A Pandemic Halloween.

I know, I know, there are a bunch of disappointed kids this year because many neighborhoods are deciding to not engage in trick or treating festivities. I get it, I feel bad too! Halloween has always been a really fun time for our family, and in previous years, we’ve enjoyed getting dressed up and creating lots of family memories like these.

BEST EVER.


However, as one neighborhood after another decided to forgo trick or treating this year, I suggested an alternative, a patio party for our family.

And – Lo & Behold, they are excited!

Patio party, here we come!

If you are facing a similar crisis with your crew, I thought I’d let you in on what we’re doing and maybe you might consider a similar option (costumes not included).

First, a pumpkin pinata, of course! I bought this one on Amazon for $25.99.  Get it here.

We’re obviously going to fill it with candy and beat it to smithereens until the goods come spilling out.

SLIME! I found a heck of a prime deal on this slime kit and the intention was to save it for Christmas but then I thought, hmmmm, slime and Halloween, they go together, and bonus, let’s keep the mess on the patio, right? Kids will have a blast. Get Yours. 

 

We have three games we’re going to play and each one will offer a prize–

1. Corn Hole. Love this inexpensive kit on Amazon. Get it here. 


2. Giant Jenga. We received this a few years ago and it has brought lots of fun to our family. Buy yours. 

3. Fishing! We’re going to fill up a big pail with water and let the kids go fishing! Annabelle will LOVE it. Get it here. 

Our party will also include lots of Little Ceasars pizzas, a mildly scary movie like Casper the friendly ghost on our outdoor patio screen – we have gotten SO much use out of this –  hot apple cider and popcorn.

 

BUY MOVIE SCREEN HERE – This makes an AWESOME family Christmas gift (that’s what we did last year).

That’s it!  Chime in and let me know what you’re doing for Halloween during these unprecedented times.

And, join me on Instagram for all the fun!

 

 

(This post has affiliate links)

PRIME DAY DEALS AND STEALS!

Who’s taking full advantage of Prime Day?! This girl sure is! I know, ridiculous photo.  It looks like I’m shooting myself but whatever… I don’t have time to take 500 selfies.

Here are a few of the great deals I’ve found so far, and yes, totally Christmas shopping. I’ve already pulled the trigger on most of these!

What are y’all finding? Link up the good deals in the comments below, and let’s go shopping!

1. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for Hiking, Camping, Travel, and Emergency Preparedness – Regularly $20, now only $9.99 for clean water anywhere. I bought a few of these.

Get yours. 

 

2. Echo Show 5 Charcoal with Blink Mini Indoor Smart Security Camera, 1080 HD with Motion Detection Normal Price $125, now $49.95! Awesome deal for peace of mind. This is headed straight to Luke’s room where I hope and pray it enables him to have more independence and security.

Buy Here. 

 

3. IPad Mini I am admittedly going back and forth about treating myself to this. I currently have one, an older model and I LOVE it. It’s compact, much easier to lug around in my purse than a full size Ipad, and literally is my life line. Everything I write and do is on this baby. Seriously at this price, I should buy two. From $400 to $335.

Great deal here.

 

4. Super cute down coat that I love and sometimes you just buy super cute things that you love. Down from 46.77 to 36.48 after you enter the code UZ2ZSHOW.

BUY NOW. 

 

5. I don’t know about you guys, but my girls love scrunchies (and so do I!). These are going to make great stocking stuffers. 60 Pcs Premium Velvet Hair Scrunchies Hair Bands for Women or Girls Hair Accessories with Gift Bag, Great Gift for Holiday Seasons. Normally $17.99 now $7.99!

Get yours. 

 

6. Ryan and I found the cutest vintage dresser for Jada and Annabelle last weekend, but in using it we had to remove their bookshelf because the room is too small to hold both. Thankfully these Floating Shelves will be the perfect replacement. Regular price $19.00, now $12.47!

BUY HERE. 

7. Perfect snack holder for my teenage boys in their dungeon (basement). I’m SO over picking up all of the empty containers of peanuts and chips. Normal Price $48.99 now only $28.73.

BUY NOW. 

 

8. My kids are obsessed with slime and if I’m honest, I don’t allow it in the house because we’ve had too many problems in the past but at this price on this DIY slime kit, I will allow it on the patio. At originally $60, it’s now a steal at 15.17 with a 20% off coupon at checkout.

Purchase Now. 

 

9. Josh and Jada are obsessed with LEGOS and this Advent Calendar is super cute – especially with the holidays arriving. Regular price $30.00, now only $19.97.

Get Yours 

10. We have a Roku and we love it! At this price I bought two more. Normally $40, now $27.

Buy Here. 

 

11. Play-Doh Gingerbread House. Cutest thing ever and Annabelle will love it (and it’s sugar free!) $9.99

Get Yours. 

 

12. iCOVER Sun Shade Sail perfect for a patio area that I’d love to utilize more but don’t because of the sun beating down. $21.75

Buy Now. 

 

Ta Da! Shop my look.

I’ve detailed my issues with hair loss in a recent blog post which can be  read here but as my hair grows back I’ve found that I really like to use hair pieces in small (believable) amounts like this one from Amazon for $8.49.  Can’t get any easier than this thing. Purchase here 

 

 

I am also wearing another new favorite, magnetic lashes.  I’m not a glamour girl, but if I want to amp it up a notch, these are my go to.  I’m also not one to spend a lot of time trying to figure out weird products (I gave up on lashes years ago!) but these couldn’t be easier to apply. Swipe the magnetic liner on and slap the eyelash on, and I’m good to go. Regular price$ 24.98. Prime day price $19.23.  Buy Here

 

AND FINALLY – to polish off my 5 minute look are these earrings that are awesome and come in a package of 14. If you don’t want a particular color, give it to your best friend.  You can’t go wrong at $16.99 – that’s like $1 a pair. Get Em.  

That’s it!  Let me know what you’re finding!

Just Keep Livin!

 

 

(affiliates used in this post).

The Side Effects of Being a Caregiver – Insomnia.

Here’s the second post in a series about the numerous side effects of being a caregiver. I gave a short list of many of the side effects I’ve experienced in my journey in last week’s post where I highlighted a recent struggle with hair loss, and the ways I’ve combated this ridiculousness.

The next most common side effect I’ve experienced related to being a caregiver has been insomnia. Part of this is absolutely related to caring for 8 children, and part of it, I’m sure, has to do with this lovely stage of life I’m currently in called peri-menopause.

Now given, I am the most OCD sleeper on the planet, and I hate this facet of my personality. I am way too in my head and really struggle to sleep outside of my normal environment or routine.  I am extremely envious of people who can sleep anywhere and everywhere but this is not my reality.

A few things that I must do before going to bed.

First, good nights and hugs for the kids, read Annabelle a story, and give Luke his meds. Draw the room darkening shades and curtains. I require pitch black  in order to sleep. Then I do 15-20 minutes of restorative yoga, take a warm bath with Epsom salts (I like these)

and take one willow bark – a natural Advil alternative

 

 

 

and one  L-theanine which is good for relaxation and gut health.

 

 

After my bath, I take two of these magnesium supplements which I have found to be hands down the most helpful in my journey towards natural sleep preparation. In fact, I ran out of this particular brand for about two weeks, and I used another brand which I had on hand, and I kid you not, I did not sleep very well.  This brand is AMAZING.

 

I really, really try to avoid Advil or Benedryl because I know they’re not great for me or my liver.

And, at 9:30, it’s time for  yogi tea mixed with Reishi mushroom – both which have a calming effect on my racing mind and take approximately 30 minutes to kick in and then it’s lights out at 10:00 p.m.!

I’d say the tea and mushroom put me to sleep quickly and the triple calm magnesium keeps me asleep (for the most part) and last but not least, I rub tiger balm on my hips which have been aching since giving birth to my baby 5 years ago!  Get some here. 

 

 

That’s it. My extremely OCD sleep routine which is admittedly ridiculous, but I can’t function without sleep – especially as a caregiver to 8 children. Yes, I’ve tried Valerian and Melatonin. Both give me weird dreams. Maybe this routine will help someone else in need of a solid night of sleep.

Just keep livin!

 

 

(This post does contain affiliate links which I may receive compensation for).

The Side Effects of Being a Caregiver – Hair Loss

The majority of special needs caregivers I’ve met or talked to throughout the years have mentioned negative side effects related to being a caregiver. Some are mild such as headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, or weight fluctuations, and other symptoms are not so mild and can land a caregiver on the road to rehabilitation for months, if not years. This was the story for Vance Goforth, a caregiver I recently interviewed on my podcast Coffee with Caregivers. https://anchor.fm/jess-ronne/episodes/Jess–Vance-and-Kristy-Goforth-ejfd4t He suffered from a heart attack due to the stress associated with caring for his son Joshua who has profound special needs and autism.

Statistically, 30% of special needs caregivers admit that being a caregiver has worsened their health. 43% report experiencing high stress and 26% say that their health is fair to poor (compared to 15% of the general public) source – National Alliance for Caregiving.
I’ve personally experienced numerous side effects from being a caregiver – not only to Luke but to 7 other children as well. I don’t believe that every symptom is directly related to the stress of care giving, but I do believe that most can be attributed to the stress of life which involves caring for 8 children; including one with profound special needs which has resulted in a much more difficult reality over the past couple of years.

I’ve had IBS, weight loss, weight gain, panic attacks, brain fog, insomnia, cystic acne, a sty that wouldn’t go away for months, facial twitching, achy joints, candida overgrowth, leaky gut, eczema, wrinkles (lots!) mental health struggles, depression, racing heart, jitters, and the most recently, hair loss. Yep, for a few months during Covid my hair was falling out in chunks and leaving bald spots behind. Not good.

I believe it began when Luke ended up in ER in December 2019 due to a shunt malfunction. He finally returned to school mid February and then was released from school indefinitely in March due to a worldwide pandemic. He and his 7 siblings all released and now home 24/7. This was one of the most difficult times of my life – even more so on many levels than my late husband’s 3 year battle with cancer. It was around the end of April that I noticed the large chunks of hair falling out every time I brushed. Or took a shower. Or even simply shook my head, and I freaked out. I seriously thought, “This is it. I’m going bald.”

Of course I did what anyone would do and immediately headed to Google which confirmed my worst fears. Yes, high amounts of stress over a prolonged period of life can cause hair loss BUT – within 6-9 months of the stress being remedied the hair loss should diminish and growth should return. I gave myself about 6 months to total baldness because I had no idea how I was going to relieve my stress levels in my current reality.

However – I did start to research and put a plan in place.

My plan included:

A good pre–natal vitamin. Heck, this supplement gave me lush, beautiful locks when I was pregnant. Maybe it could help now too. Get yours 

 

 

Biotin Serum. I used this twice a week after I washed my hair (which I only did twice a week to maintain the natural oils that I desperately needed at this point). Buy now

 

Biotin vitamins. Took these daily. Purchase here

 

 

A new biotin, vitamin infused anti -thinning shampoo and conditioner. These are a bit pricey but a tiny bit goes a long ways.  I still have more than half remaining after a few months of usage. These are worth every penny if I do say so myself. Get yours. 

 

 

I started this plan in May, and by the beginning of September, my hair had greatly improved to the point where felt I could comfortably get a few highlights again – something I had been avoiding due to the hair loss. I no longer have chucks falling out, and in fact, the sparse areas on my head are beginning to grow back. All the hallelujahs.

Maybe this information can help someone else – caregiver or not. No one enjoys hair loss! Right?!

Just keep livin!

(This post does contain affiliate links)