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Space Issue Debunked (or Bunked)

bunksWhen my twin girls were four, my husband and I purchased our first house.  We moved in two weeks after our five year anniversary and it was such a  wonderful change from the apartment.  This new place had more bedrooms, allowing our daughters to each have their own space in time, and the ability for us to begin trying for another baby in the near future.  The twins certainly are not ready to sleep alone yet and have never spent the night apart since conception.   The one bedroom they wanted to share was a decent size, but really seemed suited to one bed not two.   The girls were in their cozy Merino sleep sacks which we splurged on from the Sleep Sack Store and still in toddler beds for the first month after we settled in, and the two toddler beds side by side were okay, with just a little bit of space for a night table in between, but it did not allow for much morning play space or wind down room at night.   I recall when I was young that I had a twin bed against the wall, looking across at the  corner with my  very own bookshelf  and a nice comfy bean bag set in the nook and I really wanted that for Allie and Kristy.

Jim, my husband, stepped in and came up with the solution before I did, but I admit I was nervous about it.  He suggested that we purchase bunk beds that would allow the space to be opened up.  He works all day and gets to see the sleepy side of the girls at night when I’ve been home all day listening to their bickering as little girls will do, they complain about sharing, they complain about who can have which dress on in the morning and I don’t even understand that one, I dress them identical!  Either way, I knew there would be a battle for top bunk and I was a little nervous about whether or not one of them would fall out from the top bunk having never been up that high before.

We’re huge fans of Ikea as half of our furnishings are from there but when we went to the store, nothing really stood out as far as bunk beds. Looking into our options online, we did manage to find one that was perfect, and the height was adjustable with growth.  They did fight over who was going to get the top bunk at first, but it was actually easily solved when Kristy won for top bunk and then found out that she was too scared to even sleep up there.  She opted for the bottom from then on out.   I got to create a nice little reading corner for the girls and a cute hammock over the top that houses their favorite stuffed animals.

Allie’s Guardian Angel – A trip to the ER

Emergency Room SignWhat an awful experience!  Scariest weekend  Jim and I ever had to encounter since the twins were born four years ago.  I remember Jim wanting boys when we first found out we were pregnant with multiples but secretly I was glad they were girls because I knew that they would be easier and gentler when playing.  Turns out I was wrong though, as Allie and Kristy are both showing tomboy tendencies and Allie is definitely the more adventurous leader.  She climbs on furniture and jumps off, giving me a heart attack a couple times a day. Strong discipline had been implemented with both of them and it seemed to be working as she was getting better  until yesterday.

Allie and Kristy know they are not allowed into our bedroom to play but when I was pouring coffee yesterday morning I heard the absolute worst crash and ran to find Allie screaming and blood on the side of her shirt.  My tall dresser was tipped on the floor at an angle and a bottle of perfume was spilled on the floor.   Kristy was crying in the doorway.    I scooped up Allie and noticed a huge gash behind her left ear and I was in shock as I saw her white skull exposed.   Jim was working so I grabbed a towel from the bathroom and applied pressure with one hand while calling 911 with the other hand.  Rushed to the hospital after an ambulance ride I hardly remember with Kristy in my lap and Allie on the gurney.

After a quick cat scan, it was apparent that the corner of the dresser had just scraped her head and there was no internal injury.  They took her back to the OR and put her to sleep to stitch her head up with  12 stitches.  The realization hit me hard then that my twins would forever be distinguishable if you knew where to look.  Thankfully, her hair will cover the stitch location in time but all I can say right now is that she surely had a guardian angel looking out for her because it could have been a lot worse for her.   We stayed overnight but all is going to be okay.  First trip in four years to the E.R. and I hope we do not have to go again any time soon.

The best toys are for outdoor use

toy-tractorKids really need more exercise these days. You will discover way too many obese children around which can affect their health and well being. So, just how can we get little ones to get away from the video games and TVs and go and play out of the house in the sun. The answer is to have a few fun outdoor toys they can enjoy.

How It Was

Growing up, I remember all the fun times I had playing with several of my most loved toys. We had an inflatable swimming pool in the back yard and we enjoyed splashing around in the summer. Too bad we couldn’t put our new air hose reel and air compressor to use back then to quickly inflate it. Even in the chilly weather we were outside having fun with our action toys including He-Man, G.I. Joe, Transformers as well as others. We used to pretend to have war games and have them in the sandpit. My brother and I in addition enjoyed playing on our swing set. Those days, we were rarely indoors.

How It Is

The fact is right now, video games have taken over from the good old-fashioned fun many of us used to have. I was constantly shooing my seven year old son outside to have fun, but I knew he actually would prefer to be indoors having fun with his latest electronic gadget. That’s why I became so delighted after my nephew became really interested in this new Razor 360 three wheeler tricycle. So when he asked for a bike for his birthday, I took advantage of the opportunity. This fast little bike has changed his playing behavior instantly. I’m hearing that these days it is hard to get him inside at all!

One of our twins is somewhat more of a creative person. Much like I experiment with ingredients to attempt to make the world’s best tasting protein shake, she likes to try to make jewelry out of all sorts of different string and beads. Her latest passion is referred to as the Klutz Mini Capsters Jewelry kit and she makes some truly pretty necklaces and rings with it. Still, even she can be tempted outside on a sunny day for a ride on her bike.

Important note about safety:  While it may seem like most accidents involving children happen outside the home, some of the most tragic occur indoors. In the news lately have been more and more instances of kids getting their hands on firearms due to irresponsible gun owners not keeping them properly secured. It’s crucial to always keep guns locked up and away from the curiosity and/or boredom of children. Make sure you get the best gun safe you are able to afford. My husband is a hunter and a safety nut so he probably went a bit overboard with his but that’s ok.

It is necessary for kids to have some balance within their lives. Possessing a good mix of indoor and outdoor toys means that they will obtain the exercise they need and also the mental stimulation required to learn and grow. You can find new toys being released regularly and it is often confusing to know the ones that are best for your son or daughter. I’ve found it is best to purchase my kid’s toys online since I can read through reviews that some other moms and dads have written so as to make a much more informed choice. It normally ends up costing less as well.

Composting 101

compostI’ve always heard about how great it is to start your own compost pile. My husband and I decided that it would actually be a great learning experience for the whole family. The kids really loved getting involved in this one. Again, one of the many benefits of homeschooling.

What is Compost?

Compost is an organic matter, usually garden debris, that has been allowed or encouraged to decay. To be a successful organic gardener, you will want to take advantage of the benefit of using a compost. It is useful in improving fertility and texture of planting beds and is an important constituent of greenhouse and potting soils. Its nutritive qualities depend on the fertilizers and other nutrient-containing materials added to the compost pile as it decomposes.

The value to the average gardener of a composted supply of humus is hard to beat, and most amateur gardeners today compost in some form. Compost to which nutritive elements have been added is used as rotted manure is used; compost that isn’t enriched is used as humus only. The best-quality garden loam for all purposes includes one-third humus. It makes the soil spongy, airy and light, and retentive of moisture. Sandy soils lacking humus allow rainfall to wash the nutritive ingredients down and out, and a clay soil without humus will bake so hard it is almost impervious to water and to the rootlets trying to work their way toward food and moisture.

Anything organic left to the elements will compost (decompose). Leaves, grass clippings, plant tops, straw, old hay, and sod are some of the materials you can use to make compost. Many gardeners have made it a practice to add humus in the form of raw organic materials – weeds, for instance – to the soil without composting them, by digging them into borders and around plantings. One of the best ways of doing this is with a rototiller. For most people, renting one is the best option.

The practice does add humus to the soil, raw organic matter causes soil bacteria to speed up their activities. This robs the soil of nitrogen and often causes the leaves of the growing plants around to yellow. It is better for the plants to remove weeds to the compost heap and return them to the soil when they have become compost. Leaf mold and peat moss are two forms of organic matter that can be added to the soil without composting, as they are already composted. If you plan on doing some landscape improvements to your yard, don’t just think about the great new retaining wall ideas you just saw in Better Homes and Gardens, focus on the basics first. Every home owner should have a good size compost pile in their backyard.

How to Build Your First Compost Pile

There are several methods to build a compost pile. A simple leaf pile, or a series of them located at convenient points around the garden may be encased in 15 ft. or so of snow fencing wired into a circle. In time, about two years or more depending on your weather, the leaves will turn into compost without any effort on your part. Miscellaneous leaves composted provide an excellent source of supplemental potting humus, but little in the way of nutrients. Beech and oak leaves are acid, and after composting are excellent additional humus to place around acid-loving broad-leaved evergreens.

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