacuum has a good HEPA filter so that all pollens and other allergens are effectively trapped. Dusting often is also really important for the same reasons.

Talk to your doctor about medications

Obviously, it's important to speak with a medical professional when your child is suffering from allergies to the point of not being able to even participate in fun activities like field day! We tried a lot of things, but my doctor finally had us use Children's FLONASE® Allergy relief for kids ages 4+ nasal spray. It works to block 6 allergic substances, instead of just one.*

*Mechanism vs. most OTC allergy pills. Flonase acts on multiple inflammatory substances (histamine, prostaglandins, cytokines, tryptases, chemokines and leukotrienes). The exact number and precise mechanism are unknown.

Sophia used Children's FLONASE® Allergy Relief during the spring allergy season and it helped her to be greater than her allergies and be able to spend more time outdoors. I have been impressed with how much it helps her. It helps with both her nasal congestion and itchy eyes. It's the only OTC nasal spray indicated to relieve both nasal congestion and itchy water eyes.

Field day is now an option!

If you have a child who also suffers from seasonal allergies, go to the FLONASE® website and check it out. You can easily earn points whenever you purchase FLONASE®, watch videos and read articles, complete surveys, complete your member profile, and share content with friends. Be greater than your allergies, while earning Greater Rewards! Join today and you’ll immediately earn points and save up to $4 with a FLONASE® coupon.

Join Sophia outdoors this allergy season!

Now for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card, tell me in the comments below how do you keep allergies away?

Monday, August 01, 2016

August 2016 Visiting Teaching Printable

I've been thinking a lot about love lately, so this month's visiting teaching message on Nurturing Families was perfect for me. The idea that the Lamanites were more righteous than the Nephites simply because they loved their families really hit me hard. (Jacob 3:7)

Sometimes it's hard to love our families—and sometimes it's just hard to show the love that we feel. I see that reality in action on a daily basis as I watch my children interact with one another.

August 2016 Visiting Teaching handout printable. "The Home is to be a laboratory of love and service." Elder Russell M. Nelson

I think that part of the reason we are put into family units on this earth is solely to learn to love one another. That's why I loved Elder Nelson's quote:

"The home is to be God's laboratory of love and service."

Isn't that a wonderful way to think of our homes? A laboratory of love and service. I will continue to experiment and learn how to love and show love with those I truly do love most. What a beautiful gift.

To download:

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I print all of my visiting teaching printables at 5x7.

August 2016 Visiting Teaching handout. Print out Russell M. Nelson quote "The home is to be God's laboratory of love and service."