Sunday, June 22, 2014

Seamore the Starfish

When I found out that a good friend of mine, Kristyn,  had written a book, I logged right on to Amazon and ordered it! I realize I don't have children, but how could I not support my friend?! Plus, the illustrations, and the meaning behind the book were incredible, and I knew it'd fit perfect in my library - and eventually my child's library. She used a website called CreateSpace, and was able to find an illustrator who brought her words to life.

When I received it, I was blown away not only by the colors that popped on the front cover, but by the moral of the story. This book is about a starfish who feels as if he doesn't fit in, but he realizes with a little encouragement, he can do anything he sets his mind to. It's a children's book that is purely about being uncomfortable in your skin, not being yourself, and being afraid of trying new things. It gives children the courage, determination, and motivation to be themselves and try things even if they fail.

From the website Seamore the Starfish:

"Seamore the Starfish is about a quiet little starfish worried about how he looks and about trying new things. He learns that with courage and confidence he can do anything he desires! Does he join the football team? Read on to find out about Seamore’s adventure with his friends, Rayna and Eli.

This children’s book is directed at children in grades Kindergarten through second grade, ages 4-9. Seamore’s message is one of being confident and not being afraid to try new things. It can be used in anti-bullying lessons as well, and guidance counselors will find it useful in their lessons of being proud of who you are and being comfortable in your own skin."

Kristyn is a first grade teacher and reading specialist, so she understands how important it is for children to read, as well as gain self-esteem as they grow. She is inspired by the beach and sea, which is where she got the inspiration to write this book! In DR and Costa Rica, divers found a starfish and let Kristyn play with it, from there her love for starfish only grew!

I was able to win another book on her blog - Creative with Kristyn - and she signed it for me. I knew I didn't need two books, so I gifted the unsigned one to my friend who just had a baby! She was so happy when she received it, mentioning how much she loved the colors and how vibrant they are, perfect to grab the attention of a baby. Instilling these lessons in our young ones is so important, and why not start early?

If you'd like to purchase this book check out Amazon - she has both the paperback and the Kindle version available!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Nursing Team Day Celebration - Partners in Care

If you asked me if I thought my job as a child life specialist is beneficial to not only the children who are hospitalized, but also the nurses who I work alongside, I would immediately respond - yes, of course! Though it has been a constant struggle to get nurses, let alone the general population, to truly believe that child life specialists help a child during their hospitalization, not only just for their toys and playroom, it continually gets better each and every day - and for that I am proud.

Just a few weeks ago we celebrated nurse's week at the hospital that I work at. We made sure we had raffles every day to give notice to at least one of the nurses, had patients and families fill out 'how their nurse helps them' slips, eventually hanging them up for all to see, and we ended the week with a huge luncheon. Child life specialists were invited to a nursing team day celebration, and we were told that we were nominated for the partners in care award - an award that signifies how helpful a healthcare professional has been to the nurses. We went down to the celebration, dressed in our best clothes and heels (definitely not something we wear on a daily basis). We entered in raffles, and enjoyed taking pictures with each other. As the awards were announced, I was in awe watching each and every individual go up to receive their award, especially one of our own pediatric nurses who has been there for 30+ years, and was noticed for her amazing leadership achievements. I was proud, and excited for our category to be called. We all became nervous when a similar category was announced and we did not receive the award. We kept listening, and upon hearing our Child Life Program being recognized, it all became a blur. I began shaking out of excitement, and nervousness as we walked up to be recognized. The lady who had announced us was speaking great things about our program, but I barely heard her as I was hugging and being congratulated by our pediatric nurses, and eventually those who are higher up.

We took pictures, and held up our glass award. It felt incredible to be recognized. Little by little more and more individuals are understanding what it is we do as child life specialists. It's one thing for people outside of the hospital to know what you do, and a completely different thing when those who are not around us in the hospital truly understand the benefits of child life. Our nurse managers handed us flowers, and congratulated us, laughing while they did it. I didn't understand why, until I heard that they knew the entire time that we had won. While we were told we were only nominated, the nursing staff was told we won. They had kept a secret, which is quite difficult to do when you work with many, many women.

After our nerves dissipated, we were finally able to eat, but we couldn't shake the excitement. The rest of the day we stopped everyone we knew just to tell them that our program had won. We did it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

DIY: Race Bib & Medal Holder

I am always inspired by the people I follow in Instagram, as anyone should be if they're following the right people. I follow those who lead a healthy lifestyle (at least most of the time), and these are, mostly, women who have numerous interests aside from working out, they're creative and generous, and I can even ca some of them my friends, even if we've never met. Recently I came about a picture of a homemade race bib holder, and I knew instantly where I would be headed that afternoon. I went off to Michaels where I bought supplies and thought up my own ideas for what I wanted my race bib holder to look like. Before I knew it I was at home painting, eventually waiting for the paint to dry while cooking dinner. The final product is something I'm extremely proud of and cannot wait to see hung up on my wall.

What You'll Need: 

Wooden board (your choice size and shape)
Chalkboard paint 
Gold wire 
Gold safety pins
Gold hooks 

Here's How: 

1. Start by painting your board with the chalkboard paint. Do one side first - when it dries after first coating, paint a second coat over. Once dry, flip it over and repeat.

2. Leave for a few hours, and once completely dry, push the hooks into the wood (use a hammer if necessary) - you may need to measure the distance between the two according to your race bibs. Add more hooks to the bottom for your medals.

3. Add a quote or saying to the top using your chalk.

4. Add bibs and medals, hang up, and be proud - but don't ever stop adding those bibs and medals.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Dinner at the Mohawk House

After seeing a friend's post about a great restaurant [Mohawk House] near me, I was intrigued. The food, the views, the atmosphere, it all seemed great. The next time Sal and I had a date night, I suggested it. Even though it took us awhile to get there because our GPS has failed us, we eventually arrived and had our car valeted. We were worried because we were not dressed for the type of place that valets cars, but after asking the man that parked our car, he assured us that we were fine.

We walked in and asked for a table for two, and was quickly brought to the left side, where we noticed right away that something was different. My friend's pictures that I saw had been dark, and what she had recommended wasn't on the menu. The atmosphere was clean and crisp where we sat, and I felt underdressed. We were served our bread, but I kept mentioning to Sal how out of place I felt, even though we could have had a perfectly nice dinner. It was expensive and I wasn't about to spend that kind of money on dinner, at least not when we've been trying to save for the future. 

I grabbed my phone out at the dinner table, something I never do when we're on a date and searched the restaurant's website. With one click I realized that there were two sides to the restaurant, and we had sat on the dinner side instead of the bar and lounge side. Sal worried about telling our waiter we wanted to switch sides because he would ultimately lose the table, but when I want something, Sal knows by now that it will be given. We kindly asked the waiter if we could sit on the other side and when we walked over there, I immediately relaxed, although not until we apologized to our waiter multiple times. The atmosphere was much calmer and enjoyable. We excitedly grabbed the menus, having heard a lot about the food, and ordered quickly. With a glass of wine in our hands we clinked glasses, because what's wine without celebrating something. 

We ordered the mussles to start which were out of this world. Thanks to Sal I've actually been eating mussels for a couple of years now... I don't know why I was so nervous to eat them - I mean if you pay not attention to what they look like, the taste is great! I got the chicken sandwich with an arugula salad for dinner, and Sal enjoyed the burger with fries. I took half of mine home to enjoy for lunch the next day. The food was delicious, and I would definitely go back.

We were mistaken in thinking that the restaurant was actually on the lake, so we drove to the lake nearby, the lake that we normally run our Turkey Trots next to, and found an ice cream shop. I most certainly enjoyed cookie dough ice cream, because I just can't ever resist ice cream... It's my weakness. We talked out in the chilly spring air until they started packing up the chairs, that's when we knew we had to head back home.

The whole car ride home we held hands; those are the nights I wish never ended.