Thursday, December 7, 2023

The Struggles Are Real

It is hard to feel sympathetic towards others in pain when you, yourself are suffering. Especially on a daily basis. I do feel bad for those with pain. For those with deformed spines particularly. I can have a real sympathy for them.

I know only too well the hardships they face doing the simple things in life. Everyday is a process. Pushing myself to keep going. Striving to get things done. Pregnancy made things so much harder, both during and then after. I've sought help from several doctors over the past several years. More than once, I've heard words that essentially meant, "I can't help you." One doctor even told me, "You are a strong woman. Learn to live with it." I still have a double curve. My arthritis has spread throughout my body. In some ways, my research has made me more of an expert than most of the real 'experts'. A disc slipped. Crushed the nerve under it. Then I found out I had Degenerative Disc Disease. 

 Degenerative discs are when the discs in the spine are under pressure and begin to "dissolve". I know it runs in the family as my aunt had to have a rod put in to support her lower spine. I had one doctor suggesting we should do laser surgery to remove whatever was causing the pinching of the nerves. If that hadn't worked, he wanted to just insert rods again.  

We never got there there. I had my baby, life moved on. And so did we. Went to a new town. My neck lost its natural curve, causing migraines and headaches. New doctors said I was beyond help by them and the scientific knowledge and equipment they had access to.
Back when searching for answers was important to me, I was really feeling like a walking disaster. I had depleted my PTO at work. Between child care, vehicle issues, pain and inability to walk... I felt like a lost cause most days. 
I got so tired of the life that meant telling my kids, "Mommy can't right now." I'm still not wanting to socialize because I don't like those pitying looks or "poor you" comments. I'm tired of seeking answers and coming to dead ends. Of wanting relief and finding only more pain.

I have learned of all kinds of pain relief methods. Some that work for me. Some that don't. But it gives me options to suggest to others who are in a similar situation as I am. 

Epsom salt baths

Heating pad and ice pack revolutions

Over the counter medicine is round the clock on my hardest days, but I've been warned about liver and kidney damage. 

Stretch and walk as often as I can. 

Through everything, pain persists. Sleeping, sitting, walking, reclining - sometimes it just doesn't matter what I do. However, I can proudly say, I'm surviving through it. I'm living life as best I can. Day by day. 

For all of you out there who have back problems - I feel your pain. I understand every ache. I know what you go through daily. It may never get easier unless you take drugs or have surgery. No, it will most likely get worse. Every day it gets harder to roll off the bed. To stand and wash those dishes. To lift that bag of groceries. To sit at a computer for 8 hours. To smile at those you pass while pretending you are okay. But we can't stop. As much as I want to give up or as often as I question, "Why me?" I have to remember that I'm needed no matter what. I have to keep trying and be patient. As my husband often reminds me, we have to wait on God and His timing. It's hard. Very, very hard. I'm usually very patient. More so than most. But I do struggle daily.
Keep on trying. Don't give up. Answers will come. Whether they are what what you want to hear.... that remains to be seen. But don't give up.

Monday, December 4, 2023

That's Not a Hat!

Ravensburger - do you know that name? If not, let me introduce you!

*Disclaimer - I was sent these products for free in exchange for hosting a party and posting my reviews. I was not otherwise paid or endorsed. All opinions are my own or those of my guests.*

Ravensburger is a name you might see on some games, toys and puzzles. They are a family-owned company that has been making games since 1883!

They sent me two games to showcase. One is called That's Not a Hat. This is the one I focused on. The other was Strike, which I gave away as a door prize. Both can be found on the Ravensburger website. Don't worry, I'll have links below! 

That's Not a Hat

That's Not a Hat was truly fun, even through it's challenging play. We had to read through the instructions a couple times, but overall we loved the laughter! It is about having the ability to remember all your "gifts" or be able to bluff when you forget. For us older ones... we forgot, but we dusted off those bluffing skills like champs! 

I highly suggest watching this how-to-play video before you try playing. Makes it a lot easier! 

The official information on the game is:
That's Not a Hat - Wrap and regift objects in this deceptively simple card game of having the world’s best memory... or convincing everyone you do! Was that gift a hat, a bucket, or a traffic cone?! Play this “unforgettable” bluffing game with friends and family for fun, laughter, and a dash of madcap mayhem. As cards or gifts are flipped face down and passed around the table, players must memorize the object on each card or bluff their confidence as they pass the unwanted gift to someone else. Avoid getting caught declaring the wrong object or gain penalty points. The player with the least points at the end wins!

Recommended Age: 8+ 

Great for parties!

Number of Players: 3 - 8

15 minutes playtime

Includes: A rule book and 110 cards with simple illustrations for maximum
memorization chaos.

I've done a few of their puzzles over the years. But want to know a game I loved that they put out? My mom sent me this one before... Under their ThinkFun products, you can find the Cold Case Files. I have done A Pinch of Murder with my husband. It was so much fun!

Where can you find these games for yourself?

So glad you asked! As I mentioned above, you can go directly to the Ravensburger website. But there are other options of places you can look for the games at.

That's Not a Hat: 

Ravensburger has it for $10.99.

Barnes & Noble had it too for the same price. 

Amazon was the same price.


Ravensburger has it for $24.99. 

Walmart has them for the same price. 

Amazon was the same price. 

What do you think? Was this a great game option? I'll be looking forward to hearing from you in the comments below!

Sunday, December 3, 2023

What is Your Favorite Oreo Flavor??

I'm working with Oreo and Dollar General to bring you some fun times and yes, some cookie flavors we tried out!

*Disclaimer: I was provided the party pack in exchange for hosting a party for Oreo. I was not otherwise paid or endorsed. All opinions shared are mine or my guests.*

First off, I was asked to get my cookies from Dollar General. This is not somewhere I would normally go to get... well, anything! Occasionally I will drop in, usually around the holidays. You never can tell what kinds of fun finds they might have. But they do have a great new app. So, who knows? We might be stopping in more often. 

Their selection of Oreo cookies was lacking, in my opinion. So we grabbed a pack there and then grabbed other flavors from another store.

Let's talk Oreo

Who has not tried an Oreo cookie at least once in their lives?? If you live in the States, chances are really good you have had one. At least once. And if you haven't.... Maybe you are Amish? I mean they are a treat that just about any person I know should be able to recognize. And the flavors?? Oh man.... I've been testing various flavors they put out FOR YEARS! Some are huge hits. Some are misses. But they are always a fun experience. 

For the party, Oreo sent soooo much swag! I mean... This party pack was absolutely AMAZING! And I had fun giving them out. I invited friends from our church family to come hang out. We shared so many laughs while playing and talking. Comparisons of favorite flavors were also included! 

We tried the Oreo Thins, Mega Stuf, Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie, and Birthday Cake flavors. Personally, out of these flavors, I'd say the Mega Stuf was my favorite. The Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie one was very similar in taste to Nutter Butter cookies, according to my guests. 

My guests were the best! We didn't have instructions on how to use the included silly straws, but we had fun figuring them out. 

My daughter suggested that I make a cake that looked like an Oreo. So I gave it my best shot. It came out a bit lopsided, but I've heard it tasted wonderful still. 

Overall, I think Oreo got a lot of love! They are a highly versatile snack food. Sweet treat, after school snack, movie snack, part of a fantastic dessert - the options just keep coming. They are often creating new flavors, both limited editions and ones that join the popular ranks of staples on the store shelves. And let's not forget - you can find them just about anywhere! Including Dollar General! 

Do you have a favorite flavor? I'd love to hear what it is. So drop me a comment below. Have you tried any of the limited edition flavors? We have! Do you remember the Blueberry Pie? How about the more recent Mario ones? Here's to seeing what comes next.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

From Discarded Tray to Doll Display

This old wooden tray was given to me by a friend. It has clearly had quite the life. But that life isn't over yet. So... I got to thinking. What about making it a shelf that will hang and be used as a display that I might even be able to use as a doll backdrop?? My Froggy Stuff creates these small displays quite often. Mostly from foam board. And they are so cute! This one is of equal size, but already built! So win-win for me. It will also be one less thing to end up in a landfill. 

First things first

I had to get it cleaned up and re-glue one of the notched corners. This old tray has been through a lot.

It measures about 10 1/4" wide and about 15" long. After the glue dried, I painted on a base coat so that I can paint it when I design the 'room' look later.
I had tried to make orange paint for a shadow box that I was putting together for my dad. But no matter how I tried, the paint color wouldn't come out right. I ended up with this taupe-like color. Farthest thing from orange! My husband said I defied logic with that one. I decided to make this the coat for the building front I planned to make in this display. But after painting, I had a sudden idea. Instead of making an apartment building front, I wanted to make a closet wall scene. My husband recently bought me these Mini Brands Fashion packs from Ross. And I realized that I need a closet! To show them off. It would make an elegant back drop too. Later, I even want my husband to hang it on the wall for me. 
So, that is when I switched to gluing in some card stock pages to look like a fancy maroon wallpaper. I used a white marble printed page to make the floor look better. Still thinking about my ceiling options. But I'm liking where this is going. 

Or at least I was...

Then disaster struck. I attempted to use doll packaging to make shelves. You know how Rainbow High dolls come with each accessory in those built-in boxes? I thought I could use that to hold the purses at the top of this display. But it was too warped and the purses kept falling out. So... I ripped it out. Which ripped out the paper it was glued to. I decided to give this closet a two-toned wall look instead. I glued in a white card stock, painted cut craft sticks and glued them in to give a border, and now we have a more refined look! 

The clothing rod is made from bits of wood that came in a craft kit my kids didn't want from Home Depot. I just gave them a dark wood paint job and glued them in. I was pretty impressed with how they came out. 

Next, we need shelving. After all, I have purses and hats to show off. I used balsa wood from kits. I 3D printed the cube shelf. I think it works well for shoes.

The silver rack was one from a Dollar Tree set I picked up. I just gave it a paint job. It holds the many necklaces I have right now.
I'm pretty happy with the effect! I think it came out great for a spur-of-the-moment build. What do you think? What would you have done differently? Leave me a comment below and let me know!