Monday, April 28, 2014

Comfort Weighted Blankets are...well...COMFORTING!

I admit I was a little starstruck when I first met my lovely friend, Nicole.


Not only is she beautiful, she's got brains, warmth, and talent--a trifecta I sincerely admire.  Nicole's passion lies in helping women who feel lost in motherhood.  She helps them to realize they can have a unique identity, pursue their dreams, and still nurture their family fully.  She is the founder of MOMentity.com, an online community for mothers, and a columnist for Motherhood Matters on KSL.com.

AND, recently, she co-founded the company, "Comfort Weighted Blankets."

According to the website, "The weighted blanket produces what’s called Deep Pressure Touch Stimulation (DPTS), which is a sensory therapy.  It resembles the feeling of a firm hug, being held, or cuddled.  DPTS is believed to release the chemical Serotonin in the brain, which naturally calms and is nicknamed, “The Happiness Hormone,” even though it’s not actually a hormone.  This is why the weighted blankets really do help your anxious or angry child calm down.  Serotonin is thought to also help with sensory perception, and temperature regulation.  Serotonin transforms into Melatonin and it’s Melatonin that enables us to sleep well — yet another benefit we get from the weighted blanket!"

Weighted blankets help those with SPD, Autism, ADHD, restless leg syndrome, anxiety, and some sleep disorders.  My son, Camren, was recently diagnosed with a spectrum disorder.  He frequently feels anxious and has trouble falling asleep at bedtime.  I knew I had to try a blanket.

My dearest Nicole graciously sent Camren a blanket.  It is fabulous!  Super soft, machine washable, well-made, and darling.  Camren is obsessed with cars, so the fabric print is a perfect fit for him!


His new blanket has been an amazing source of therapy for him.  He sleeps with it at night and falls asleep faster then he ever did before.  We place it on his shoulders when he is upset or inconsolable.  He likes to put it on his lap when he's reading a book or watching a movie.  It has helped him so much!


Interested in trying a weighted blanket?  For your child or yourself?  Comfort Weighted Blankets is offering a coupon code for all Mama Leisha readers.  Use the code at checkout to receive 10% off your order!  The code is:  MamaL  It will be valid until May 31, 2014.

Thank you, Nicole!  Not only for the blanket, the discount code, your example, and your service...thank you for being my friend.

Happy Monday!


Instagram: @comfortweightedblankets
 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Favorite Things Friday: MASCARA

I am excited, I am excited, I am excited!

It's my very first installment of my monthly "column" (for lack of a better word) titled, "Mama's Favorite Things Friday."  And honestly, it didn't take me long to decide what to spotlight in this blog post.  In true "Mama Leisha form," I'm talking about makeup.  Specifically, mascara.

OH MY GOSH, have you tried Younique's Moonstruck 3D Fiber Lashes mascara?!?


It is beyond amazing!  In three simple steps you get lashes that look like falsies similar to those of the Hollywood bombshells of the 1940s.  (Think Hedy Lamar.) 


Use the "Transplanting Gel and Natural Fibers to help create the appearance of incredible thickness and volume to your existing lashes."

First, you coat your lashes with the gel.  Then you gently brush on the fibers.  One more coat of the transplanting gel after that, and you're done.  The end result is impressive, and your lashes look absolutely dreamy!

I tried the mascara and immediately fell in love!  Here are my before and after pictures:

Seriously, this mascara is one of my new favorite things!  (Dare I say I like it more than Benefit's "They're Real?"  I think I might!)  If you are interested in ordering some for yourself (and why shouldn't you treat yourself?) then I have a wonderful contact for you.  Her name is Nicole and she is as lovely as she is kind.  Visit it her at:  https://www.youniqueproducts.com/NicoleCaywood/party/159698/view

I appreciate her generosity in sending me mascara to try--you betcha, it's a product I will order from her again in the future!

Happy Friday!  Happy Lash Day!  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Support and Autism Awareness

I love the definition of the word, "support."

To bear the weight of, to strengthen, to hold in position so as to keep from falling, sinking, or slipping.  To hold up. 

April is Autism Awareness Month; a time to shed light and compassion on a mysterious and complex brain development disorder.  The world acknowledged autism on April 2nd in a World Autism Awareness Day.  That morning, I sent a group text message to my family, asking them to show their support for Autism awareness by wearing blue.  Taking into consideration the pervasive "selfie craze," I asked each family member to "snap a selfie" and send it my way.  The response was as beautiful and as heartwarming as a Mother's Day Hallmark commercial!  With every buzz, buzz of my phone, a most cherished and smiling face greeted me, as if to say, "I support you.  I support Camren."

This my dear readers, my dear sisters, my dear friends...this is what support looks like: 







Other friends and family members joined in and wore blue, too!  James wore blue to work.  My dear friend, Stacy, sent me a picture of her blue shirt and her pretty, smiling face.  I dressed all my children in blue.  It was an amazing and special day.


A publication put together by U of U's Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinic stated, "Although autism research is booming and early intervention has been shown to significantly improve language and social skills in many children, support for parents--who face huge challenges in getting their kids diagnosed, finding treatment and caring for them daily--is still lacking."  Support is huge.  Support is vital.

How can you more fully support a parent who has a child with a spectrum disorder?  How can you show support for that child?  Obviously the answers are as multifaceted as ASD itself.  There are books you can read, there are groups you can join.  There are classes you can take, there are websites you can visit.  Educating yourself is key; as the well known adage claims--knowledge is power.

But might I offer another idea?  Something simple and sincere, yet infinitely profound?  It's LOVE.

Love the child with the spectrum disorder.  Unconditionally.  Practice acceptance.  (And patience!)  Rather than frequently focusing on "what's wrong," or emphasizing how the child is "different," celebrate their special, unique quirks.  Rejoice in the small successes.  Appreciate their gifts.  Don't ever compare them to other children.  They have remarkable spirits beneath the surface of their neurodevelopmental disorders.  Truly, they are angels on earth.

Feeling unconditionally loved and accepted will help a child more than anything else.  (Remember to love and accept the child's caretakers too!)  Making a conscientious choice and a concerted effort to support a family affected by autism is one of the greatest and most glorious things you can do.  Strengthen them with your hearts.  Hold them up with your hands.  

There is power in that!

       

Thursday, April 17, 2014

...But It's More Important To Be Nice

I've been "noticing nice" lately.

It started at Cam's preschool.  There was this awkward moment when--after giving me stacks of forms to fill out and papers to sign--Cam's special education teacher held my hand.  I kind of pulled away but then wasn't sure what to do so I made my hand resemble a dead fish and did nothing!  But then I realized it was kind of nice to have someone care so much and so I held her hand back and I found myself feeling comforted and calmed.  Funny how "awkward" morphed to "okay."  It became the moment when I knew everything was going to be alright.


Later that afternoon, I ran into my looney neighbor.  I will spare you the sordid details of all his drunken stupors and unfortunate miscreations.  Nor will I recount the number of times his children have been in jail for drugs.  (A lot.)  All that "stuff" aside, I ran into him in our community's parking lot.  He asked me how my baby was doing and told me I looked "really good" for having "just had a baby."  I reminded him that I had actually had my baby more than six months ago. He looked surprised and I laughed to myself, knowing our "friendly neighborhood drunk" was...well...drunk.  A few seconds passed before he smiled at me and said, "Well!  You look great!"  He followed it with a, "Maybe you should go eat something."  I laughed and thought, "Aw, he was trying to be nice...and nice counts for something."

Nice matters.  Nice is important.  Nice is necessary.  (Especially in a world that is not so nice sometimes!)  Nice changes everything.



Right before dinner (and out of nowhere!), it became imperative to Lilly to deliver love notes to some of her friends who live on our small street.  Initially I sighed at the inconvenience of this project.  I had spaghetti to make and a baby to feed.  But instead I watched as she rounded up sheets of paper from various desk drawers; even snatching a couple from the computer's printer.  I watched as she drew hearts and flowers all over them, and included sweet sentiments like, "I love you," and, "I'm glad we're friends."  And lastly, I watched her skinny little legs (in pink polka dot tights and a green, flamingo-print skirt) walk from door to door to door.  I stood on my front porch and used my hand to shield my eyes from the end-of-the-day sunlight; I watched as she delivered her notes to her loved ones.

  
Because she needed them to know how she feels about them. 

I'm certainly not perfect, and truthfully, I'm not always nice.  I have been down and depressed.  I have been in dark places and on painful paths.  I have been grumpy, seeking to sulk like "Gloomy Ol' Eeyore."  I have known the struggles of being kind and happy in the midst of sorrow...

But I know I can try.  I can always try to be nice.  Every day.  To everyone.  And I can raise children who try, too.  They can learn it through my example.  I will have succeeded as a mother if I raise nice children.   

Because nice matters.




     


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Because Of Him

"Jesus is the Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer.  Because of Him, death is not the end, and life takes on new meaning.  We can change, we can start over—and we can live again with God.  This Easter, celebrate His life and discover all that’s possible because of Him."

 
Spring is a lovely time of year.  I enjoy the red tulips and the yellow daffodils that are starting to bloom. I adore the Easter holiday.  I love seeing children in their "Easter Sunday best."  I eat too many chocolate bunnies and hoard those decadent Cadbury eggs!  

But there is something infinitely more dear than the springtime flowers, the spiffy new church clothes, and the Easter candy.  Something far more precious and pure---the opportunity we have to celebrate the Savior.  His life.  His sacrifice.  His death.  His resurrection.  His beauty.

I know He lives, my friends.  And I know that once I pass beyond the horizon of my earthly mortality, I will live again too.  Because of Him, I will be reunited with beloved grandparents, uncles, and aunts who have passed on.  Because of Him, my ears will hear the music of my grandma's laughter once more.  Because of Him, my cherished friends--who have mourned painfully, suffered greatly, and have shed salty tears over the loss of their sweet fathers--will behold those men in glory and light, and remember how it feels to be embraced by them.  And because of Him, I will see my friend again.  I'll be able to touch her cheeks and look into her eyes when I tell her how much I love her.


 I know my Savior loves me.  I know He loves each one of you.  

We are family.  God is real.  We are His.
I hope you have a joyful Easter. 
       

Monday, April 14, 2014

giveaway

BYU Women's Conference is a two day event held in Provo, Utah, where tens of thousands of women come to be uplifted and inspired.  The two days are filled with classes that each touch on a different subject that may be something that you are going through in your life or need some help with.  There are classes ranging from depression, to tips to make your marriage more successful, to learning how to share your religion through social media.  There is something for everyone.

This year, the conference will be held May 1-2.  In addition to the classes being offered, there are some other fun highlights as well.  A favorite is the concert that is held Thursday night in the Marriot Center.  It is sponsored by Deseret Book and they are bringing in some amazing artists this year!  Mercy River, Hilary Weeks, Sandra Turley and so many others!

Another thing that is a highlight that hasn't been available in years past is the Sacred Gifts exhibit. It is a once in a lifetime experience and it's free.  Just make sure to reserve your tickets ahead of time and hurry because they are going fast!

Lastly, if you go to women's conference this year, be sure to take part in some of the amazing service opportunities that are offered.  It is truly an experience you won't want to miss out on.

Now that you know a little bit about what it is, how would you like to win tickets for you AND a friend?!  BYU Women's Conference is graciously offering to give away 3 sets of tickets so that 3 of you can go with a friend to the conference.  If you already purchased your ticket, never fear!  You will be reimbursed.  We would love for everyone to have this opportunity and I am thrilled that 6 of you will!  To enter to win, just use the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway will be open from today (4/14) until Sunday (4/20) and the winners will be announced and emailed on Monday (4/21).  Good Luck, and I hope to see you at Women's Conference!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Easter Craftin'!

I decided it was time to clean out my pantry.

And oh my goodness, you guys, I found some of the craziest, nastiest, and oldest stuff in the far-reaches of the topmost shelf.  In the very back, in the dark, where the mac n' cheese boxes lurk.  I filled two garbage bags with items several years past their expiration dates.  (Sadly, one of those items was a box of Funfetti cake mix.  How is it possible I didn't even use it!?!  I LOVE Funfetti cake.)

I did find a giant tub of gumballs.  I'm a sucker for gumballs.  I cracked open the lid, popped a bright-colored gumball in my mouth, and immediately spit it out.  It was stale; hard as a rock and impossible to chew.  As I looked at the gumballs--cheerful and perky shades of red, yellow, green, and blue--a thought came to me.  I could use those in a craft project.

It's not too late to "get your Easter craft on," and this project is VERY easy.


You will need a bucket.  I've seen them at dollar stores and at Target's beloved, "Dollar Spot."  You can also check your local craft stores.


Fill your bucket with that floral foam stuff.  I filled in the sides with crumpled tissue paper.


I am IN LOVE with the striped paper straws sold in party supply stores and some grocery stores.  (Props to Wal-Hell for carrying them in an assortment of colors.)  For this step, you need a straw, some tape or glue, and cute Easter scrapbook paper.  (I found my paper locally at The Wood Connection.)  Attach the paper to the straw with your adhesive.  I made three of these.


Stick your straws into the floral foam and start filling your bucket with the gumballs.




And viola!...You are finished!  Display it in a place where your young children won't reach it.  (Take it from me, they WILL try to eat those gumballs.)  Didn't it turn out cute?!  It makes me happy.

Speaking of "filling buckets," THANK YOU so much for filling mine!  You fill my bucket with your kind words and compliments, with your love and support, and with your friendship.  What would I do without you?!