Monday, June 25, 2012

Flubber Fail

In an effort to keep my children cool and entertained this summer, we've been trying a variety of activites that can be done cheaply and quickly, while using recycled and/or on hand materials. We can't be at the pool every day for crying out loud! Pinterest is GREAT for finding fun things to do and today we tried to make our own flubber.


I found what appeared to be an easy tutorial but something went awry. Instead of stretchy, slimy, flubbery goodness, our mixture hardened up and had NO stretch to it whatsoever. Too much borax I think. Undeterred by my failure, the kids thrust their hands into the bowl and began squishing it between their fingers. Though stiffer than traditional flubber, our "booger goo" as K called it, still proved to be a big hit.


They squished it.

They rolled it.

They bounced it.

They got plain silly with it.

I entertained my kids for an hour with borax and glue. What did you do today??


Sunday, June 17, 2012

My Head Itches

Two months ago, my daughter came home from school, her carefully braided hair undone and unruly. When I asked what had happened, she explained that the school nurse had been checking her and her classmates for "bugs." Relieved that there were none to be found, I promptly forgot about the incident and carried on my merry way.

Fast forward two months. K has an itchy head. I checked her scalp several times but saw nothing. I chalked it up to the chlorine. We have been in the pool nearly every day since school got out and all those pool chemicals really dry out your skin. But when my husband got out the flashlight and began digging around during bedtime stories, he saw something more than just dry skin.

Creepy Crawlies. Bugs. Lice.

I FREAKED OUT. I know it's common and it happens to 90% of children at some point in their lives,  but I couldn't help but feel I did something wrong. K started getting teary eyed and I knew I needed to calm down before she freaked out too. So I did what any scared Mom would do....I ran to my friend Kelly's house who, as a first grade teacher, had battled head lice herself not two months prior. Not only did she have an extra bottle of lice killing shampoo AND a nit comb, she made me a margarita and helped me look for eggs (which are the same color as K's hair!) long in to the night. Yeah. She's awesome.

We bagged K's bedding and all of her stuffed animals to suffocate each and every critter that may reside inside them. I washed everyone's bedding and pillows in hot water and dried them on the highest setting. I shaved my son's head. And as anti-chemical as I am, I bleached what I could bleach and used a lice killing spray on our car seats, mattresses, couches, curtains and carpets to kill every last one of those suckers. I am taking NO chances. This is not something I want to go through again!

Of course I didn't use all those chemicals without guilt. I cringe to think of us sleeping on mattresses that I sprayed with pesticides. Using stuff like that is just SO unlike me. I always try to go natural first. But lice....lice may be my limit. I want it gone. It's okay if my homeade shower cleaner doesn't work the first time but if my homemade lice killer failed I'd be really, really upset.

K sitting for her daily head check. The head lamp casts a blue light which really makes the eggs stand out.
To soothe my green ego, I did break out my favorite aromatherapy book and mix up a "lice repellant" spray. To one cup of water I added four drops each of eucalyptus, geranium and lavender. It is to be used after showering, sort of like a leave-in conditioning spray and it is supposed to keep the bugs from settling on your noggin in the first place. I made a bottle for K and one for me too. It smells pretty good and will hopefully repel any and all creepy crawlies!

How about you? Have you had to deal with head lice? How did you treat it? Were you successful with any natural remedies?


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Drop It Like It's Hot

It's hot.

Surprise, surprise. My family and I spent a LOVELY week in Southern California where the temperature never whispered above a perfect seventy degrees. But as soon as we topped those coastal mountains and began descending back into the desert, the thermometer on the mini van climbed quickly and steadily until it read in the triple digits. And there it remains. It's not really even "hot" yet; I mean, 107 is hot for most people but it's only going to get hotter. The worst is yet to come!

K and J enjoying a perfect SoCal day!

As much as I would love to spend our entire summer traveling to temperate climates, we do have to spend some of the season in the valley and deal with the oppressive heat. As soon as the temperature starts pushing 90, our house becomes cave-like as I draw the blinds and curtains, hoping to block the vicious sun and keep the cooled air in. We caulk and seal every nook and cranny to improve the efficiency of our home. But still, the AC kicks on more often than I'd like....and I have the electric bill to prove it!

In a last ditch effort to keep our home cool and our wallets fat, we decided to invest in solar screens. Solar screens replace existing "bug" type screens and improve air-conditioning efficiency thereby lowering your energy costs. Woo hoo! That make this sweaty, green girl very happy. The screens we installed block 80% of UV exposure and they weren't terribly expensive either. Plus our house looks like it got a face lift AAAAND the screens make it impossible to see in from the outside. A definite bonus since my son's bedroom window is right by the front door. No more lookee loos!

Not my house....but that's what my screens look like!
I have definitely noticed that our air kicks on less frequently than it did before we got the screens. I'm hoping I'll see a difference in our next utility bill too. Until then, you can find me in the pool with a homemade popsicle...