Monday, November 28, 2016

Neighborhood Outdoor Christmas Games

Who didn't grow up playing outside games with the whole family or neighborhood?  It's my kids favorite thing to do in the summer, so why not in the winter?
(Dress Appropriately for the weather)

Snowball Tag

You will need either a white loufa, large pompom, yarn pompomyarn ball or lightly packed snowball.  The person who is it must throw the loufa.  If they it hit someone that person is now it. They must pick up the loufa and chase and throw the loufa and hit next person.  

Snowball Freeze Tag

You will need either a white loufa, large pompom, yarn pompom, yarn ball or lightly packed snowball.  The person who is it must chase and hit players with the loufa.  When each player is hit they must freeze and hold the positon they were in when they got hit.  They must hold that position until all players have been hit and froze.  The last person to get hit gets to be it.

Toy Soldiers
This game is like hide and go seek, but backwards.  The person who is it hides.  The rest of the group counts to 60, and then splits up in search for the person hiding.  As each player finds the person hiding, they must then hide with the person.  It gets pretty tight, so eventually if you have enough players you will be lined up like toy soldiers.  The first person to find the person hiding is it the next round.

Candy Cane Races
Give each team of two, two candy canes.  Each player must hold one candy cane.  The players must link candy canes and race to the finish line.  If the candy canes become unlinked or break they must start over.  The first team to successfully make it across the finish line with their candy canes still linked is the winner.

Reindeer Games
Remember playing wheel barrel as a kid.  Where one person walks on their hands and their teammate holds their feet.  Instead of a wheel barrel you are a reindeer.  Race to the finish line.  If there is snow wear warm gloves to keep your hands from freezing.

Animal Tracks
Have one person with big feet make tracks (footsteps) in the snow from the start to finish line.  Each team member must race only stepping in the original tracks

Christmas Music Freeze Dance
Play Christmas music and have the children dance.  When the music stops the kids must freeze.  The last person to freeze is out.  Play music again and repeat until you have a winner.

Christmas Carol Frozen Sing Along
Have the group sing along to a Christmas song.  Turn the music off and whoever stops singing last is out.

Candy Cane Hunt
Hide a box worth of candy canes for every two players.  Have the players hunt for candy canes like you would an Easter Egg hunt.  You could even have a giant candy cane for the grand prize.
* I like to buy plastic candy canes if playing in a large group, otherwise real ones break easily and everyone wants to eat them.

Rudolph (Red Rover)
Rudolph, Rudolph send ______ right over.

Pin the Carrot on the Snowman
Build a real snow man.  Blind fold the kids  and spin them in front of the snowman. They might trip/slip and get hurt walking through the snow.  Have them try to put the carrot in the right place.

Snow Ball Fight
If you live in a warm climate, have a marshmallow fight outside.  The rain or sprinklers will eventually dissolve all the marshmallows.  Take precautions if you have pets or wild animals to clean up the marshmallows, so they don't eat them and get sick.
You could also use a marshmallow gun, slingshot or shooter.

Shaving Cream Fight
If it's warm where you live, a shaving cream fight looks just like snow, but it way more fun.

Ice Blocking
If it's warm where you live and you still want to go sledding try Ice Blocking.  It's just as much fun and super easy.
Pioneer Day

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Party Games

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pumpkin Zentangle


We have just been swimming in mini pumpkins at our house.  One plant produced about 100 pumpkins.  Even after playing games, decorating the house, and giving several away we still have about 40 left.  My middle child started drawing zentangle designs on a pumpkin.  The next thing you know, everybody wants to do one too.  The girls had a blast with this easy craft.  I think it would be fun to put out a basket of pumpkins and permanent markers on your Thanksgiving table to do before and after you eat.  To keep the kids busy while you're cooking or cleaning up.  A great time filler.  *keep away from small children, unless you want to clean permanent marker off your entire house.


Grab a pumpkin big or small, real or fake. Draw a different design, on each section with a permanent marker.







You might have to wipe the tip of the marker off occasionally from pumpkin skin residue.



They also make a really cute and simple decoration for your Thanksgiving display.


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pumpkin seeds

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Can't Adjust to Your New Eyeglass Prescription?

Not only do I suffer from extremely dry eyes,
I also suffer from what's called Chromatic Aberration.

It's a very rare thing, which means I see yellow lines on objects and words when I look through my glasses.  This can be very annoying.  Especially, if you can't find a fix.  Most people with chromatic aberration issues can't use polycarbonate lenses.  This is how I first came to find out there was an issue.  I was about 21 buying my first pair of glasses since getting married.  The only other pair of glasses I had ever owned my parents bought me when I was 14.  My eyes were feeling dry with contacts, so I needed to make the switch.  This was before HD was all the rage.  They talked me into polycarbonate over plastic because my prescription was +3.25 and plastic lenses can be thick.  I was freaking out.  I didn't understand why all the words were underlined in a thick dark yellow.  The corners of objects also had a thick yellow line.  What was going on?

So, I took back the glasses.  The optician said sometimes people can't use polycarbonate.  He didn't explain it any further.  So, I broke my glasses about a year later.  Needed new glasses again.  The optometrist told me to try the polycarbonate lenses again.  That for some reason if your prescription changes so can you tolerance of polycarbonate.  No such luck.  I had to return them for plastic again. 

The next time I needed glasses, I needed a new optometrist.   I made sure to tell the optometrist about my intolerance to polycarbonate.  He said he'd never heard of that before.  He sent me to the optician for glasses and they too had never heard of it.  They recommended special coating.  However, these special coatings brought on the chromatic aberration issues.  I returned them.  So again, I left with the cheap and very thick plastic lenses. 

I had three  pair of glasses before even the plastic lenses weren't working.

Then, tragedy struck.  What am I going to use.  I went to three opticians before any had even heard of an intolerance to polycarbonate lenses.  Which now also includes HD and Plastic.  I am in serious trouble.

The optometrists all say talk to the optician, they will know the best lenses to help you, I just do the exams.  I thought to myself, really I thought that was your job!  You talk to the opticians, and they don't know anything.  None of them have any real training that goes beyond these are thinner and clearer.  And no, they have not heard of an intolerance to polycarbonate lenses. 

Then finally, an optician tells me she has heard of the intolerance it's called chromatic aberration or Color Fringing.  It's very rare, but with all the Lasik surgeries, it's becoming more and more common.  It's the way the light hits the lenses and bends like a prism and I see the yellow.  A better explanation is it's why the sky looks blue.  Mine is natural though, I have never had eye surgery.  Unfortunately, her suggestions didn't help me.

I have been to three opticians who could not help me.  Hundreds of dollars later and I still have no new glasses.  After the second lens don't work, most opticians just think I'm crazy. There is very little on the internet about eye wear chromatic aberration.  If you look on the eye issue websites, there are tons of people who have the same problem as me.  "Help, I see yellow lines!!!"

So, I decided it was time for the big dogs and made an appointment for my dry eyes and chromatic aberration.  Because, I have to figure something out.  I either need new glasses or to fix my dry eyes, so I can wear contacts.  I'd love to get Lasik, but there is a chance the chromatic aberration could come without wearing glasses and with my dry eyes it's just not recommended.  I have been in eye therapy including taking Restasis for over a year, visiting my ophthalmologist every three months.  Honestly, I am no better off then when I started. He even said the opticians are trained to help me with glasses and that I'd have to ask them.  Seriously, what am I paying these trained professionals for.  I have been stuck with ugly outdated glasses for ten years.

This year I have spent hours researching the topic and this is what I found:
  1.  Chromatic Aberration is like being allergic to polycarbonate lenses. It causes color fringing by the way the light passes through the lens.  It is rare and does not affect very many people.
  2. The higher the Abbe Value in the material, the less chromatic aberration.
  3. Plastic CR-39 has the highest Abbe Value and that's why they seem to work the best for chromatic aberration sufferers.
  4. Trivex has the highest Abbe Value in a specialty lens and is thinner than plastic.  Although plastic's Abbe Value is still fair higher, and might be the only option.
  5. Round and oval shaped glasses work the best to fight chromatic aberration.
  6. Smaller frames help control the chromatic aberration.
  7. Have your optometrist check for the accuracy of base curves during your eye exam possibly looking into aspherical curves. This helped me immensely.
  8. Check the streach of the lens.  Some manufacturers are mixing polycarbonate with acrylic to save on cost.
  9. Cleaning chemicals used on the lens prior to applying special coatings such as anti-reflection, scratch resistance, and UV protection can cause chromatic aberration.
  10. Anti Reflective coatings made of zinc alloy are better for chromatic aberration than those made of magnesium fluoride.
  11. Just keep trying different lenses until you find one that works, most eyewear distributers have a guarantee of satisfaction.
  12. If possible, contacts might be a better option for chromatic aberration sufferers.
  13. Eye Surgery could cause chromatic aberration to be a new issue with your eyes.
Some of the most helpful websites I found during my research:
Abbe Value

I hope my story helps you in your chromatic aberration issues.  I wanted to share my story, because I found so many people during research who are suffering from the same thing, without any answers.  My story might give you a starting point or the answer to your chromatic aberration problem.  Talk to your eye care specialist to see what lenses are right for you.  Good Luck!

UPDATE: After many, many different eyeglasses and Optometrist visits I finally found something that made a huge difference.  Base Curve.  Apparently, the stronger and thicker your glasses get the more flat on the front and curved on the back of the lenses they are made.  This causes the feel of looking through glass bottles.  If they adjust the base curve, it helps tremendously.  Mine were adjusted 3.5 and they are so much better.  Learn more about base curves here. This year they adjusted to a 2. My doctor said most people like a 6, some like a 4. But I like a 2. I need progressive now,  so that's an added challenge, ugh!!!

Trying sclera lenses.  Not gonna lie they are expensive.  $1,000 each eye and $1,000 for and evaluation EVERY YEAR!!! I'll update when I get through the trial period. They are huge and hard to get in and out,  lots of practice. Update:Unfortunately,  they did not work for me. 

Ortho K is another option.  These lenses reshape your eye and you only wear them at night.  They are about the same as sclera lenses the first year. But then you can buy retainer lens to maintain and they are cheaper. 

Important Terminology

A medical doctor specializing in issues of the eye.

A individual with a doctorate in optometry specializing in eye exams for eyewear and minor other eye issues.

A person who is "trained" to sell and supply eyewear.

Abbe Value
The number given to describe the amount of chromatic aberration of eyewear lenses.

Base Curve
Refers to the curvature of the lens.

*I am NOT a medical professional. 

Always consult a medical doctor before beginning a new treatment. 

I am just sharing my personal experiences, please do your own research to see if these tips might be helpful to your individual situation.
Every eye is different, and results may vary.
Follow all directions instructed by a medical professional.

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Monday, November 14, 2016

Dry Eye Home Remedies

I suffer from extremely dry eyes.  I cannot wear contacts or have Lasik surgery because of it.  There is very little I've found searching the web that actually helps, so I wanted to share my story.  Here are a few home remedies I have researched and tried over the last year. 

*I am NOT a medical professional. 
Always consult a medical doctor before beginning a new treatment. 
I am just sharing my personal experiences,
please do your own research to see if these tips might be helpful to your individual situation.
Every eye is different, and results may vary.

I am making an appointment to try sclera contact lenses.  They are about $600 each lens, but are said to actually help with dry eye.  Fingers crossed!

Baby Shampoo
My ophthalmologist instructed me to wash my eyelids and makeup off every night with one drop of baby shampoo to one cup of warm water.  Baby shampoo offers a tear free solution, cleaning away any bacteria, eye lash mites, allergens and pollutants that may be causing your dry eye.  It also helps release some of the oil in your eyelid glands, helping to produce better quality tears.

Warm Compress
I purchased a mask and made a simple one.  Using a soft fabric such as flannel filled with rice or flax seed.  I only heated it to a warm temperature.  I didn't want to burn my skin or eyes.  I put the compress on my eyes nightly for a minimum of 15 minutes.  If it cooled, I rewarmed it.  This will open up the oil producing glands and help clear any blockages.
Click here for a video detailing how to properly preform a warm compress and lid massage.
And a controversial video to help you decide if you want to try this.

Cool Compress
I like to apply a cool compress to help with inflammation.  You can also use the homemade mask above for this.

Preservative Free Eye Drops
It is important to keep my eyes moist with eye drops.  I use a preservative free eye drop, because I use drops more than 4 times a day.  They are supposed to be single use of you risk getting an eye infection. However,  in most brands you can push the cap back on. According my my ophthalmologist, the preservative will cause more harm if used more than 4 times a day.  If I'm having a really bad dry eye day, or sometimes in the morning when my eyes are the driest, I will use preservative free gel drops.

For regular over the counter drops I prefer Sooth. Be forewarned they are milky.  The first time I used them I thought they were bad,  because they weren't clear. They feel really nice in the eye surface. Do not use them more than 4-5 times a day.  Otherwise, the preservative in them and other similar drops can start to adversely affect the dry eye. Preservative free is your best bet for constant daily use.

Caster Oil
There are people all over the web suggesting castor oil to be used for dry eyes.  I have tried this and didn't really care for it.  While my eyes felt less dry, the castor oil is thick, uncomfortable, and gave my eyes a swollen feeling. I do not recommend it, but it is the number one home treatment you will find suggested.  I only used a very small drop. I made sure to purchase a good quality cold pressed organic Castor Oil.  I kept it refrigerated for longer shelf life and preservation.  I bought small dropper bottles to make it easily to control the size of the drop. Castor Oil does supposedly help with growing longer fuller eyelashes.
Some articles I read suggesting the use of castor oil:
Simple Remedies
Heal Dove
There are also tons on videos on YouTube.

Eye Mask
I wear an eye mask at night to help keep the moisture in my eyes, especially since I do not fully close them while sleeping.  My eyes used to feel completely dry when I wake up in the morning, this has helped immensely. 

Eye Goggles
There are also eye goggles out there that have a removable moisture pad in them, and highly recommended by the web.  My ophthalmologist talked to me about them in our last visit.  I just got mine, they are a bit pricey, but help.

Preservative Free Nighttime Eye Ointment
I do not completely close my eyes at night. The small area left open thickens and dries if left untreated and protected.  I used this night time ointment, which lasts much longer than drops alone.  It does feel a little thick and blurs the vision extremely.  This is the last thing I do before crawling into bed.  Both my ophthalmologist and optometrist recommended this to me, but here's a article that shows the benefits and negative's of doing this.

Update: I stopped doing this because I don't like the way it makes my eyes feel and it offered little help.

Q-Tip-Pollution Remover
If you are suffering from pollutants causing your dry eye, it was suggested to me to use a Q-Tip to clean my water line of my eyelids.  I used a sterile Q-Tip dipped in sterile water, squeezed the water out with my clean finger tips, and gently wiped off the eyelid just inside my eyelashes, but not my inner lids.  See this video for a better explanationThis did not help me personally when I tried it, but it makes sense for some people if done safely and properly.

Omega 3
I make sure I'm getting enough Omega-3 in my diet, this will help with better quality tears.  I personally like Thera Tears since they are specially formulated for dry eyes, but any will do.   Always talk to your doctor before starting any treatment, they may not mix with other medications causing medical complications.

MSM Eye Drops
MSM eye drops are recommended to help with Floaters, dry eye,  and other common eye issues. I have yet to try this method.  Click her for more info.

I make sure I'm drinking plenty of water.  If you are dehydrated, so are your eyes.

The first thing a new doctor always asks me is if I'm blinking properly.  When your top eyelid and bottom eyelid touch, they release the tears and oils. If they don't make contact completely they won't be released.  Now that doesn't mean push your eyelids together really hard either.  This can contribute to overnight dryness as well.

Moving Air
I've noticed that any type of fan, air conditioner or heater just really dry my eyes out.  I do not ever have any fans on in my house.  When in the car I like to wear large, tight fitting,  wrap around sunglasses to keep the air from blowing in my eyes.  

They sale glasses on with or without a prescription that has clear shield in the side.  I'm seriously considering buying a pair for the car.

A Dry Climate
Moving to a humid climate is recommended, but not practical for most.  I like a whole house humidifier or a single room humidifier, when I am in a dry climate. 

Eye Lashes
A common cause of dry eyes are eyelashes that curl up into the eye and irritate the eye.  An ophthalmologist can look for stray eyelashes under magnification and pluck them.  They are most likely very thin almost clear lashes found in the inside corner of the eye.  However, my insurance billed this as a surgery.  So, double check with your insurance provider for coverage.

Make-up and Skin Products
I carefully select my eye make-up to make sure it isn't melting or flaking off into my eyes.  I make sure to only use ophthalmologist approved eye creams as well.  Other face creams and lotions are not always safe for use on the eyes. Also, makeup or eyeliner on the waterline of the eye can irritate the eye and dry it out, or plug the tear ducts.  The use of mascara can harbor eye lash mites.

Eye Lash Mites

Pictures and videos of these mites really give me the creeps.  I am glad I do not have these mites crawling on my eyelashes. These mites are quite common, especially in people who wear mascara.  You can also get them from your pets. They could be causing some of your dry eye symptoms.  One home remedy that might work is using Tea Tree Oil wipes or ZocuWipes over the eyelashes for one month.  Talk to your medical professional and take extreme caution, this could irritate the eye.  Learn more from this YouTube video or here.

Smoking is a leading cause of dry eyes.  It is recommended to quit.  It you are struggling with quitting covering your eyes with glasses that are formed to your face, sealing your eyes in, will help from outside smoke.  Some damage also takes place on the inside of your body that also contributes to dry eye.

Update: I found a great eye doctor that has a YouTube channel dedicated to dry eye. Check him out for the latest techniques -Doctor Eye Health. 

Good luck with your struggle. 
Unfortunately, there are so many causes of dry eyes. 
One remedy will work for one person and not for another.

*I am NOT a medical professional. 
Always consult a medical doctor before beginning a new treatment. 
I am just sharing my personal experiences, please do your own research to see if these tips might be helpful to your individual situation.
Every eye is different, and results may vary.
Follow all directions instructed with your purchased products.
Eye infections are easy to get, so please only use clean and sterile products. 
Do not touch product containers to your eye.
Use these products and tips at your own risk.
Some products may cause an allergic reaction.

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