Coping With Nocturnal Enuresis (bedwetting)

With five kids, it is probable that we’d have a bed wetter. Our son C is six years old and for most nights of his life, has wet the bed almost every night

We have tried the following things to cope with this problem:
•pull-ups, rubber pants, cloth pants for older kids
•limiting fluids after a certain time
•waking in the middle of the night to use the bathroom
•chuxs and or bed pads
•resignation

I was beginning to think that he would be wet until high school. It was highly embarrassing to him (particularly since his twin is dry all the time). We are just beginning the age of sleepovers and boy scout camp outs, and I didn’t want him to have to be ashamed. Unfortunately, my friends didn’t have any enlightening answers either. I also didn’t want this to become a millstone such as the 12-year old who wets the bed. My stepson was such a child, and it was painful for him. I figured that if we could fix it now, all the better.

One day while perusing Amazon for pull ups (again), my search engine directed me toward some new items. One of these articles was the TheraPee program. I tend to trust Amazon reviews, especially the reviews that did not receive money for their evaluations. I was blown away by the price tag (it’s over $200.00), but the reviews were fantastic. I filed it onto my wishlist.

Time passed, we went through more and more dollars of pull ups, laundry and reusable bed wetting pads. I had some Amazon credits and a recent VA back pay, so I bit the bullet and purchased the Therapee program. I DID NOT receive money or this product for free. To say I was nervous is an understatement, especially after spending so much money.

Here’s how it works:

For the price tag, you get the Therapee alarm pad. It looks like this:

therapee

There is also video coaching in which a therapist talks to your child. This is bi-monthly, and although it is prerecorded it is related to your child’s progress.

Additionally, there is an online progress chart that we complete nightly.

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The Therapee alarm goes under the bottom sheet. It’s a pretty sensitive signal, and the sensitivity can be adjusted. At first, we had it going off when C was sweating, but we changed the sensitivity. The monitor (displayed in the photo), sits on his dresser next to his bed. The device allows for setting alterations.

But it’s not about the alarm alone.

First, the doctor had C work on controlling his urine stream. He practiced stopping the flow during urination and then releasing it again.

He also works on opening and closing his eyes rapidly. This helps to modify his Spinal Galant reflex. I had no idea that vision therapy could help bedwetting. Here is an article describing vision therapy.

This program has been a complete game changer!

We are in our second month of treatment.

The difference is evident in the charts.  Blue stars represent dry nights. Red stars occur after three consecutive dry nights. What you can’t see in the image is the nights without stars (wet nights) have an expandable menu that you type in the hours period of wetting, the wetness measurement and if the child woke on his own. Every two weeks we check in with the therapist and get a new assignment to practice.

My son feels he can now proudly sleep away from home. I see such a difference in his confidence. To me, that is priceless!

Some caveats:

  • This program is not for children younger than 4.
  • You have to follow the program. Use the online chart daily.
  • Children older than 12 might not be as excited by the rewards system visual as my 6-year-old. I believe there is an older child program. Contact the program for more information.

This post contains an affiliate link. An affiliate link is a link to a product I like and trust on Amazon.

Tomato Pie

It’s the time of year when there is a bumper crop of tomatoes. We had to wait a long time for them as the weather was unusually wet and cool this spring. It took them a little longer to get into the swing of things.

tomatoes
Here in Pennsylvania, there seem to be two kinds of tomato pie. One type is like a Sicilian pizza without cheese and is delicious, and the other kind is the southern style. As my husband is a Texan, he prefers the Southern style pie. Both are delicious and easy to make.
Let’s start with the pie dough. It’s a savory pie crust, so I went ahead with a simple shortening crust.
pie-dough
I used to make this in the food processor, but after watching the Great British Baking Show, I’ve learned the benefits of doing this by hand. It is much flakier. (If you haven’t looked at the show,  the episodes are on YouTube, and you will be happy you did)!
Here are the steps to the pie dough:
Just a few notes:
I use ice water as my water option. Only add as much water to make your dough come together as a ball. The dough should not be soggy.
I roll out between sheets of well-floured sheets of waxed paper. Then I wrap the dough (and wax paper) around my pin to transfer it to the pie plate. Peel off one layer of paper, place the naked layer onto the pie plate and then peel off the other side. I use the dinner plate to help me neatly trim the excess dough. I blind bake my pie crust for the tomato pie with beans.
Now the pie:
First blind bake your pie. The hyperlink has are the most detailed instructions.
tomato-pie

After you chop your ingredients, let the tomatoes drain for about 20 minutes in a colander. If you want, you can de-seed them.

Then simply layer the ingredients in the pie.

Start with tomatoes, basil, onion, salt and pepper followed by more of the same until the pie is 3/4 full. Top it off with the cheese mixture. This recipe has many variations. I’ve added bacon if I have it on hand. I think I might experiment with different cheeses; such as jarlsburg, fontina or gruyere.
After my time stationed in the Carolinas, I’m partial to Duke’s mayonnaise. However any type will suffice (as long as it is not fat free or light).
The decision is yours. Enjoy the last fruits of summer!
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Hoover-Mason Trestle & National Museum of Industrial History

We visited the latest Smithsonian Museum, the National Museum of Industrial History. It has been years in the making, and we were so excited to check it out. Located on the site of the former Bethlehem Steel, which is a very appropriate location for a museum that deals with industry.museumDSC_0112 (1)

steel windowThe building opens with large machinery and a exhibit that focuses on the machinery that was exhibited at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibit of 1876.machines 1

wheel

There are helpful volunteers everywhere, and they are more than happy to tell you about the machinery in the building and how it functions. It would be an engineer’s dream. I must admit I was more than a little disappointed about the lack of in-depth exhibition about Bethlehem Steel. The baskets in the photo below held steel workers’  belongings in the plant. There was not a lot of discussion about it other than the work pioneered in the Steel research labs (Homer Labs) and photos of the workers.

stell basket

There was an interesting showcase about the development of propane gasses, from an industrial by-product to a fuel source. I loved the “hot air balloon” ride which takes viewers virtually over a propane plant as if you are in a hot air balloon.

I also appreciated the mention of the dangers of child labor that was part of the Silk Mill exhibits. The Lehigh Valley was once home to dozens of silk mills, many of which, employed children. child workers

Included was a map of the locations of silk mills throughout the area and audio recording of former employees talking about their jobs in the factories. They had the actual machine from the Laros Mill that was used to manufacture fabrics for the White House.jacquard machine The exhibit also illustrated different parts of the silk weaving process, from bobbins to the finished product.silk bobbins

All in all, it was a fascinating museum. There is room for improvement. I would love to know about the workers’ lives in depth as well as a discussion of the ethnicities of the employees. I would also like to know more about the role of women and children as industrial employees. I think the museum is off to a great start, although it is small, especially by Smithsonian standards.

Since we were at the site of Bethlehem Steel, we spent some time walking among the buildings.building1

As I remember the Steel throughout my child as an operational plant, it is weirdly eerie to see the building empty. That is not to say the site is unused.  Much of the site has ben developed into Steel Stacks, a concert and performance venue. They have everything from the Frank Banko Ale House Cinema, an outside concert event area, to restaurants. The stacks themselves are just stunning. Don’t miss the opportunity to walk on the Hoover-Mason trestle which is an elevated pedestrian walk way above the steel compound. From this vantage point, it is possible to see the remains of a great steel plant in action. The view is fantastic. Make this a must visit for any tour of Bethlehem, PA.

steel building

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You can read about the botanical gardens on the trestle walkway here.

Back to School!

Today is the first day of first grade for my sons. It is also the first day of pre-K counts for my daughters. This mom is so excited! They will have a great academic year and I will get projects completed. boys first day

Today I celebrate with lunch with a friend and a special pedicure.

 

 

 

 

Stop With the Veterans’ Push-Up Campaign Already!

If you are at all active on Facebook, no doubt you have seen the campaign of people doing push ups to raise awareness for the need for mental health resources for veterans.

If you haven’t, people are posting photos of themselves doing push-ups for 22 days and tagging a different person to challenge them to the same campaign and so on…

This campaign does nothing for veterans except to prove that the person posting the photo can do a push-up.

Studies vary about the actual rate of veterans suicide, and it depends a lot on which population you examine. It’s a statistics issue and an extrapolation discussion. However, there are some common themes that we should take a look at:

  1. The number of younger veterans seeking mental health services is higher than it has ever been in history. The veterans we see today in therapy do not have greater issues than veterans of other conflicts. As a culture, there has been a growing public awareness about the importance of seeking therapy. Additionally, we screen our veterans at every turn (pre-deployment, post-deployment health screenings, for example). If you are on or have been on Active Duty for the past five years, you can’t turn around without receiving some screening questionnaire every six months. Our younger veterans, in many cases, have been taught about the value of mental health services and expect to use them.
  2. In spite of the Department of Defense’s constant efforts, some Service Members and veterans still perceive accessing mental health services as a weakness. Many people are taught from the beginning to “tote their own ruck” and asking someone to share in their burdens is a sign of weakness.
  3. We are a military force that is overly reliant on medications. Please don’t take this as a rally against the use of antidepressants, anxiolytics, antipsychotics or any other psychiatric medication. My psychiatrist friends will always talk about the need for therapy IN ADDITION to drugs. However, most soldiers started on medications during their tours on Active Duty have learned that medications are partially the answer to reducing physical or emotional pain. As with the civilian population, prescriptions don’t mix well with recreational drug, and alcohol use. While we may try to institute one prescriber programs while the service member is on Active Duty, life sometimes requires multiple prescribers in the civilian world and overdoses, and medication interactions occur, sometimes with catastrophic outcomes.
  4. There are just not enough skilled civilian and military resources to meet the current demand for mental health treatment. Skilled is the operative word. Over the years, I’ve heard Service Members recount some hair-raising stories on the range of behavioral health providers they’ve encountered in their quest for treatment. Good providers are frequently booked for months out and for many if they get care, it is the luck of the draw on what they can access and most importantly, afford. Many therapists do not take third party insurance, and so it becomes an access issue waiting for an appointment at either a military treatment facility that accepts retirees (many do not) and waiting for a VA provider.

Doing push-ups does nothing to provide services for veterans. All it does is makes the poster feel better about themselves.

Here are ways you can really help.

  • If you are a licensed behavioral health provider, consider donating one session per day to a veteran in need. Service matching programs such as Give an Hour match providers with patients who are in need of services. If you are not a mental health provider, you can still volunteer your services to help or pay for a session as a charitable donation..
  • Support services such as the Veterans Crisis Line. Consider sharing their services as a Facebook meme, a banner on your blog or in your twitter feed.
  • You can save your arms. Donate twenty-two dollars to services mentioned above, the USO, the VA or to any other vetted program that serves veterans. With more funding comes more access to providers which translates to access to care.
  • Reach out to the veterans in your social circles. People may not always tell you they are struggling in conversation but if you notice their social media posts seem sad, angry or detached, message them and check in.
  • Take time to listen and be present. Do not constantly look at your phone, watch or any other distraction. Listen. Ask reflective questions. Check in. It’s okay to ask if they know how to access care. I can’t tell you how many clients over the years were turned around by one real conversation with someone who they felt cared.

Be brave, reach out, support our veterans.

Service Members need more than words, selfies and push ups to get through this crisis, they need action.

 

Farm Stand Peach Cobbler

I’m lucky enough to live down the road from Scholl Orchards. They’ve been a longtime Bethlehem, PA staple. Their farm stand encompasses both the orchards and their farm out near Hawk Mountain. They are open daily from July on and then drop back hours into the Fall months.  It’s a delight to go and choose my produce knowing that it is locally gown with care by people who are warm and welcoming. You always know what is fresh by keeping an eye on signs out by the road.

scholl

fruit stand

I’m a regular shopper here, and I was able to coax Martha (one of the Scholl family members) into sharing a favorite recipe with me (and she gave permission to share it here, too!

peach cobbler

Here is the step by step:

Start with some Scholl’s peaches. They are all delicious but ask Martha or her mother, Faith Scholl to give you some pointers on choosing the best ones for this dish.

peaches and flowers

Preheat your oven and melt your butter. I do this in the microwave using a microwave-safe dish.

butter dish

Slice your peaches. You don’t need to peel them

peaches

Mix all your dry ingredients together.

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Add the sliced peaches on top of the melted butter

Then add the batter on toppeach batter

Bake for 40-45 minutes

finished peaches

Serve ( I added some vanilla ice cream on the side). My vanilla ice cream came from another Bethlehem institution, Bethlehem Dairy Store (the Cup), over on Linden street

finished peach crisp

I hope you’ve enjoyed this small dollop of Bethlehem, PA food culture. If you’ve eaten at Scholl’s, I’d love your comments about this amazing place.

flowerssadie

Sadie (in the truck) is a 5th generation Scholl employee!

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Fabulous Floor Cloths

I used to have beautiful rugs.

Did I mention I have 5 kids, 2 cats and a dog?

When I moved into our current home (AKA “the Money Pit”), I bought a gorgeous sisal rug. Within 5 days, one of my children vomited on the rug. Hello stain, goodbye rug.

Enter floor cloths. I Pinterest hunted for tutorials but couldn’t find the right one. So I came up with my own. Unlike cloth, I used linoleum as my base as it is heavy. It does not need to be anchored using rug tape and does not curl up on the edges.Did I mention it’s also extremely  durable?floorcloth

It’s pretty easy and very economical. This is my “rug” after 9 months of hard use. I clean it with a mop and bucket.

You will need:

  • linoleum ( I use the cheapest, ugliest linoleum at Lowe’s the local big box store). For this project, it needs to completely flat, not embossed or grooved unless that is part of your design element. You can cut it in any size or shape you wish.
  • Stix primer. This will eliminate the need to sand your linoleum.

  • Flat napped roller and paintbrushes of your choice
  • Paint. I find latex works best and I use the type used for walls. Just like walls, the higher quality paint leads to fewer coats which is essential if you plan to stencil. I like to use craft paint such as Martha Stewart, Plaid or Tulip paints for fine details.
  • Non Yellowing polyurethane (water based) like Varathane
  • Brush cleaner, paint tray, painters tape, tack cloth.
  • Stencils if you wish to use them for your design. I especially like the stencils from Cutting Edge Stencils

Steps

  1. Wash your linoleum with the floor cleaner of your choice and let air dry. Note:  Finding a relatively kid free place to work is key. You want your masterpiece to dry where it won’t be stepped on.
  2. Cover the entire piece of linoleum with Stix. Make sure it is well coated and is opaque so the original linoleum color is NOT showing through.
  3. Add your base coat design if using a stencil. Steps two and three are the easiest because you can just use a roller. Again, let air dry.
  4. Then I begin to tape off borders if I am using them and use my stencils. I do not use stencil adhesive spray, I prefer to hold the stencils in place or I use painters tape to hold the stencil firm.
  5. When dry, add additional colors to your design, making sure to let each coat dry thoroughly between colors.
  6. Touch ups as needed. When everything is bone dry and correct (this may take several days), I use  tack cloths to clean my linoleum before sealing with two coats of poly. I have also found that if there are mistakes after I’ve sealed, I gently paint over the error with a little brush and then reapply poly with a foam tip brush.

You are done! You have a new floor cloth!

Here is the price breakdown for my rug above:

linoleum: $45, paint base coat free (leftover from another project), 1 quart Benjamin Moore paint $20, Stix  $20, Poly free (leftover from another project). My rug is 9 x 12 and was $85.00

Here are some images of a gift floor cloth for my son’s teacher so you can see my stencil steps. Have fun. it can be very addictive. Soon you will find all kinds of uses for floorcloths!

 

 

Stocking Your Medicine Cabinet

We had an incident the other night that involved one of my twin boys. He had his thigh cut open and required 11 stitches to close the wound. It was one of the moments I was grateful I had Army medical training. There was screeching and blood was everywhere. I was also thankful for an former ER nurse husband who very calmly scooped up my son, expertly wrapped the wound and said, “ER now, stitches needed.”

My son is now fine and proudly says, “I’m going to have a scar for the rest of my life!” Boys.

But it got me thinking. We have a fairly well stocked medicine cabinet and thanks to Army Medical Command, a lifetime supply of Motrin.

I asked my nurse friends what constitutes a well stocked medicine cabinet for home use. A few referred me to the Red Cross web site and although I thought it was a good basic list, it needed some expanding. Here is a revised list that is calculated for a family of four. You can adjust up and down depending on your needs.

Bandages:

  • 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
  • 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
  • 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch) or silk tape.
  • Coban or self-adhesive dressing (Very helpful if you need to add pressure to a wound)
  • 4×4 and 2×2 sterile dressings.  (The ones that are individually wrapped are sterile.)
  • Tube of antibiotic ointment like bacitracin or neosporin.
  • 0.9% Saline for flushing wounds to remove foreign bodies such as Amerigel
  • Soap and water for cleaning all wounds. (Never cleanse wounds with rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide or iodine as it can damage underlying tissue and delay healing.)

Antipyretics:

  • Children’s Motrin and Children’s Tylenol. These can be given alternatively to keep children’s fevers down. Check with your pediatrician for dosages.
  • Adult Motrin…200mg tablets.
  • Adult Tylenol

Gastrointestinal:

  • Imodium
  • Pedialyte (can be given to children and adults). We keep ours in the fridge as it tastes much better cold.
  • Pepto-Bismol- works for both upset stomach and mild diarrhea.
  • Candied ginger or mint tea for nausea. (We swear by candied ginger)

Allergies:

  • Adult Benadryl
  • Children’s Benadryl (again check with your pediatrician on dosages)
  • Cortaid or topical itch cream (Hydrocortisone 1% ointment).
  • Zyrtec (Cetirizine)  is a non-drowsy anti-histamine similar to Benadryl
  • Cornstarch (used for chafing and as a first line of defense against contact dermatitis before using the topical itch cream)

Good to Have Items:

  • 1 space blanket
  • 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
  • 1 instant cold compress & 1 instant heat compress (more are better)
  • 2 pair of non-latex gloves (size: Medium unless you have huge hands)
  • Children’s nasal syringe. I really like the nosefrida for kids under 4
  • Nasal saline spray like Simply Saline
  • Rubbing alcohol wipes for cleaning thermometers.
  • Scissors
  • Headlamp
  • Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
  • Oral Medication syringe with child medication administration
  • Sam splint
  • Ace bandage
  • 2 triangular bandages
  • Tweezers

Thank you very much to Kurk Harris RN, BSN and Jenn Easley MSN, CRNP for their invaluable input to this list. Both Kurk and Jenn are Army nurses who are combat veterans of Iraq and in Jenn’s case, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bodacious Bean Burgers!

We at a lot of beans in my home. They are cheap, filling and healthy. In fact, my children, prefer beans to meat. Throughout this blog, I will provide different ways to enjoy beans. Another excellent bean resource is the Prudent Homemaker’s Post, How to Eat Beans Every Night.

I used to shell out money for frozen black bean burgers but now I just make my own and freeze them for a fraction of the cost.

I start with cooking black beans in my instant pot. You can use canned beans,  cook beans the traditional way in a pot on the stove or even use a crock pot. I like to cook beans in bulk with no seasoning so I can freeze the extras for other uses. I just weigh them out by the pound, put them in a zip lock and freeze.

So we’re off… I used half a bag of black beans covered with about 4 inches of water at 40 minutes on the manual setting on high with a natural release.instant pot

 

After the beans cook,  they will look like this beans anbd water

Put the beans in a bowl and add the egg, and the other chopped ingredients

ingredients

I then pour all the ingredients into a food processor and roughly pulse them together. Note, you don’t want a puree as it will be too loose.

mushed beanas

Add in your bread crumbs and seasoning.I used two slices of brioche to make my crumbs but you can use whatever you have on hand. The seasonings can be adjusted to your tastes…if you like a more piquant burger, double the sriracha. Our children prefer them more on the mild side but if I’m making them for adults, I spice them up.

beans bread crumbs

Gently fold the mixture together and place into mounds onto a silpat. Preheat your oven for 375 and bake for 10 minutes on each side.beans silpat

Here’s the recipe:

Bodacious Black Bean Burgers

16 oz of black beans

Preheat oven to 375 (190 C). Then can also be grilled at high heat so oil and preheat the grill if you wish.

1/2 pepper ( any color, your choice)

1/2 onion

1 TBSP minced garlic

1 egg

1 TBSP chili powder

1 TBSP cumin

1 tsp sriracha

1/2 cup bread crumbs ( bread of your choice)

Bake for 10 minutes on each side or grill for 8 min for each side.

Eat and Enjoy !


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