Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Let's Celebrate Tiny Prints Birthday!

It's Tiny Prints Birthday (this is an affiliate link)! And they are celebrating by giving their customer's 30% off of everything now through March 4th! Their birthday celebration is something that all companies should celebrate, including mine--Melissa Productions (this is my company's Web site, which I hope you will check out. I write and illustrate children's books)!

I usually don't celebrate other company's birthday's unless I work for them. But I love the quality of Tiny Prints cards and I know a lot of my friends use them, so I thought it would be great for me to share why.

Quality (and, I have to be honest, price) is so important to me being a small publisher. And when I get a greeting card or invitation in the mail, I always turn it over to see who printed it. Then I visit their Web site and check out their pricing to see if the quality is worth the price. So far my favorite card company's are Tiny Prints and Shutterfly for quality and pricing. And I know at Christmas time, many of my family and friends use both.

If you're not familiar with Tiny Prints top-notch, classy stationery, you should be. Whether you need birth announcements, graduation party or baby shower invitations, photo iPad cases or notebooks, and any of your personalized stationery needs, Tiny Prints has it all.

What I like most is that all of their products are customized to your needs. You choose the photos and text to add to their awesome designs and impress the recipients.

So far this has been their best deal of the year!

Visit them now (this is another affiliate link) and choose from any of their products and when you check out, use the promo code BDAY10 to save 30%.

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Kid Paintball Birthday Party Was A Hit!

A couple of months ago, my oldest son asked if he could have a paintball birthday party. Immediately a vision of my husband ten years prior showing me his large-size paintball welt popped into my head. Without hesitation, I said, "No way!"

Like most kids, my son didn't stop asking. So I researched the sport, looking into what the appropriate age was for a kid to try paintball and how hurt they got. Some said sixteen years old was the best age. Other's said twelve. And then a few said ten. My son was turning eleven, which was on the border. Since he and his friends were above average in size, I felt a little more at ease if  we did throw him a paintball birthday party. As for getting hurt, again some said yes it hurts and then others said it felt like a quick sting and then the pain eventually faded. All reviews mentioned that the key to playing the sport was to wear appropriate clothing to cushion the paintball pellet blow.

After quite a few in depth discussions with my husband, we decided to go for it. But with one condition, only kids were allowed to play. My husband was a bit bummed.

Four weeks before my son's 11th birthday, I sent out an Evite. Strangely enough, some of my son's friends' parents didn't get the Evite invitation, which I wasn't aware of until a week before his birthday. Thank heavens, only one out of ten, had made other plans. Next time, I may try the traditional route by sending out Tiny Print invitations.

I don't want to bore you with all the party details. Instead, I want to share how much fun the kids had and what I would do differently.

Scheduling the event:
Do not purchase a Groupon. The day of my son's party, the paintball sports place had to decline all people who came in with Groupon's because they didn't have enough equipment such as paintball guns, padding, and head gear.

Instead, purchase a birthday package to guarantee the kids will be able to play. Our birthday package included our own personal combat field and referee. We also had a choice of having 1 1/2 hour of paintball with a table for a party or 2 hours of paintball game time. I selected 2 hours because there was a picnic table outside that we could use afterwards for celebrating my son's birthday. What it didn't include was the paintball pellets. We went through two boxes which is about 2000 paintballs for 11 kids. Well, actually 9 kids because two elected not to play any more after the first game.

What kids should wear.
I highly recommend long-sleeve shirts, long pants, and knee high sports socks. I also would suggest that they wear another shirt or t-shirt under their long-sleeve shirt to cushion the paintball hit.

Make sure you review the rules several times with the kids.
We had eleven kids at the party. And all eleven immediately forgot the rules as soon as they stepped onto the field. We had to pull them off several times to remind them of critical rules such as:
  • Do NOT fire your paintball gun at anyone unless they are at least 20 feet away.
  • Never take off your helmet/face mask during paintball combat.
  • Always hold your paintball gun facing down when not playing.
  • Do NOT walk off the combat field with your paintball gun.
  • Make sure they hold the paintball pellet container properly and close the cap. We soon learned how easy it was for paintball pellets to spill out of them. Once a paintball pellet hits the ground it's non-usable. The kids had to have dropped at least a fourth of the paintball pellets we purchased. Learning lesson for us!
I would highly recommend reviewing the rules at home several times beforehand.

Have something for the kids who don't want to play any longer to do.
We had two boys opt-out of playing after the first game. One got hit on the hand, which caused it to bleed and swell a little. The other got hit on the side and didn't like the stinging feeling of the pellet. They ended up watching the other kids play.

Be prepared for welts on your legs and arms, possibly a little blood if it hits your hands, and ringing of the ears if it hits the side of your helmet. You may even end up tasting a little of the paintball pellet. (Paintball pellets are non-toxic and are made out of vegetable oil, glycerin, food coloring and gelatin.)
Nine out of eleven kids really enjoyed playing paintball. And all nine were hit and experienced one or all of the following:
  • Welts. They sting and bruise up. All of the kids were prepared for it. I think if you put two layers of clothing on, you won't feel it as bad.
  • A little blood. The paintball hit my daughters hand, causing it to bleed. She said it stung, but it didn't stop her from playing. She went right back in.
  • Ringing of the ears. One boy said that every time the paintball hit his face mask, his ears had this ringing sound in them.
  • Tasting the paintball pellet. One boy had the paintball hit the mouth area of the face mask. It ended up splattering into his mouth. He said it stung a little and tasted awful.
Overall, the kids had a blast and they left having one of the best experiences of their lives. Two of the kids (my boy and girl twins) were 9 1/2 years old and they loved playing. They are above average in height.

Oh, lastly. We discovered that it is important to teach the kids how to hold their paintball gun pellet cartridge properly because they can lose a lot of paintball pellets if they don't. They end up spilling out. Once a paintball pellet touches the ground, even if it never blew up, it is unusable. You purchase the paintballs. Taking your time pouring them into the cartridge container and then holding it correctly will save you money.

Friday, February 21, 2014

My Type 1 Daughter Treated Herself For Wrong Blood Sugar

This morning, as I was getting the kids ready for school, I noticed I hadn't filled out Madison's type 1 diabetes sheet that lists her blood sugar for breakfast, total carbs she ate, and the carb count for her snack and lunch. I nonchalantly asked her what her blood sugar was. She told me 156. As I was writing the number on the sheet, she then told me that she might have changed it on her meter and given herself insulin for a blood sugar of 212. My eyes basically popped out of my head.

I really thought Madison was joking, but then I checked her meter and she did treat herself for a blood sugar of 212. All I thought was, when the heck is this disease going to become less stressful?

I actually left her as is and didn't give her anything to eat because I wasn't sure of the numbers. Even though Madison said she increased her blood sugar reading on the meter to 212, I wasn't 100% sure she really did. It just didn't seem realistic that she would have done that. Yet, she was so sure that she did. And there was no history or log that I could find within the meter that showed otherwise.

Instead, I emailed her teacher and the nurse to give them a heads up on what had happened and to watch her. If she would have given herself too much insulin, her blood sugar would have been lower than normal in the morning. It's 12:30 pm, and I guess everything must be fine because no emergency texts have come my way.

The more freedom I give my nine year old daughter to check her blood sugar and give herself insulin, the more I realize how easy it is to make mistakes using her current meter and insulin pump. She can easily change her blood sugar reading result. She can easily change her settings without a parents approval or password. She can easily give herself more insulin or less insulin. And she can easily prime the insulin pump, which could kill her.

I'm disappointed in the lack of safety protocols on my daughters insulin pump. Mistakes like this shouldn't easily happen. I know the technology has significantly advanced, since the 50's. But as a mom, wanting to give her daughter more freedom and control in managing her blood sugar, her current meter and pump doesn't give me the confidence that she will be safe.

Madison presently uses the Animas One Ping. I love it because of it's wireless ability. You can bolus your child wireless using the meter. It's heaven, especially when you are out in public. You don't have to pull out her insulin pump to give her insulin. Instead, you do it straight from the meter. But there are downsides like the meter not communicating with the insulin pump and only partial insulin delivery goes.

I'm sure every meter and insulin pump has it's positive and negatives. I'd love to hear your experiences with your meter and insulin pump. Right now we're looking into the Dexcom G4 CGM (continuous glucose monitor) and Medtronic.

Monday, February 17, 2014

How To Manage Your Child's Type 1 Diabetes During A Basketball Tournament

We won! My nine year old daughter's U10 Girls Basketball Team won their tournament! They are the Charlotte Mecklenburg champions! And my daughter made two amazing baskets, which looked easy during the game, but truthfully hadn't been easy during the season because of her type 1 diabetes.
Figuring out her best blood sugar level for each of my daughter's sports hasn't been easy. For softball her blood sugar level seemed to work well in the low 200's. Soccer the same. And, I actually thought it was also a perfect number for basketball. But yesterday's basketball championship game proved me wrong.

Every game this basketball season, Madison's blood sugar has stayed steady in the low 200's. Usually around 211 - 226. And we worked hard to get it to that level by making sure she didn't eat certain foods such as pizza, meatball sub, pasta, rice, or a bagel before a game. Those foods keep her blood sugar high for a longer period of time, where she has a harder time focusing and concentrating.

During the game's, Madison appeared fine, blocking shots and trying to make shots. Every so often she would have a delayed response or a puzzled look on her face. I wondered if it was due to her blood sugar (type 1 diabetes) or her not understanding the play. But after yesterday's game, where her blood sugar was 126 at the start of the game, I'm starting to think her puzzled looks and inability to think quick on the basketball court had to do with her blood sugar being too high for this sport.

Madison was like a totally new basketball player on the court yesterday. She was leaping out of no where for the ball. She took shots and even got two in. I was so proud of her, yet so disappointed in myself that she played the entire basketball season with a blood sugar that was too high for her to really perform at her best. My husband and I have kept it higher, fearing it would drop fast and then she'd crash. I hate seeing her shake and her face turn pale when her blood sugar is low. It's scary for her and me. So keeping it higher is a much more comfortable zone for us. At least, I thought. But now I know differently.

Fastpitch U10 softball tryouts are this weekend. And I'm coaching, which gives me the opportunity to be hands on with her type 1 diabetes and do some trial and error. I'm going to try to keep her blood sugar around 130 - 150 for all games. I know that won't be possible all the time; especially because she always seems to go through growth spurts during the spring season and the heat causes her blood sugar to increase, forcing me to make lots of changes to her insulin levels. But I'm not giving up! And I hope every parent who has a child with type 1 diabetes doesn't give up too!

We as parents of children living with type 1 diabetes have a responsibility to teach your child how to eat properly and manage their disease so they can perform at their best academically, intellectually, and athletically now and continue into their adult age.

What I learned:
  • Don't feed the disease.
  • High carb foods like pizza, fried rice, pasta, and a bagel keep my daughters blood sugar high too long, causing her to not be able to perform at her best in school and sports.
  • A blood sugar of 126 worked amazing for my daughter during her basketball tournament. Of course, I was nervous the entire time, wondering if her blood sugar was dipping below 100. It didn't!
  • After a sports game, parents need to keep a close eye on their child's blood sugar because it takes hours for it to become stable again. In fact, last night, after my daughters basketball game (4:30 pm), we checked her blood sugar and it was 90, so we fed her dinner. At 8:15 pm it was 227.  I knew it was going to drop a little more, so I didn't treat it. At 11:00 pm, my husband checked her blood sugar and it was 60. He had to wake her up and give her a juice and a few peanut butter crackers.

Friday, February 07, 2014

ASTROLOGY NEWS: March Brings Opportunity In Career, Home And Public Image

Every year, there are certain time periods that are better than other's for closing deals, changing jobs, moving, getting a promotion, buying real estate, or opening your own business. The first opportunity this year comes the first week of March when Jupiter goes direct on March 6!

Jupiter is the planet of opportunity, luck and expansion. It rules higher education, publishing, law, spirituality, and foreign travel. It also loves animals! With it in the sign of Cancer, it will also affect areas of health, home, family, and emotions. For those trying to get pregnant, this is a great time! If you are looking to make a family trip overseas, Jupiter will be pushing you to make your reservations. But Jupiter may also be what is causing you to put on a few pounds, so watch out for those late night munchies.

Jupiter isn't the only planet changing direction the first week of March. Saturn is too and it's turning retrograde. Saturn rules public image, status, and career. Saturn is the planet that teaches us our lessons. It's known as the planet of karma.

Saturn turning retrograde will force you to take a step back and reassess your plans; especially around your career and home. Saturn will be retrograde from March 2 to July 20, 2014. Use this time to figure out what you really want to do. Create a plan and then execute that plan this summer! If you would like to go back to school, begin getting your finances in order now. If you would like to start your own business, begin researching, building a business plan, and execute that plan this summer. This is the time to begin restructuring your life.

Jupiter and Saturn can get the ball moving for you. Saturn encourages you to think practically, while Jupiter can make you do things overboard. If you take your time and think things through, these two planets can work in your favor.

Here's the not so great news. With both planets in a water sign, get ready for one last storm. In addition, we most-likely will be hearing big news in the media. And I'm praying it doesn't involve the Winter Olympics in Russia. But the timing of these two planets changing direction and the areas they rule and the signs they are in, could prove to be tragic.

In summary:
  • Watch out for overeating and over-spending
  • Plan and think things through
  • Keep an eye out for anyone who is depressed or taking drugs. Their mental state may not be in tact.
  • Monitor and manage your health especially when it comes to blood and stress level.
  • It's a great time to start your projects.
  • A swollen head mentality won't work this time. Be humble!
Feel free to share comments and questions!

Some of my children's picture and chapter ebooks are only 99 cents!
Hope you'll check them out!
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Monday, February 03, 2014

FDA approves pediatric use of Dexcom’s G4 Platinum continuous glucose monitoring system

Press Announcements FDA approves pediatric use of Dexcom’s G4 Platinum continuous glucose monitoring system

ASTROLOGY NEWS: Get Ready for a Frenzy February When Mercury Goes Retrograde

If you are looking for a change in your career or home, then March is the month! But before that, get ready for a frenzy February when Mercury goes retrograde from February 6 - 28th.

Mercury will move from the sign of Piscis to Aquarius during this retrograde, so watch out for liquids near your computer or dropping your phone in a puddle. Especially around Valentine's Day.

Mercury affects communication, emails, mail delivery, phone calls, and technology. And with it retrograde over Valentine's Day, I would confirm and reconfirm your restaurant reservations, gift deliveries and travel plans, because Mercury can and will create havoc for you.

Highlights of Mercury in retrograde for the month of February!
  • Watch what you say on Valentine's Day, because your words could create tears.
  • Confirm and reconfirm reservations and deliveries.
  • Drive slowly on slippery roads, because accidents are more likely during this time.
  • Keep all liquids away from electronics. And take your phone out of your pocket before you go to the bathroom.
  • Prophetic dreams are possible.
  • Power outages due to a wet-windy storm.
Also, pay attention to any unexpected news and messages, because they could turn out to be great opportunities when Saturn and Jupiter turn direction the first week of March!

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