A violin and two cents

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Keats’ enthusiasm for the violin hasn’t waned since he started playing about two and a half years ago.  He’s been ready for some time to move to a full sized violin, and yesterday was his big day.  It’s been quite a birthday month for Keats!  Last night Jonny and I were sitting in bed talking close to midnight when we heard Keats playing it just one more time before he went to sleep.

The original plan was for just Keats and me to travel to Richmond, meeting his violin instructor at the violin shop.  However, the entire family ended up riding along  because Jonny got permission for the boys to metal detect a very old property outside of Richmond.  Seth had his best day ever, finding an 1864 two cent piece among other things.

I’m often asked what kind of metal detector we recommend.  My boys have tried entry level models from four of the major metal detecting companies, and we prefer Garrett metal detectors.  The Garrett ACE 250 is a great place to start if you have an older child (10 and up?) interested in getting started.  Seth is now using a Garrett AT Pro, and that is what he used to find the treasures he is sharing here today.  I am a big fan of this hobby, because while it does mean that my boys often have muddy knees and dirt under their fingernails, they are getting outdoors and learning a bit of history in a fun hands on way.

Da Balm!

20140205-DSC_7274About a month ago I wrote about Job’s eczema and my efforts to try to get to the root of his flare ups.  I can’t tell you that I have figured things out yet.  Dairy and eggs don’t seem to be triggers, so that is a good thing.  I’ve switched my laundry detergent (I’m using Charlie’s Soap now) and I keep humidifiers running.  Job’s skin will look perfect one day, and terrible the next.  It’s frustrating.  One thing that I have figured out though is that my friend Rachel’s new eczema balm, hilariously named “Da Balm,” is incredibly effective at calming and clearing Job’s flare ups.  I realized this because during the time I was applying it to Job’s face several times daily, the angry red patches on his face healed and disappeared completely.  He might still have a flare up, but his skin would heal with a few days of diligent application of Da Balm.  Then one day I went to grab it from the shelf and it was gone.  I searched and searched but couldn’t find it.  Over the next week or so I used LuSa’s Booty Balm, my standard choice for chapped faces in the winter, on Job’s face.  It seemed to help a little, but not nearly as well as Da Balm had.  Job’s face was looking bad again when I discovered my little tin of Da Balm under the bed.  Within two days of using it again, his skin looked great.  I don’t know what caused that last flare up, but I know that Da Balm calmed and soothed it.

When I purchased that little tin of Da Balm, it was still in the testing phase and I didn’t know whether or not it would end up becoming a permanent LuSa product.  I emailed Rachel wanting to know what her plan was, because my tin was nearly empty and my own attempts at making an eczema balm failed (my older son Seth claimed that my homemade stuff made his eczema worse!)  I was thrilled when Rachel wrote back that Da Balm would actually be available for purchase on the LuSa Organics website in a few days!  She suggested a little giveaway to properly introduce Da Balm to my readers and I gave an enthusiastic, “Yes!”  I’m so happy to be able to share Da Balm with all of you!


I asked Rachel to share a little background with you, the story of how Da Balm came to be:

I designed Da Balm after dozens upon dozens of customer requests for a safe, effective balm for eczema care. Our Booty Balm was helping these customers, but there were other herbs that I knew would be incredible for eczema and other red, itchy rashes.Finally my own family began to struggle with eczema and I had the perfect opportunity to test and perfect at home! Two years (and many product testers later), Da Balm was born.


Da Balm begins with an organic infusion of seven different herbs. Each time I work with a new herb I’m humbled by how gentle and effective plants are at helping our bodies heal. These roots, leaves, and flowers are combined with several soothing oils and essential oils to make a rich, gentle, non-irritating rash balm.

Da Balm is a comfort – not a cure. Any topical treatment alone will not heal eczema. That is an inside job and requires the deep work of figuring out what is causing your or your little one’s outbreak. But Da Balm is designed to help quiet and soothe the itch and irritation.

It’s also soothing for chicken pox, garden rashes, and insect bites. Anything itchy!

(You can learn more about healing eczema from the inside out in a series that Rachel wrote on her blog.)


Rachel is offering three Small Things readers a regular sized tin of Da Balm.   The winners will also receive free shipping on anything else they would like to order at the same time, too.

In addition,  receive a free 1 oz travel bar of Calendula Baby Soap with every Da Balm you order. Just enter the code “SmallThings” in the comments field of your next order. The LuSa team will see the comment and add the bar of travel soap when they pack your order.  (Valid through February 18, 2014).

For your chance to win, leave a comment on this post.  Comments are now closed.  The winners are:

Katie B, who wrote, “This sounds awesome! Wonderful for a new baby!”

Christina, who wrote, “Just visited the dermatologist for my daughter’s eczema. Would love to find something less, well, medicinal than a prescription.”

and Alisa Joy, who wrote, “what a lovely and timely give away.  thank you, both!”

Thanks, Rachel and LuSa Organics!