Category Archives: Advice from the Trenches

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Sick is in the Air

Tis the season of the cold and flu *cough* *sniff*

This year the sick bugs seem to be rampant! Maybe it’s just us, but having a Kindergartener, we all seem to catch whatever there is to catch…often.

There are so many methods of treating said germs. We usually stick to the basic rest and plenty of fluids and hot drinks/soups method. Along with the tried and true “cover your mouth if you sneeze or cough!” method.

Whenever there is a virus or cold in the house, my job seems to be to make the food and clean sanitize the entire area. Constantly.

What has worked for us (as far as containing the germs to just one person, or two) is a type of quarantine for the sicky. That person rests in their own bed and everything they come in contact with gets washed down.

A family of four can easily get stuck in the house for a month if a person a week gets sick. UGH.

Desperate times, people.

What do you do for colds and flus? What works for your family?


~Michelle is a mom of 2 who loves to sew, create, thrift~ and to be a Mom. You can read more about Michelle at her blog Falafel and The Bee (formally Noggin’ Toppers), where she has been blogging and creating since 2008.


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Traveling Local

I am a Mom of two girls living in Hansville, WA.


Hansville. On the Kitsap Penninsula. In Kitsap county. If you are not familiar, it is  a beautiful place to live with lovely beaches and mountain views.

Also, We. Are. Far. from EVERYTHING.

When you are a parent of 2 children, it makes life a little complicated, and traveling becomes part of what you do. Every. Day. A lot.

Especially when you have a medical concern. Then you find that you have to travel to another County for Specialists and treatment.

We just found out that our youngest has a very low Growth Hormone level, which means she isn’t growing. Part of this whole process is traveling over to Seattle to a Pediatric Specialist. What that entails is an hour car ride, a half hour ferry boat ride, then another car ride for about 20 minutes (with traffic and hills). Whew! We find that we are tired even before we arrive.

Because we have a day of travel before we even get there to wait in the waiting room, I’ve learned to be prepared. I’d like to share a few tips I find extremely useful.

  1. Bring a cooler full of food. You never know how long you will be out, and if you get stuck in a long line at the ferry, you will find everyone is happier when their bellies are full.
  2. Always bring your camera. You never know. This last time, I actually gave it to my 4 year old to take pictures while we were waiting. She has a great time, and I loved getting a glimpse of the world through her eyes.
  3. A good attitude. This one is hard. Especially when everyone is a bit tense or stressed. Which brings me to #4…
  4. Try to make it fun. There are interesting things to do when you are not near home. We chose to break up our doctor’s visit by stopping at the Magic Mouse toy store. It was fun.
  5. Bring plenty of books/ paper and crayons/ card games. If you find yourself waiting ~like on the ferry ride~ the kids have something to do.

Even with all of the excess traveling and hours to prepare, I wouldn’t change where we live (at least not the county~ we may find ourselves trying to move closer to town very soon). This area is incredibly rich in things to do, and for as big as it is geographically, it has that close small town feel, that we have grown to love.

What do you bring when you travel, locally?

-Michelle is a mom of 2 who loves to sew, create, thrift~ and to be a Mom. You can read more about Michelle at her blog Falafel and The Bee (formally Noggin’ Toppers), where she has been blogging and creating since 2008.

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Not Knots

As my first official post for this Blog, the subject I chose to write about is something that plagues our house daily.


Not the fun kind that you tie in ropes, or the kind that you refer to when sailing. These little nuisances are part of our everyday lives. They are a part of my sweet little girls’ hair. All. The.Time.

You too???

With my first child, I had no skills as a parent yet (of course), and hardly any tricks, so when it came to these unruly bits of hair, I just asked her to ask me to be gentle.


Much better than her usual “OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!!!” *said screaming at the top of her lungs* whenever I came near her with a brush. But it rarely worked, and she always kind of yelled it, which isn’t much of an improvement. We tried all sorts of detanglers, and went through bottles of conditioner. Nothing really did the job. Now we just keep her hair short because she just can’t deal with brushing her hair when it’s long. Her choice, actually. She’d choose really, really short hair over knots. It’s that much of a pain.

By the second child I had some tricks up my sleeve. I came up with “Sweetie, you just tell those knots to go away!”. And she did. And it works.

It doesn’t work on my 10 year old, though. I think I missed that boat.

My 4 year old and I even have little conversations with them where I answer in a high-pitched voice, pretending to be said knots. By the time the conversation is over, the knots are gone.

The upside to this little farce is I no longer hear shrieks of pain coming from my child. She actually pleads with these invisible beings, which overall is more pleasant to hear and the neighbors won’t think my house is “that crazy house” on the block (well, not for this, anyway).

The down side is the permanent mental damage I may be inflicting on my child making her believe that knots have feelings and can actually listen.


Yup. I can live with that.

-Michelle is a mom of 2 who loves to sew, create, thrift~ and to be a Mom. You can read more about Michelle at her blog Falafel and The Bee (formally Noggin’ Toppers), where she has been blogging and creating since 2008.

Keep up with news posts by subscribing to our RSS feed (it’s free!). And don’t forget to join our Facebook fan page! It’s where all the cool kids are hanging out… It’s true.

Have a Fun and Safe Halloween!

Happy Halloween!Halloween is such a fun time, but…

There are some safety tips to keep in mind as we wander in relative darkness, tricking and and treating in a quest for a full bag-o-candy. Safe Kids is a company I became acquainted with when a representative came and spoke at a mom’s group I was part of years back.

They provided valuable information on how to help keep one’s children safe at home and out in the community.

In July, I went to a blogging conference (BlogHer) and Safe Kids was there! I was so excited to see them! You bet I added myself to their email list!

I received one of their handy emails earlier this week. It included a link to their site on Halloween safety. It lists out the basics. Nothing extra-ordinary, just reminders. I recommend going over some (or all) of these points with your children before tomorrow night. Here’s the link: Keeping Kids Safe on Halloween on Safe Kids USA.

One point of note — add to or amend these tips as best fits your family. I disagree with the first bullet point, “always trick-or-treat with an adult until age 10”. My son is 10 and I am not ready to let him go it alone, but where we live and how we get our “goods” is not in a familiar neighborhood. We have an ecletic looking Halloween this year. My point is — give a few moments to revisit the obvious. A little reminder before the excitement takes everyone to a land of make-believe…


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A Top Ten List for Moms

I admit it. I am a lover of lists. I am especially in love with lists that have lines through them. For example:

  • Eat chocolate
  • Drink coffee
  • Keep too much stuff in your purse

Sometimes I will add things to my list that I have already completed… 

  • Take child to the doctor. Late.

Hmm… visual encouragement, if you will. The following list was inspired by my now 4 year old. One night she decided she need to cut playdough from her hair.

By herself.

When she should have been sleeping. As I wrote in one post, “Whoever said “Silence is golden”… never knew a 3 year old who was supposed to be taking a nap.”

The followng list was originally posted at another site I write for, but I think it is a list worthy of reposting… So. Here it is, a list. Some items one may be able to check off, some may just be worth noting. Feel free to print it out and keep it in your purse *wink*…

1. Breathe. This is actually not exclusive to just mothers. It is actually something I would advise for all people.

2. Eat. I recommend bars of chocolate, but chips are a good alternative.

3. Hide the scissors. No. Do not keep scissors in your home. Ever. Hiding them does not help. Children are born with a scissor-seeking GPS, and it seems that though hair from the human head is not magnetic — it actually is magnetic to the cut of a pair of scissors.

4. Acquire a taste for pressed chicken. There will always be leftover chicken pieces (a.k.a. “nuggets” or “dinos”) and leftover pressed chicken may be your only sustenance on any given day.

5. Aim low. It’s just better that way. Trust me. It’s not that you should not set admirable expectations, just set them very low. That way, things will go better than expected because it’s pretty easy to step over a low bar.

6. Less is more (very closely related to the “aim low” category). Go without make-up more often than you wear it. That way, when you DO decide to get gussied-up you will be assured ample compliments. You know… the mom who is always “perfect”? Well, pride comes before a fall and, one day, that perfect mom will be seen without make-up. When she is — we gasp and squint our eyes. Don’t be that mom. Indulge your appearance to a long period of “natural beauty.” After a long period of time, go for it! Brush on that blush and apply that mascara! You will be amazed at the responses: “Wow! You look so pretty! Did you get your hair done? Did you lose weight? When did you start modeling???” I know this from experience.

7. Laugh. It’s just good to do. Also brush your teeth, especially if you laugh with a really wide gape and are prone to spitting.

8. The person your 3 year-old is now, is not the person he/she will become. In short, your three year-old will probably not bite the face of a peer when he is 27.

9. Banish scissors. Repetitive, I know, but I feel passionate about it this. Also, ban the markers and maybe any vessel that may be a fun idea for holding/transporting various forms of liquid.

10. Silence is not golden. It is the sound of danger and destruction. Press on with caution.