DIY Aquarium/Calm Down Bottle….

So my mom retired a few years ago, but she used to work as a developmental therapist for infants and children up to three years of age. Because of this, she always had a plethora of toys to use in therapy with the kids. One of these toys she made herself. And today I’m going to teach you how to make one yourself. Now normally she used a smaller soda bottle, like a 20 oz’er, but I’m using a 2 liter bottle and it worked just as well. Although a smaller bottle would be better for smaller hands to hold.

This weekend Chad and I celebrated the first birthday of our niece. I still can’t believe it’s been a year since she was born. One of the gifts she received from us is an actual aquarium in a bottle that I made myself.

Here is what you are going to need:

Two liter bottle-Needs to be clear for best results (slowly peel off the label)
Water
20 Oz bottle of Baby Oil
Fine glitter
Larger glitter/sequins
Food Coloring in blue
Shiny silver ribbon
Scissors
Marker
Red Paper clips
Hot glue/Glue gun

After peeling off the bottle label, rinse out the bottle and wipe dry. Take 3/4 of the bottle of baby oil and pour it into the bottle. Then take the shiny ribbon and marker and draw fish shapes into the ribbon and cut them out. Take your red paper clips and twist them into sea-horse shapes (If you can’t do it by memory, no worries. I had to google the basic shape. 😉 ).

Then fill up the remaining bottle space with water, leaving about 4 inches at the top. Drop in your fish shapes. Then drop in food coloring but start with one to two drops so it doesn’t get too dark. Keep adding color until it’s blue enough but you can still see the fish shapes (I put in 5-10 drops and that was too much to where it was harder to see the fish shapes).

Finally, plug-in your glue gun and put some hot glue into the cap of the bottle and also around the threads on the bottle top. Screw on the bottle cap and then run a line of glue around the bottom edge of the cap.

(As an optional last step, you can cut out a sign to put on the bottle with the child’s name and “Aquarium” to personalize it).

When your aquarium is finished, turn it on its side and shake it to make the fish swim.

Use this bottle in every day play with your baby or when they are fussy as a way to get them to relax.

Alternatively if you didn’t want to make an aquarium, use the same steps as above but fill the bottle with small bouncy balls, ribbon or other small objects. For older children, you can do this and create an “I Spy” game by making a list of objects the child has to find in the bottle when they look at it and turn it around.

Happy Crafting! 🙂

15943063_10158043793360300_1321741952_o
15991417_10158043793110300_1024175153_o

The contents are easily seen in person, but the lighting was just too bright here. If you look carefully you can sorta see the fish shapes floating around.

Advertisements

“Fun” Ways to Treat Your Anxiety…….

There are SO many phobias and irrational fears we all have. Whether it be clowns, tornadoes, heights, enclosed spaces, or even arachibutyrophobia (the fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth). These fears are very real and anxiety producing for the sufferer.

One of my fears is of balloons popping, as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs. Today while internet browsing, I came across a product that is touted as a fun family game, but watching the demo made me cringe with anxiety.

The product, called Boom Boom Balloon (even the name of the game is ominous 😛 ) is a game where you put a blown up balloon into a claw contraption that holds it during the game. The game also includes plastic sticks that have notches on them.

The object of the game is to roll the dice, place the stick into the claw holes and click it in the number of times corresponding to the number you rolled. The game ends when the first person pops the balloon. I know, sounds confusing. Here is the commercial:

Now, I call foul with the amount of zeal these kids seem to have. There is not one kid that is cowering in the corner with their hands over their ears.

I guess that’s just me. Honestly that was me.

I remember a birthday party I attended in elementary school where one of the games was to tape a balloon to your bum and try and pop the other kids bum balloons before yours gets popped. I didn’t participate, just watched from the sidelines. With my knees pulled up to my chest and my fingers in my ears.

Thinking back on it now, that’s sounds like a weird game.

Knowing what I know now about some of my phobias, this game could be beneficial, I guess. A sort of immersion therapy. Not something I’m looking forward to doing, but in the long run will help me grow as a person….or something. 

While I’m out shopping for this freakin’ thing I might as well kill two birds with one stone and pick up a jack-in-the-box.

I’ve always hated those things. 😛

What a Difference a Year Makes and New Years Resolutions…

During our Christmas vacation, I shared the following photo on Facebook:

christmas 2015

The caption was as follows: “What a difference a year makes! Praising the Lord for his mercy and grace!”

Of all the 32 likes, I’m wondering if anyone thought about what this picture represented to me, beyond the length of my hair.  In contrast, here is a picture taken last year around the same time:

christmas 2014

Besides the shorter length of my hair is something that you can’t see; how broken I felt inside. See we had just come to the conclusion that we’d not have children.

I’ve blogged about this several times. My first entry can be found here. The rest can be found at the bottom of that same page under “related.”

At this time last year I was wondering what my purpose in life was. If I wasn’t supposed to be a mother, what could I do to fulfill myself? Would I ever be happy not being a mom? Would my marriage crumble under this stress?

It’s been an unexpected year so far. A year filled with joy and hope. I actually did give birth in February; to my blog. A place for me to give people hope and a purpose. And to remind them that they are never alone in their struggles.

I also learned more about the new community I was a part of: the awesome community of people who are Childless Not By Choice. A community that I am grateful for. The community is a place I can go when I’m feeling down or frustrated. And they are always encouraging, always supportive.

Through this community I’ve realized that each CNBC story is as diverse as the snowflakes that have yet to fall outside my window. Although each is unique, they are all valid and meaningful. There is a sacredness to each narrative.

I don’t know why my story has so far been hopeful. Yes, I’ve had days when I’ve felt a loss, but I’ve also had more days filled with promise. My marriage is as strong as ever. And I think I’ve found my purpose; as a blogger to help others understand the plight of the CNBC, and as a child-care provider. I’ve also realized the important role I play in the lives of my nieces and nephews (My newest niece will come into the world next week and I couldn’t be more excited. 😉 ).

So this year ends with hope. And excitement. I actually have a new years resolution that I think will stick. It’s a goal really (is there a difference? ). But I think I’ll leave it at that till I reach 200 blog entries. Don’t worry, I’m actually almost there. I have a few things to flesh out before I make the official announcement anyway. Till then, always remember you are never alone….especially as this year ends and another begins! Oh, and Jesus loves you 😉

Cheers!

Here is a song I can’t get out of my head and I think it’s a great one to start a new year. While my situation is different, I think the lyrics still apply….living this year with anxiety and childlessness, I feel like the lyrics, “I’m gonna do all the things that you said I never could” still apply to me and the “you” in the song is anxiety and doubt.

Unconscious Depression and Donuts…….


This morning as I woke up to my husband’s heavy metal alarm clock–hello 4:30am–he rolled over and kissed me, then asked if I was OK. Marveling at this new way of greeting me in the morning, I said I was. But why did he ask? “Because,” he said, “around 3:00am you were crying in your sleep.” Um, what? Yep. Sure enough. I blinked my eyes and my lashes were a bit damp. I had cried in my sleep. But why?

So I did a bit of research via Google this afternoon and up popped a diagnosis: I’m depressed. Well, NO DOY GOOGLE! 😛 I was first diagnosed with depression in high school, nearly 20 years ago, and have taken medication to manage it ever since. My depression manifests itself in several ways, but this morning was the first time “unconscious crying” made the symptom list.

The only thing i can think of that may have precipitated the crying this morning was a dream I had. Of course, I remember dreaming, but the substance of my dream is a bit foggy. It may have been that I was being chased by zombies. Or maybe I had a flashback to my previous job. But as I’ve scoured the internet today for answers, I think I have another explanation.

See, yesterday I had a craving for a donut. It came up suddenly and strong. And I happened to post about it on Facebook. Then it snowballed. I began seeing more things about donuts online. Probably due to Facebook’s creepy algorithm that tracks what you search for. So donuts began popping up everywhere online. Like Pavlov’s Dog, my mouth began to water each time I’d see that super sweet, round decadence. Unfortunately, we have no donuts at our house so I’ve had to deal with this craving without relief. My guess is that I went to sleep last night, craving a donut, and had a dream that all the donuts in all the world mysteriously became unavailable anywhere. Of course this would cause me to weep uncontrollably.

Have you ever cried in your sleep? Share your stories in the comments below.
Cheers!

11659344_10152957064887548_8000167381215912629_n

*meme describing how I feel right now appears courtesy of my friend Connor Loyd 🙂

PS: I’d like to give a special shout-out to my sister Kathryn, whose birthday is today. Ironically we always celebrate her birthday by eating donuts.

Trying Kindness

This weekend was crazy. My husband and I attended a Rascal Flatts concert at an outdoor venue. The weather this weekend was so rainy we practically floated to our seats under a large pavilion. In fact it was so rainy the concert had to be stalled during a brief downpour that included lightning and thunder. Those that were seated on the lawn had to run underneath the pavilion and try to find an empty seat to dry off. The rain delay lasted an hour so when the premier band took the stage, the audience was more than ready to rock. 

But the downside of waiting an hour for the concert to resume was that we had to leave before the last song because anxiety was starting to get the better of me. In hindsight it was a good idea to leave early because we beat the mad dash to the car by 1,000 other people at the same time. 

Leaving the venue later than expected also meant we needed to stop for food on the way home. My husband was also experiencing intense coffee withdrawal, so Denny’s diner was just what we needed. We arrived hungry, caffeine withdrawal-d and soaked from the rain. Pretty ready to relax and unwind a bit before heading home. Unfortunately half of the population of the city decided Denny’s was also a good idea and it was pretty packed. After ordering we sat for an hour waiting for our food. And all I had ordered was sour-dough toast and a bowl of fruit. Pretty labor intensive stuff. 

Throughout the entire ordeal, from ordering to when our food blessedly arrived, the staff was nothing but apologetic and kind. They even knocked down the price of our dinner after realizing our order was wrong–that we hadn’t mentioned. 

There have been times before this weekend that being overly tired and hungry as I was, makes me grouchy and critical of others. But this weekend I tried a different approach-kindness. I was kind and gracious to the waiter that brought us our food, even after a lengthy wait. I was kind to the manager that rang up our order, even though mistakes were made. 

This weekend I learned that sometimes being kind takes a little extra effort, especially if you are tired and hungry. But showing kindness can make a crappy situation a bit more tolerable. It can also help alleviate some of the stress of a manager that is running a slammed restaurant on a rainy Saturday night. Oh, and don’t forget to leave a tip. 

Rottenecards_46911028_5x6jr37h7z

**what can happen if you take kindness too far appears courtesy of http://www.rottenecards.com/card/151728/if-i-make-you-breakfast-in-bed