Archive for December, 2014

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Merry! Merry!

What Parents Should Know About Earaches

2 out of 3 children will get at least one earache before their third birthday

Sponsored by
Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare – All Saints

It’s a common childhood complaint: an earache. Ear pain often heralds an ear infection — the leading reason children visit the doctor. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recently updated its guidelines for managing ear infections. Arm yourself with the latest about this frequent child illness.


The ear has three parts: the outer, middle, and inner ear. As you might suspect, the outer ear is everything you can see, plus the ear canal. The middle portion involves hearing; the inner part plays a vital role in balance.


Most ear infections attack the middle ear, specifically, the eustachian tube. It’s a structure that links the middle ear to the back of the nose. It drains fluid from the ear. When bacteria from an illness infect the tube, it swells up and blocks fluid inside. The result: a buildup of pain-producing pressure. Children often develop an ear infection after a cold, the flu, or another respiratory ailment because the eustachian tube becomes swollen causing fluids to accumulate in the middle ear. This fluid becomes a breeding ground for bacteria or viruses and if infected, will often trigger swelling and painful pressure. While an often painful condition, earaches rarely pose a significant health threat and are quite common among kids.


Key signs of earache in small children include pain and pressure, fever, temporary hearing problems, ‘stuffiness’ in the head, and may include some drainage from the ear. Among infants, look for signs of loss of appetite, irritability and crying. Playing or pulling on their ears as a standalone symptom is not a reliable source as kids will play with their ears for other reasons.


Wheaton 6762739 Doctor Ear Exam (2)To diagnose an ear infection, your child’s doctor will use an otoscope — an instrument with a lighted end. He or she will look at the ear drum for bulging or redness. The doctor may also test for fluid in the middle ear.


According to the latest AAP guidelines, treatment may include antibiotics. But your child’s doctor may first suggest waiting two to three days to see if symptoms improve. Ear infections can go away by themselves. Plus, waiting can protect your child from possible medication side effects. It can also limit antibiotic resistance — when bacteria become immune to the healing power of antibiotics.


Your child’s doctor may immediately recommend antibiotics if your child is younger than 6 months or has a severe ear infection. Medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help ease pain. Never give your child aspirin, as it has been linked to Reye’s syndrome. Also, applying a warm (not hot) heating pad to the painful ear can offer some relief.


If your child has reoccurring ear infections — more than four in a year — surgery may be best. Ear tubes implanted in the eardrum can help drain fluid from the middle ear.


The AAP counsels against using complementary and alternative medicine treatments for ear infections. These include plants like Echinacea and chamomile. Research on the effectiveness of these approaches is very limited.

Experts say that 75% of children will suffer an ear infection before age 3. To lower your child’s odds, follow these steps:

  • Keep your child up-to-date on vaccines. A yearly flu shot and the pneumococcal vaccine can prevent bacteria responsible for ear infections.
  • Avoid tobacco smoke. Children exposed to it tend to have more ear infections.
  • Put down the bottle. Studies have shown that breastfeeding for at least the first 6 months of a child’s life can lower his or her future chances for ear infections.
  • Teach your child proper hand washing. It can help stop the spread of germs.


Click on picture to learn more about earaches.

Click on picture to learn more about earaches.

For more information on earaches or other questions about your child’s health, call your child’s doctor. If you are looking for a doctor for your child, visit



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Home for Christmas?

Raiden pic 1

Raiden. Pre-diagnosis

Raiden’s Battle
Written by JAK guest mom blogger from
Turtle WI, Sara Smith

About 600 children each year are diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, the most common solid tumor cancer in children. Nearly 70% of those children will be at a stage four at time of diagnosis. This year my three year old nephew Raiden, from Salem, was one of them.


Neuroblastoma is a highly misdiagnosed cancer in the early days. As with most children in his shoes Raiden was having tummy pain and eventually swelling in his abdomen and limbs making it difficult for him to walk. It took months of emergency room visits and being told it was just constipation for them to be directed up to Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee and get a correct diagnosis. His doctors say they only see 4 cases of this a year and are hopeful for a good outcome, even though one child with neuroblastoma dies every 16 hours. Read more…


Raiden pic 2

Raiden with port well. Abdomen swollen post drainage of fluids.

Raiden is also a big brother. Odin is not even a year and a half old yet and his young family has fallen under a great financial burden. My brother is working here and there when they are away from the hospital and things are well at home, and the boys’ mom has quit both of her jobs. Raiden has gone through several rounds of chemo since his diagnosis in October and shortly after Christmas he will be undergoing a huge 12-16 hour surgery to remove as much of the mass as possible. After the surgery there is radiation, stem cell and bone marrow infusions all as further care. This will mean even more time out of work.


Raiden feeling “better” post chemo rounds.

Raiden feeling “better” post chemo rounds.

In light of these massive costs and deficits the family is experiencing we are planning a benefit for March 7th at the VFW in Kenosha, WI. We will have food, live music, raffles and silent auctions all to help support the family. We are seeking donations if anyone has it in their heart to give to our cause, either an item or service from a business you own or if there is a gift you would like to buy for us to use for the raffles or silent auctions all the efforts are much appreciated!  If you would like to buy tickets to come out and show your love that is also greatly needed.


Raiden being silly while hanging out at the hospital.

Raiden being silly while hanging out at the hospital.

You can follow more about Raidens battle on his facebook page For tickets, donation information or questions you can contact Sara Smith at or (262) 496-3577. You can also go to any US Bank and make a donation for the family by making a deposit into the Raiden Kautenburg benefit account.


Thank you all for your time and any thoughts/ prayers you can offer our family!


Sara Smith, Raiden’s aunt.


About Sara: Formerly from Kenosha County, Sara is a married, stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of three children.

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Traditional Holiday Fun & Then Some!

Three Steps to Ensure Your Kids Pixologie Your Story Matters Logo
Will Remember Traditions of Giving Back

Sponsored by Pixologie

Celebrating Wishes in Wonderland 2014 – and providing hope to children struggling with life threatening medical situations.


This past weekend, Pixologie loved hosting the Kids’ Craft Area for Wishes in Wonderland at our local Dave & Buster’s restaurant – an annual event to raise money for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and Make-A-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin. We saw lots of people taking fun photos of their children with Santa, at the crafts and games tables and much more. Read more…

Here’s some fun photos we took:



For each family, it is likely one of the photos they snapped will end up on the annual Christmas card. But what about all the other memories from the day and the sense that all were gathered to help children in dire and/or chronic medical conditions? Watch the news coverage here:

We have three steps to ensure your kids will remember giving back to those in need:

  1. Take your children to events where giving back is a main focus – holiday fundraisers are perfect – many nonprofits have events that are packed full of fun including Santa, activities, etc. Proceeds go to support a variety of missions – including providing food, housing and much more. (Even our local humane society had a holiday event with Waffles, an adorable dog to visit with during their Hope’s Lights Celebration)
  2. While at the event – take many photos including something that gets to the mission of the organization putting on the event. At the top of our article – see the handmade cards that will go to children who are in the hospital in the next couple of weeks. The kids loved making the cards and then walking the card over to the bin to place it in – knowing they were going to brighten someone’s day.
  3. Get those photos out each year to see all the different ways your family has given back to your community, while helping others in need. Ideas include: saving these photos in a “Christmas Giving” digital file on your computer, creating a holiday scrapbook with just a few of those photos printed out to have fun remembering what you did or having a photo collage made to hang up at the holidays.

We are betting that steps one and two are easy – and you probably have been doing them already. If step number three is hard to figure out where to start . . .

. . . we would love to help you with a plan on how to get those photos into your lives to be celebrated long after your children have grown up. Grown up knowing and looking at the memories and traditions your family has of giving back.

Visit our website at,
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4 That Matter

A Read/Want/Wear/Need ChristmasJAK Chat Blog Amanda DeSonia
by guest mom blogger from Racine, Amanda DeSonia

A few years ago I decided to try to take back Christmas.

That makes me sound like a total martyr. Honesty, I really struggle with the holidays. Struggle as in I bounce between moments of glee and peaceful nostalgia to fits of rage and moments of paralyzing anxiety….. Merry Christmas?

I think most women and mothers go into the holiday season with ridiculous amounts of enthusiasm and equal parts unrealistic expectations for what we might accomplish. Perfect presents picked and wrapped? Check! 24 individually wrapped Advent gifts? Yay!  Trek to the local tree farm and pick and cut the perfect tree and trim it with the exact amount of Martha Stewart recommended LED lights based on the height of the tree? Done!  (I did research that once.) Bake cookies, buy matching Christmas outfits for the kids, holiday photos, pre-Pinterest inspired handmade gifts, Christmas cards….. I’m getting an ulcer just trying to remember all the things I used to do.  Read more…

4 years ago, after realizing we hadn’t even planned out any sort of budget, and subsequently realizing that living on one income perhaps that may have been something smart to do, I started to pause and wonder, WHY am I doing all of this stuff that I am really, honestly, hating? I tried to remember exactly what gifts we had given our girls for Christmas the year before. I couldn’t even name one thing. All of the stress of shopping and none of it was even…. memorable. The packaging, the waste… from an environmental standpoint Christmas Day always made me feel serious Mother Earth guilt.

4 years ago on December 27th I was due with my 3rd baby. There is nothing like a baby due at Christmas to give a woman the Trump Card to throw down. I played that card hard that year and it was the best forced traditional change ever granted to me and my family. I sat down (and barely got up) and made a list of the things I wanted to do that holiday season, the things I had to do, and the stuff that I was supposed to do. All the supposed to stuff I just blessed and released. I had read about a Mom who was feeling like her children were turning into greedy, ungrateful Christmas monsters and shared her plans for a Read, Want, Wear, Need gift plan.

So I decided that year, I too, would give my kids a Read, Want, Wear, Need Christmas.

Each of my kids got 4 gifts, and has on every Christmas since.

Something to read.

Something they want.

Something to wear.

Something they need.

They get one gift from Santa, and a stocking with little things as well. Others have asked if my kids feel short changed by this. Is it boring? I asked my girls this last year and they said, “What? You aren’t stopping that, are you? We love it! Don’t quit doing it!” So no, it’s safe to say they enjoy it!

That change alone freed me from so much holiday stress. I cannot over-buy or emotionally shop. I’m forced to pick carefully, then stop shopping and do other things. The priority list now includes more fun things that I don’t dread doing, like see the Nutcracker, snow-shoe, hot glue stuff to stuff and make ugly crafts, watch our favorite Christmas movies. Do I still get stressy? Of course. Do I still have waves of Non Christmas Card Sending Guilt as I open up cute Shutterfly cards I ADORE getting from my family and friends. Sure. Do I envy the women who really do have the skills to Do Christmas and do it well and enjoy doing it? Honestly, yes. Does it bother me enough to go back to the old ways? No. I hope any of you who are entering this season feeling like it’s time for new traditions, will find some peace in knowing that we don’t have an Elf on the Shelf, I don’t want one, and if you give me one, I will use him as a door stop. May you do more of the things you love, and less of the things you don’t!

About our guest blogger:

Amanda DeSonia pic for blogAmanda DeSonia lives in Racine with her husband and three children, Maren, 10, Violet, 7 and Henry 3. Former stay at home Mom turned direct sales/party plan expert, she uses her passion for healthy and eco friendly living to educate families on the benefits of living a low-toxic lifestyle. Amanda can be found spending her free time exploring Milwaukee restaurants and loves all things social media, NPR, writing and reading, wine and travel.





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