Why I love bats, and why you will too.

Call me crazy, but I find myself obsessing over bats. They are my favorite mammals, other than my cat, for several reasons.

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The best reason ever is that they can eat over 1200 Mosquitos an hour and can consume their body weight in insects every night! That’s right. Stupid, disease carrying, biting, poopy mosquitoes. BUHBYEEEEE

They are also great pollinators! So at night when they are flying around, they are pollinating your area so that the ecosytem can be maintained. Thank you fruit bats!

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Thirdly…they freaking ECHOLOCATE! Not all species of bats do. Fruit bats, for instance don’t echolocate at all. It is said that in a light rain, they can navigate through the raindrops(I don’t care if this is true or not), but if it is then they are basically superheroes. They are the only mammals whose front limb has adapted into a wing and are capable of true flight! And boy, are they awesome to watch at dusk dive-bombing to find all those dumb mosquitos. DIE MOSQUITOS…actually, don’t cause then the bats would leave.

Before you FREAK OUT and go all “count Dracula” horror movie about bats, yes I know they can be freaky looking. They sleep upside down for goodness sake! But take some time to consider that, yes while vampire bats do exists, they do not “suck blood”. They lap it up. Ok ok ok, calm down! I know that isn’t any better. But unless you’re in South America where some bats have been seen to be lapping up blood from a cow or goat here and there, you’re fine. (sorry South American cows)

Ok now that I’ve convinced you of their awesomeness, lets look at how to attract bats to your property.

Bat houses

Make the bats feel welcomed! Build a bat house using plywood or cedar. The rough surface will make it easier for bats to climb in and out of the house. Keep the roughest side of the wood to the inside of the house. Bat houses work best if they’re at least 2 feet tall, 1 foot wide, and 3 inches deep. Keep the temperature between 85-100 degrees F, as bats prefer a warmer climate. To ensure this, place the bat house in a location facing the sun for the afternoon hours.  NO TREES as they are more susceptible to predators in a tree as well as too much shade.  To give ample enough room for the bats to drop before they take flight, put your bat house at least 15 feet up in the air. An east or west facing chimney is an ideal place.

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Cool, right?

Food and Water

Now that you’ve invited them home, give them food and a water source. Bird baths work well as ponds. Planting night blooming flowers can attract nocturnal garden insects, which, in turn, attracts bats! Marigolds, Dahlias, and Thyme are all good plant examples!

Screw you wasps

Make sure you check your house regularly so that you are not just making a home for bees, wasps, or hornets. Also check your house for holes before you put up your bat house! Seal and fill them as best you can. Bats can fit into a hole the size of a quarter, and we want to prevent cohabitation! After all, this roommate stays up ALL NIGHT!

Rabies

Yes, bats can carry rabies. But you’re more likely to have an encounter with a nasty raccoon or skunk than a bat. After all, they are way better at avoiding you with their echolocation than you are with your human eyes and ears. Plus, the benefit way outweighs the risk in my opinion, knowing that less than 1% of the bat population actually carry rabies. 2014-wildlife-us

Ok, so have I convinced you yet? Bats…do it…you’ll thank me later when you can enjoy your back porch without the Zika virus. Plus look how cute they can be!

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Dr. Annie Answers: Hair Rescue

As a working mom I sometimes feel almost like Jeckle and Hyde between my “clinic self” and my “mom self”. Dr. Annie wears coordinated outfits and looks like she knows what she’s doing. Mommy Annie wears stretchy pants and has did-she-just-get-electrocuted hair most of the time. Or I wear this hat:

Converting between the two is sometimes a challenge. My natural hair is somewhere between “relaxed waves” and “actually curly” that never, ever looks good the day after sleeping on it. If I’m on my game, I’ll get a blow-out or do it myself (ultimate mom-hack, finding room in your budget for a blow-dry bar membership! Blow Me Away is my current obsession with monthly memberships starting at $60). If not, these are two of my go-to rescue hair-do’s that work for any length lob or longer.

The Faux-bun

This one looks so fancy and takes almost zero effort if you can make a ponytail. Below is me, literally having just rolled out of bed. Some bloggers have it together enough to put on make up and stuff before they do their post pics… I’ll put that down as #bloggoals 😀

First, if the top of your hair is greasy from not washing (no judgement – I frequently can’t name the last time I’ve showered), spray in your face dry shampoo. I like this one: Moroccan Oil Dry Shampoo for Light Tones mostly for the smell, lots of others work great.

If, however, it’s frizzy, rub a little tiny bit of conditioner with water and smooth through the top. Then I like to use something with a little hold like this: Bumble and Bumble Dryspun through the roots.

Once the prep is done, brush that rat’s nest out! Then, make a ponytail wherever you want the bun. Divide hair roughly in half top and bottom. Next, you’re going to stick your fingers through one loop of the elastic from the pony side towards the scalp, like so:

Grab the top half and pull it under. Do the same on the bottom half. Then pull on the inside of your loops just like you’re tightening a regular ponytail.

 

Scrunch around, and go!

The Braid-Bun

This one starts the same. Prep scalp and brush. Then, divide hair roughly in half along your natural part and then each half in half. Do a simple braid of each section as far down as you can and secure with small hair bands like these: Goody Clear Elastic Hair Ties.

Next, tie the braids in a few knots and then tuck up and pin with these hair-miracles:

Goody Hair Spin Pins which work like 100 Bobby pins in one.

Comes out like so:

👆👆👆 actually me after getting dressed this morning. Next up, make up, coffee, food, kids lunches, get kids dressed, kids breakfast, get new outfit because they spilled, spend 3 lifetimes getting their shoes on and getting them in car seats, and Voila! Professional Dr. Annie made it to work on time.

Hope this helps you other lovelies out there!

Momday Faves

You know that feeling when you discover a new {item, gadget, service, app…} that revolutionizes your day-to-day mom life? That howdidIeverlivewithoutthis?? moment? Well these are a few of Christiana and Annie’s faves we’d like to share with you lovelies! If you’re on a strict budget…. stop reading now. You’re gonna want one all of these…

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First up, Christiana’s Faves:

Not being able to finish your coffee while it’s hot is the subject of more parenthood-memes than I have legos in my house. Enter: Ember Temperature Control Ceramic Mugember

This mug is my Monday morning hallelujah. No matter how many diaper changes, lost shoes, or forgotten hidden homework assignments try to derail my morning, I have hot coffee from first sip to last drop. All. Morning. Long.

Shout color catchers

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After my boys’ royal-blue shark towels turned nearly half of their summer wardrobes into a similar shade of blue in the wash, I lamented the catastrophe to a family member who looked at me like I had five heads and asked “Did you not use a color catcher?!”

Say whaaaat?? Yes, color-catchers are a real, actual “holy-cow-where-have-these-been-my-whole-life” thing. One tiny sheet literally ‘catches’ loose colors and prevents them from running onto other items in the same load. End result: wash colors and whites and everything (even shark towels!) together with no fear.  No separating, no worries. WIN.

The Endless Reader Apps

Although we are all on-board with American Academy of Pediatrics’ advice to limit screen time, those “limited” moments of distracted-child bliss are priceless. These apps, no joke, are at least partially responsible for having taught my kids their alphabet, sight word reading and basic numbers/math. They are fun enough that kids think they’re getting away with something, but 100% child-brain enriching.

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Annie’s turn:

Robotic Vacuum 

Our household contains not only one heavy-shedding dog (Chesapeake Bay Retriever) but also 3 heavy-shedding long-haired women. In addition to that, there is the usual dust, dropped cheerios, crushed goldfish, lint, etc… of a busy household. This miracle worker (ours is named Wall-E) is programmed to come on at 9 am when we’re (usually) out of the house and takes care of nearly ALL of it. The few days it has been unplugged or put away for some reason, there are actual rabbit-sized dust bunnies that build up in our house and this little guy keeps our floors – even the corners and UNDER FURNITURE – spick and span. Plus…

Our dog weighs 90 pounds, so can’t partake in this fun, so sad!

These are the highest rated models on Consumer Reports – we have a 2 year old version of the cheapest one that both my children have ridden around and it’s still trucking!

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Melissa and Doug Water Wow On the Go

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These little board books come with a “paint brush” that you fill with plain-old water. When the kids apply it to the magical board-pages, the colors show up as if they did, truly, perfectly-in-the-lines paint them. My kids will do these for an hour straight. Perfect for the car when you don’t want them to be watching the iPad for the entire 3 hour road trip, or just for those moments when you’re like “how is it an HOUR until naptime, if I have to clean up another mess I’ll just burn the house down!”. No mess, no problem.

I buy the three packs, in a pinch, the pages can be blow-dried for rapid cycling tantrum-aversion.

 

 

 

Nerium Hydrogel Patches and Eye Serum

These little babies should be given out at EVERY baby shower. And bridal shower. And just, everyone needs these. They will take your most brutal “baby-woke-up-7-times” or “we-had-too-much-fun-on-date-night” under-eye bags and virtually eliminate them in 25 minutes flat. And hey – for the dads out there, this is so popular with men it’s dubbed “man-makeup” because 5 minutes of serum can take years off. This is me on left, a family friend on right, same lighting, same camera, no make-up, NO EDITING, (yes, slightly different angle because I’m a doctor not a professional photographer):

And in case you’re wondering if it’s a short-term gimmicky-result… these are one of the few rapid treatments that also improve your results progressively with time. The other name for the serum? Unicorn tears. Nuff said.

Ok, now you have to share your favorites in the comments and share.

Bonus, if we get up to 50 followers from this wonderful sharing by the end of the week, Annie will send a free sample of this magical eye serum to 1 lucky follower!

Now go get your Monday on!

Momday feels: Annie

Crafting with small children is one of those things that I feel like I just can’t get right. I love the idea of doing creative projects with my kids – and PLUS there are so many super easy and fun-for-everyone ideas on Pinterest.  How could I go wrong (even over-educated moms get duped by the magical lies of Pinterest)??

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How could this go wrong?? Semi-permanent dye + shaving cream + rambunctious kids……

According to the internet pics, you gather some basic supplies you have on hand and do the cute things with your kids. There might be a *slight* mess. Everyone will have fun and laugh adorably. Alas…. whether through lack of planning or experience or patience the crafts that actually happen seem to go like this:

  1. I get everything together, realize we are missing something, improvise, do all preliminary steps, have everything in separate containers ready to go while kids destroy some other room of house.
  2. Call kids to come in and do the *super* fun craft.
  3. Kids don’t want to come because they’re playing ponies now.
  4. Cajole, bribe and threaten kids to come in to start craft.
  5. 3 yo immediately spills some container of critical stuff we don’t have any more of.
  6. Send 5 yo to our nice next-door neighbors to ask for another one. Do deep breathing exercises to calm panic when she’s not back in 30 seconds. Convince self she’s been abducted. Rush out in a panic to go get her. Remember 3 yo is still in house and can’t be left around {hot stove, running water, sticky things….}. Just as I’m about to haul her to go get her sister also, 5 yo comes back.
  7. Rapidly complete craft, take picture.
  8. Send kids away to play again while I clean up the hurricane ravaged room.
  9. Throw silly craft away as soon as children aren’t looking

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Case in point. Easter egg dying. Only had 4 brown eggs left. Which I realized after we had opened the dye packs. 3 yo broke one. I gave up on cute eggs and let them use markers. Now I get to have colorful fingers every morning when I make breakfast!

(sarcastic) Hooray!

Sometimes, though, it does work out. This success courtesy of my experienced-mama neighbor and all-around angel Missy. She brought over all the stuff for this super easy kid-appropriate craft.

Grassy Baskets

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Supplies:

  • Perlite or Vermiculite – small bag, buy at any home-supply or garden store
  • Whole wheatberries – 1 Cup per basket, buy in bulk section of grocery store
  • Basket or pot or old cup or basically any container – if not water-tight, line with plastic bag.
  • Plastic wrap

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Steps:

  1. Put wheat-berries into bowl of warm water, enough to cover.
  2. Pour rock of choice into receptacle of choice.
  3. Place soaked wheat-berries in pretty dense layer over the top
  4. Cover loosely with plastic wrap

In 48 hours they will have sprouted!! When they have little white roots coming out, remove plastic wrap. No need to water.

Then they grow 1/2 to 1 inch per DAY!!! Talk about immediate gratification 😀

Then, take advantage of the cutest set up for your plastic and/or Pinterest-failed dyed eggs ever. #momwin

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Annie Ray is a married mother of 2 and primary care physician in the Sacramento area