Thanks Johnson & Johnson

Last week, I forgot to put a new bottle of shampoo in the shower for me, so I decided to use the kids’ shampoo, which this week happened to be John & Johnson’s baby shampoo for thick and curly hair (the light blue bottle).  BIG MISTAKE……HUGE!  Now, I’ve posted before about my past/present with food allergies, but NEVER in my life have I had a reaction like this.  The reaction is concentrated around my neck , chest, back and ears, with spots also on my forearms and the back of my hands.  I don’t know why this is the case since the shampoo ran down my whole back when being rinsed off.  I hope my new allergist, whom I will be seeing tomorrow will be able to tell me more because I certainly don’t want to use another product with whatever ingredients were in the J&J thick & curly shampoo.  And I certainly don’t plan on buying anything else from J&J anytime soon.  So much for it being dermatologist and allergy tested, which by the way it says in the description of the product.

Chest after allergic reaction to J&J baby shampoo (thick & curly)

Man, does this itch!

Left arm after allergic reaction to J&J baby shampoo (thick & curly)

Right arm after allergic reaction to J&J baby shampoo (thick & curly)

Normal Sized Ear

Somehow my left ear seemed to escape any reaction.  My right ear was not so lucky.  Anyone seen Hitch with Will Smith?  Yeah, that’s my ear!  It feels like someone has a blowtorch on it and is crushing it at the same time.  Sleeping on my right side is a real pain…..literally.  You can also see where it is starting to migrate onto my cheeks.

My angry allergic reaction ear

Back of neck after allergic reaction to J&J baby shampoo (thick & curly)

See that angry ear again in this picture???

Angry, Itchy, Painful neck after allergic reaction to J&J baby shampoo (thick & curly)

Needless to say that shampoo went right into the garbage.  I get to spend the next two weeks on steroids to make this rash go away and I’m praying that the allergist can tell me anything about this reaction tomorrow because I have no idea what caused it.

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Grace Fundraiser Update

Me Performing at the Coffeehouse for Grace

In case anyone was wondering, the Coffeehouse for Grace in which I performed a few weeks ago, went great.  It was a night of wonderfully amazing performances.  The evening was enjoyed by all and we were able to raise $1,650 for Grace’s Angels, the donation fund created to help the family with medical costs.

Me Performing at the Coffeehouse for Grace

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Potty Training Hell

I am officially in potty training hell.  My 3 year old, The Destroyer, absolutely refuses to use the potty.  I know, I know, I should wait until he’s “ready”, but he’s 3 and he needs to start nursery school in September where he must at least be in a pull-up working on using the potty.  Oh and did I mention the nursery school will NOT deal with poop.  If he poops, someone has to come down and change him.  UGH!.  A few months ago, I was ecstatic when he told me he wanted to wear underwear.  I thought, “Great!  No pull-ups.  Let’s go cold turkey.”  He peed his pants once and that was the end of the underwear.  He now screams bloody murder every time we try to put them on him.  Seriously.  I’ve tried everything - potty books, the potty seat, the bells & whistles potty, the reward bag, having CheezWaster (Who is the most supportive big brother EVER) go to the potty with him, having him watch CheezWaster use the potty and still my stubborn little boy does not want to pee anywhere but a diaper.  This week, there has been a slight glimmer of hope.  We found this book at the library called “Once Upon a Potty”.  On one of the pages, it tells you how different parts of the body, including the penis and butthole, are useful - eyes for seeing, ears for hearing, etc.  He loved that it showed a butt with a hole and described that your poop comes out the hole in your butt.  And when I say loved it, I mean finds it so hilarious that it is really the only reason he likes this book.  But, he will sit and read the whole things which talks about the potty, so if potty humor is going to do it, well then so be it.  I also got him to sit on the potty last night.  We have this potty from CheezWaster, who incidentally never used it as a potty (he was awesome and went straight to the regular toilet).  It sings a song when the pee or poop triggers the sensor.  It also does some other neat sounds, like the toilet paper roll sound and sings some other songs about the potty.  I was hesitant to bust this out since CheezWaster only used it to play and hear the songs, but, The Destroyer just doesn’t want to sit on the real toilet at this point.  So, last night he sat and sat and sat…..for a good 10 or 15 minutes.  He didn’t pee, but at least we got him to sit.  I’m taking this slowly since he seems traumatized by it already.  So, again tonight, we will try to sit and maybe even pee this time.  And when it gets a bit warmer in NJ, there going to be a lot of naked Destroyer butt running around.

FYI - This is the next potty book I’m going to pick up.  The boys love Leslie Patricelli’s books and the Destroyer particularly likes the funny scenes involving this baby (like the don’t beat up your brother with your toys scene in No No Yes Yes).

Oh and if you’ve got some good tips - I’m all ears!!!

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Lego Party

For CheezWaster’s birthday, we decided to throw a Lego-themed party.  We again chose our church fellowship hall as the venue since it is so spacious.  For the invitation, I found a picture online of a construction scene that someone created with Legos and birthday candles.   I made the invitations on Snapfish with the picture using the title “We’re building a Birthday Party for Cheezwaster’s 5th Birthday”.  
I wanted to have some Lego type food, but I didn’t want to go crazy with attempting to make food look like Legos.  I found this Lego Man Cookie Cutter online and it was perfect and simple. 

Lego Man Cookie Cutter

 I had full intentions of making this Lego Cake.  However, Betty Crocker found a way to screw me the night before the party.  Despite greasing up that pan, my cake middle somehow stuck and I was left with this cake disaster.

When Betty Crocker Screws You, Make Cake Ball Pops!

 So, I decided to make Cake Ball Pops.  No use in throwing away a mostly good cake!  I had fully intended to make these all yellow and then use edible markers to draw on Lego man faces, however, I left them in the freezer too long and the chocolate froze on so fast, that the texture was not smooth enough.  So, I just made them in yellow, red and blue to match the standard Lego colors.

Cake Ball Pops

To decorate the Lego Man cookies, I used  these awesome Icing Writers.  They made decorating so easy and I didn’t have to mix up any icing.  Plus, they tasted great!  I tried to make different versions of Lego Men for variety and presentation.

Lego Man Cookies

After searching the many fabulous Lego themed items on Etsy, I decided on this banner as part of the decorations.  I also got 2 food flags and cupcake pics which you’ll see in pictures further down.  PARTYonBOUTIQUE put everything together for me, because let’s face it, I don’t have time to do the party pack myself.  However, if you have the time and are crafty, you have that option as well.  FYI - they have a ton of great party sets for other themes, too!

Lego Themed Banner

 We chose again to host the party in our church’s fellowship hall.  The room is quite spacious and allows the kids and adults some freedom.  I set the tables up with tablecloths in basic Lego colors - red, blue, yellow and green.  We purchased latex balloons in the same colors from the local Party City and supplemented with a few Lego foil balloons which I purchased online.

The Table Setups

 I used MegaBlocks to not only act as a centerpiece, but as the balloon holders as well.  We made a little structure on each table and tied on the balloons.

MegaBlocks as Centerpieces/Balloon Holders

I had saved some of my boys’ lego tubs which made great chip holders and added to the Lego themed decorations.  I also had a few small Lego posters from the Lego Club Magazines which I hung around the food tables.

Lego Tubs = Serving Bowls

In light of the aforementioned cake disaster, we served a cake from Costco, as well as the Cake Pops, the Lego Man Cookies and regular homemade cupcakes (from a cake mix) decorated with custom Lego Cake Picks.

The Sweets

 I used Blokz Candles, which look exactly like Legos, for the Costco Cake.

The Birthday Boy

The first activity we did was a Lego Hunt (no pictures - kids too fast - sorry).  We layed out and hid lego pieces in a room and gave each child a cup.  Whoever found the most pieces won a prize.  We also hid 2 lego treasure chests and whoever found those got a prize.  The kids loved this and had a ton of fun, though, it was over super fast.

Because I’ve decided that until my kids tell me this game is lame, I’m going to make a custom Pin the Whatever On game for each party.  For this one, I made a Lego Man and the kids had to pin on the Heads.  I simply printed out large versions of some Lego Head graphics I found in Google Images.

Pin the Head on the Lego Man

 Then, the kids moved onto building Lego cars.  This was the main activity of the party.  We purchased pieces from the Lego Brick Wall at the Lego Store and crafted a basic Lego car.  I then had buckets of random Lego pieces so the kids could customize their cars.

Building Our Lego Cars

 To help the kids with directions, I took individual pictures of each step, had them printed as 5 x 7 pictures and put them on a presentation board which I tacked to the cork board so everyone could see it at once.

Lego Building Instructions

 My husband crafted the most KICK-ASS car race ramp based on a design which we saw at a Lego promo event at Toys R Us.  The top had a hinged piece so the kids could line up their cars and then raise the piece so they would all go down at once.

The Race Ramp

 We used a Lego Font to make the Start and Finish signs on the ramp.  The letters looked like they were made from Lego Blocks.

The Finish Line

For the goodies bags, which I unfortunately don’t have a picture of, I used these yellow bags.  I used a sharpie and made a simple Lego Man Face on the outside (Sharpies ROCK!).  I included a Lego book which I purchased through Amazon’s 4 for 3 promotions, some Lego Block Candy which I purchased at a local candy shop, but it also available online here, a copy of the most current Lego club magazine, which Lego sent me for FREE (Call their customer service, they are SO nice!), and a Lego Truck or Airplane set from the Lego Favors pack(which I happened to get on sale, for half price, on the Lego website.  I’ve also seen these favor packs at my local Toys R Us.  The kids also got to take home the lego cars they built.

All in all, I think everyone had a great time - boys and girls……even the adults who decided to sit down and channel their inner child and play with Legos.

For more Lego party ideas to fit your needs, search the internet.  There are a wealth of great Lego party sites out there that helped contribute to making this the great party that it was!

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Coffeehouse for Grace

My latest project is working on a benefit concert for my good friends’ niece.  I, along with a host of other fantastic singers and musicians will be performing in a Coffeehouse concert that will benefit Grace’s Angels.

Coffeehouse for Grace

Saturday, March 5, 2011

7:00 pm

First Presbyterian Church of Roselle 111 W 5th Ave. (Corner of Chestnut), Roselle, NJ 07203 

$10 Adult, $5 Child (refreshments included)

For ticket info or to purchase tickets email: Gracesangels7@gmail.com

Seating is Limited No tickets will be sold at the door. ______________________________________________________________________

On May 7, 2009 Grace Doran was diagnosed with T-cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma. This aggressive cancer formed a 9 centimeter mass within her lymphatic system that is pressing against her heart, her lung and her aorta. Grace has been receiving chemotherapy since May 7, 2009. The supportive staff of St. Christopher’s Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia and the family are still helping Grace fight. All proceeds of the coffeehouse will go directly to Grace’s Angels. Grace’s Angels is a donation fund created to help the family with medical costs.

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