Thursday, February 28, 2013

Walking Tall






   We knew it was coming. It was only a matter of time. Xavier tends to hit his big milestones either before or when they are expected. He is getting more and more independent each day. He sleeps alone, can feed himself and now he is walking!
   It started as standing and then it was walking while holding on to everything. Then it was walk/falling which is walking between things as fast as you can until you fall down. Yesterday, was the day my little man proudly ventured out slowly without racing to the next piece of furniture. That slow and steady got him to walk on his own. Only long enough to then get excited, try to speed up and fall, but hey, Nick and I still call it walking. He now does it every chance he gets. So it is only a matter of time before he is a pro at it. I suspect at his first birthday party he will be walking without much problem.
   With all the walking commotion we did our best to capture it on film. It is extremely hard to catch, by the time he starts doing it and you get the camera on, he has fallen. So we took about a good two minutes of him and he walks a few times in the video. This was right before he went to bed so he was a little tired out but he still loves walking. My little man is growing up!


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Review: BabyGanics Foaming Fun Foaming Shampoo & Bodywash


      Although Xavier and I love to try out new products for these reviews. I was a little hesitant to try out a bodywash. Xavier has his dad's extremely sensitive skin. One baby bodywash I received as a shower gift ended up giving Xavier an allergic reaction (read the post The Reaction).  However, we have used BabyGanics products before and have always really liked them. So when we got to try out BabyGanic's new Foaming Fun Foaming Shampoo & Bodywash we were ready to have some fun in the bath tub.
    The BabyGanics Foaming Fun Foaming Shampoo & Bodywash is all plant-based, tear free, hypoallergenic and has no parabens, sulfates, phthalates, Toxins, SLS or Synthetic fragrance. The instant foaming technology saves time and money. It is gentle, safe and effective for everyday use and the Squeeze Foam System provides one handed application.
     The first thing you notice about the Foaming Fun Foaming Shampoo & Bodywash is the fun squeeze container. I have to admit it came in handy and was fun to use. You simply pull on the bottom and squirt the amount you want into the bath. A little bit went a long way in Xavier's bath.



    I also loved the smell of the bodywash. Even though it has no synthetic fragrance it has a nice fresh scent which was light enough to not bother you or baby but still pleasant enough to make bath time a little more luxurious.



   I think the best part was the bubbles. Unlike most baby washes the BabyGanics Foaming Fun Foaming Shampoo & Bodywash really makes some light and fluffy bubbles! They last throughout the entire bath too! Usually our bubbles are not that good and never last throughout the bath. Xavier loved the big, fluffy bubbles and playing with them the entire time. I had no problem washing his face, hair and body with this soap. It did not irritate his eyes, face or body at all. In fact after his bath when I went to put lotion on him his skin was really soft and smooth. I was glad that BabyGanics Foaming Fun Foaming Shampoo & Bodywash did not dry out his skin at all, in fact it even seemed as if it added some moisture to Xavier's skin.



    We loved using the BabyGanic's Foaming Fun Foaming Shampoo & Bodywash and plan to use it again in the future. It is so important to pick a good baby shampoo and bodywash for your baby because you use it often and it is important to keep baby's skin properly clean and moisturized. If you have a child or know someone expecting check out BabyGanics line of many products, you definitely will not be disappointed!



For more information about BabyGanics products check out their website at
www.BabyGanics.com

The BabyGanics Foaming Fun Foaming Shampoo & Bodywash comes in a 10.65oz. container for around $9.99 and can be found at BabiesRUs, Target and Walgreens as well as other retailers.



 Disclosure
   This product was given to me for the purpose of this review. All opinions are 100% my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC guidelines.



If you would like me to do a review of your product or service feel free to send me an email at
ReneeArbia@yahoo.com


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Precious Time






     When you have a baby there are two things that end up being very precious commodities; time and sleep. Time goes by too quickly as you watch your little one grow up a little more every second of every day. Sleep is what you wish you could get but even when you have the chance you are afraid of missing something or worried, or even sometimes both.
     Sleep is an extremely precious commodity in our household right now.  Xavier is once again in the midst of teething. We are waiting and waiting and waiting for his top two fang teeth to come in. You can see them and you can feel them. We know Xavier feels them constantly and they are ruining my happy little man's time right now. Plus, they are ruining sleep for our entire household. I got up for perhaps the fourth time the other night and even Vito, the dog gave me a sad, tired look like "please stop that kid from crying". Needless to say we are all exhausted. So when I got up the other morning to this picture. It was a precious sight.

 
 My poor guys exhausted and trying to get a couple extra minutes of shut eye. How sweet! They are such wonderful guys, especially when they are sleeping.
     I would like to say that I snapped a couple of pictures and then went back to bed to get some rest as well. However, as soon as I snapped my pictures and walked away Xavier woke up and it was breakfast time.
     How quickly time flies even if you are sleep deprived.



Monday, February 25, 2013

Chocolate Date Bites



    We all have our vices. If you know me at all you will know that mine is certainly without a doubt Chocolate! I love chocolate, in all forms. So I am always out looking for new chocolate recipes. What is so great about this recipe is that these are actually good for you. Each bite is only 77 calories and has only five grams of fat. I got this great recipe from Kiwi magazine. They always have new and healthy recipes to try. This is also a no bake recipe so it is incredibly easy. Kiwi magazine put this recipe as Chocolate Fudge Bites. I decided to change the name. Simply because as a chocoholic there is no way these can pass as fudge. However, I like dates so these are good as they are. However, if you have finicky eaters at home you probably can pass them off as Chocolate Fudge Bites as it is very hard to detect the date instead of fudge.
    Also, to note about this recipe. I highly recommend a food processor for this recipe. Unless you have a very durable blender or chopper and blender combination there are strong chunks that really need to be incredibly small. Enjoy!

Chocolate Date Bites
Makes 24 bites

Ingredients
- 1 1/2 cups of pitted dates
- 1 1/2 cups of walnuts
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt

Directions
Place pitted dates and walnuts in a large bowl and add enough hot water to cover.



 Let the dates and walnuts soak for 30 minutes, drain, and transfer to food processor along with cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla extract and salt. 




 Process until completely smooth (about 1 minute), then use a spatula to transfer the mixture to an 8-inch-square baking dish lined with parchment paper.



Top with walnuts.



Refrigerate overnight before slicing into 24 bite-size pieces and serving.


Friday, February 22, 2013

The First Snow





    When you become a parent one of your favorite things is introducing your child to new things. You cannot wait to see how excited they get at the new things they get to experience. As much as I loved growing up in upstate New York. I love living in coastal North Carolina even more. My main reason is the weather. I love the fact that it is sunny and warm pretty much 11 months out of the year. We barely ever see snow and if we do it is just a dusting. I have had plenty of snow in my lifetime. In fact until Xavier arrived I did not even care if we got snow in North Carolina. I was happy when it melted.
    However, we were lucky to get just a light dusting of snow this year. It only lasted about two hours which is my kind of snow! Of course the second I saw it I bundled up Xavier (notice I didn't bundle myself as it was not that cold) and outside we went. I was not surprised that Xavier loved it! He loves water, he loves the wind in his face and he loves being outside. Something I am very grateful for since he is a boy. Perhaps when he is older he will climb trees instead of my furniture. For now though, he went outside and enjoyed the snow with me!
  
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!







Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chili Con Carne With Tomatoes






   Everybody needs a good chili recipe. If you do not have one feel free to take mine. This has been in my family for a while. I have many fond memories of winter/fall nights and parties with this fabulous chili. It is great because it does have meat and a ton of vegetables so it is a complete meal. If you are vegetarian feel free to leave the meat out and it still tastes fabulous! I do apologize for not taking many photos during this recipe. However, as a mom to a 10 month old, we were just having one of those days when I made it. I was lucky it even got made, thank goodness it's so easy let alone get lots of pictures of it. I am sure though you all can figure it out without a picture of me just browning the meat and vegetables. Enjoy!

Chili Con Carne With Tomatoes
- serves four adults

Ingredients:
- 1 1/2 lb. ground beef
- 2 medium chopped onions
- 1 chopped green pepper
- 2 (24 oz) cans of diced tomatoes
- 1 (8 oz) can of tomato sauce
- 3 tsp. chili powder
- 2 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne red pepper
- 1/8 tsp. paprika
- 1 (15.5 oz) can of kidney beans drained
- 1 can of tomato soup
- 1 jalapeno pepper
- 1/2 can of water add only if needed

Directions:

Cook and stir ground beef, onion, jalapeno and green pepper in large skillet until meat is browned and vegetables are tender. Drain fat, stir in remaining ingredients except the kidney beans. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 2 hours, stirring occasionally. (Or cook uncovered about 45 mins.). Stir in beans, heat. Serve hot with warm corn bread and shredded cheese.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Review: Whirlpool French Door Refrigerator





     One of the biggest things stay at home parents use are appliances. Majority of the time we are the ones who use the stove, dishwasher, washer, dryer and refrigerator. We know what we need and what we would like. We know about durability and value. So when a new appliance is bought we make sure we pick it out.
    That's why when our refrigerator got on our nerves for the last time. My wonderful husband said, "Renee, you pick a fridge." I picked the Whirlpool French Door Refrigerator.
   I have always been a big fan of Whirlpool appliances. Many moms I know trust their kitchens and laundry rooms to Whirlpool. A fellow blogger that I know even went to the Whirlpool headquarters and saw how well they test all their products well above normal standard tests. So I was confident that the Whirlpool refrigerator that we bought would stand up to it's name. It would work really well for a long time. What most people not only want but expect from their appliances.




    The Whirlpool French Door Refrigerator has a lot of really great features. I think our favorite feature is the refrigerator drawer. There is a separate drawer that is part of the refrigerator. You can see into it from the top part of the fridge. I think it is a great place to put platters, drinks, snacks, and even your kids foods. We decided to designate it the snack/quick drink drawer. I put in foods that are easily snacked on and beverages you can grab that are in juice boxes or cans. It works out great. I also love how big the freezer is. It seems massive compared to a regular top freezer refrigerator. It has a big compartment and two baskets on the top. You can really fit a lot not only into the compartment but also in the baskets as well.  We also enjoy the water and ice dispenser on the front. We did not have that in our other fridge so it makes it more convenient for when you drink water. I like that it has the lock on it so kids cannot get into the water and ice dispenser and Nick loves that it counts how many ounces of water you use. What is also great about this refrigerator are the spill guard adjustable glass shelves. You can adjust all the shelves in the refrigerator with one hand and no tools needed. Plus, the shelves contain spills which simplifies clean up by preventing liquids from leaking onto the shelves below.   To top it all off the Whirlpool French Door refrigerator is an Energy Star appliance so you know it is saving you money as well.
   It is not often that you buy new appliances but it is really important that when you do you pick the right ones. Make sure the next time you need a new refrigerator you remember the Whirlpool French Door Refrigerator!

You can purchase the Whirlpool French Door Refrigerator at
Lowes Home Improvement Stores or other Retailers. www.Lowes.com

You can also find out more about the Whirlpool French Door Refrigerator and other Whirlpool appliances at www.whirlpool.com

Disclosure
   No products,compensation or services were given to me for the purpose of this review. All opinions are 100% my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC guidelines.



If you would like me to do a review of your product or service feel free to send me an email at
ReneeArbia@yahoo.com




Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Parental Power



    
    Many times during the day, especially for stay at home moms you say to yourself. "I am just a mom". Sometimes you even feel a little sad about that. Not that you regret your child but that you feel as if you should be accomplishing more in one day then say making sure that your child eats. However, if you think about it, there is no better job or sense of accomplishment.  I cannot speak for moms of daughters as I only have a son right now, but I can say as a mom of a son I know that I have and will always have a great influence over him. A mom is a very powerful and gratifying "thing" to be. What do Elvis, Martin Luther King Jr., and Ghandi have in common? They were raised by some pretty great moms. Moms help shape the men they turned out to be. I have always heard that it is important to put the time and effort into your kids especially in the beginning. Put the effort in the beginning and it will pay off in the end. I sincerely applaud those moms and many other moms. They put their effort in and made sure they gave 110% to their kids.
  Of course, there are still amazing people who turned out great without a stable mom. However, one cannot help but wonder if they could have been even more successful if they had an incredible mom backing them up as well. I think many times that parents underestimate just how much power they really do have in their children's lives. For as much as the parent is waiting by the phone to ring in hopes to hear from their children, there are just as many times that the child is also waiting by the phone for the parents' call. Children look to their parents for approval. They learn from their parents, their perceptions of the world are first seen through their parents. They learn all about the human spirit, body and behavior from their parents. There are too many times you see a child go up to their parent with a toy or with a piece of paper that they did a picture on and proudly show it to the parent who says "that is nice, now go play"not even realizing that that comment will stick with that child for a very, very long time. Bad comments stick even longer then good comments. All children want is love and approval. All older parents want is to be needed. What many children and parents alway miss seeing is that they will constantly need each other. Throughout time their relationship will change back and forth, but the underlying principles will remain the same.
    In conclusion, stop and think, think how powerful of an impact that you really have on your child. Many times, moms, you have literally created your child and now you are helping to shape them into who they are going to be. You not only owe it to them and to yourself but also to society as well to make sure that they turn out to be good, righteous, caring, empathetic and ambitious human beings who always know how powerful a parent/child relationship can be.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Top 5 Most Unnecessary Baby Items


     If you have been following along with my Review posts you will see that the last five weeks I devoted to the Top 5 Most Needed Baby Items. Here they are (just click to read why they are in the top five) 1) Diaper Champ 2) Cloud B Sleep Sheep 3) Moby Wrap 4) Ameda Purely Yours Breastpump 5) Bumbo Floor Seat. Just as what is important to buy when you have a new baby is what NOT to buy. Babies can be expensive and need a lot of stuff. So be sure not to waste your precious money and space on these items which are very unnecessary!

TOP 5 MOST UNNECESSARY BABY ITEMS!

#5 Baby Powder
     If you do not end up buying baby powder, no doubt someone may end up giving it to you. Save yourself the space and put it in your bathroom if you use it and keep it away from your baby. Baby powder is no longer needed or even recommended anymore. Even though it smells good the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend against using baby powder because it can cause breathing problems and serious lung damaged when inhaled, and it's also not always easy to keep the powder out of the air where your baby might breathe it. The worst culprit is talc-based powders which have small easy to inhale particles. Plus, there is no evidence that baby powder helps to prevent or treat diaper rash. The best prevention is to clean and pat dry your baby's bottom after each diaper change and then apply a thin layer of a protective ointment or cream.

#4 Carseat toy bar and/or covering

  I put these together because many times they come as a package deal or if you think one is necessary you may buy into the other. Car seat toys are fun to have and are good if they clip onto the straps. However, you should stay away from the toy bar because it is unnecessary. If your car seat is properly installed in the car your handle should never be down in front of baby. Therefore, the toy bar is not necessary because your baby will not be able to reach it when the handle is pulled back. If you want car seat toys get the ones that dangle or attach to the straps instead.
     The car seat netting is usually unnecessary because you will find that many babies do not like to sit in their car seat when not in the car. It is extremely rare that you will be pushing baby in a carriage with the car seat. Let alone so often that you end up needing the netting. If you think this is a necessary item get the netting that goes over your stroller and many times you can use that as well over a car seat.

#3 Newborn Clothes
     Of course I am not saying that you should not buy any clothes for your newborn. However, do not buy any clothes for your little one in the "newborn" or "0 to 3 month" category. You will find that your baby however small when it is born grows rapidly and especially in the first month. Many times once your baby is at least eight pounds he or she will fit into the "3 to 6 month" clothes. Which is what you should buy instead. Also, to note make sure the majority of baby's clothes are "6 to 12 months" as those are the ones you baby will be in the longest. I even know of some moms whose eight to nine pound baby never even got to wear the newborn clothes. Also,  take note when buying pajamas try to get as many pajamas with zippers as possible. It is not easy to change diapers in the middle of the night in the dark with snaps. I have to admit I don't know why they still sell those.

#2 Crib Bedding Sets

 
      I will admit I bought right into this as well. As soon as we picked the theme idea for Xavier's room I bought the beautiful bedding set where everything matches. However, a lot of moms have told me they wished they did not worry so much about the bedding sets. They are an unnecessary waste of money. First there is the bumper. It is not recommended that you put bumpers in cribs anymore it is a suffocation hazard for your baby and when they old enough that they will not suffocate from it they can climb on it and tumble out of the crib. Secondly, there is a comforter that is also never used. It is too thick to use as a blanket for baby. Those two items have the most elaborate design and fabric and you cannot even use them. Save your money and buy separate pieces. Buy a nice crib skirt you will see it all the time and also buy two or three nice sheets and some pretty blackout curtains for the baby room instead. You can buy breathable bumpers if you like the look of them. However, I have not seen them incorporated into a crib set yet. Also, if you already bought the cute crib bedding set and you happen to be a wiz on the sewing machine you can make the bumper into a teething guard that goes on the rails of the crib and the comforter into curtains.

#1 Wipe Warmer

    The number one Top Most Unnecessary Baby Item is the Wipe Warmer! I am not even sure why they bother still selling these. Ask just about any parent and they will probably happily hand you over the one they have that is in perfect condition because they never used it. It sounds sweet. You think "how nice would it be not to wake up my sweet baby with cold wipes in the middle of the night. Instead nice warm wipes". However, they never work well with the wipes actually coming out. Then, you have to constantly make sure there is enough water and moisture in them or they can burn the wipes and they smell really bad. (Just what you have time to do when you have a newborn). Then, do you really think it is a good idea to have a machine that has warm moisture on a changing table. I think that is a huge breeding ground for bacteria. Lastly, if you baby does like the wipe warmer they will get so used to it that when you are traveling and use a cold wipe your baby will scream even louder something you will not want to happen when you are out in public. Plus, if you have a boy, let's just say he is less likely to pee on you if the second you open his diaper you put a cold wipe on him. Not so with a warm one.


 I hope that the last several weeks of baby items have been helpful to parents who are expecting or to friends who are considering what to get their pregnant friends. Remember baby's come with a lot of stuff and every parent does things differently. However, these Top 5 Most Needed and Top 5 Most Unnecessary should at least help you weed out the bad things and make room for the necessities. Hopefully, this will at least make a new parent's life just a little bit easier.
 










 





Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day

   Just a quick note today to wish all of our family, friends and fans a very Happy Valentine's Day! We are big Valentine's Day fans here. We always tell each other how much we love each other but it is always fun to celebrate it even more on this special day! Tomorrow is my personal favorite day. I call it "Chocolate is half off day"! Needless to say I will be up early catching all the Russell Stover yummies at half the price! (We don't give chocolate for Valentine's day we wait till tomorrow).
    Today is a day to remind all your loved ones how much you care. Make sure you make time today to be with the ones you love! I hope your Valentine's Day is full of love. I am especially happy to have two Valentine's in my life this year! We are going to have a fun day of celebrating. Enjoy some of the photos from our Valentine's photo shoot with Xavier. Yes, I realize I put pink wings on my son for cupid. I tried to find white wings but could not. I'm pretty sure someday he will forgive us for dressing him up like an adorable cupid for Valentine's day! Don't worry he doesn't wear them all the time.

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY FROM RENEE, NICK AND XAVIER!   WISHING YOU LOTS OF LOVE TODAY!














Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Review: Bumbo Seat



   This is the last review of the Top Five Most Needed Baby Items. The Bumbo Floor Seat is the #5 of the Top Five Most Needed Baby Items. The other four were 1) The Diaper Champ, 2) Cloud B Travel Size Sleep Sheep 3) The Moby Wrap 4) Ameda Purely Yours Breast Pump 5) The Bumbo Seat! Check back on Friday, February 15th for a list of the Top Five Most Unnecessary Baby Items. (Don't worry they will all be in one post not spread out on another five weeks).
   I have to admit I had a little bit of a debate about this spot. It ended up being between the Bumbo floor seat and the bouncy seat. If you can add a #6 to the list it would be the bouncy. However, I ultimately decided to put the bumbo as a necessity because of it's versatility. The bouncy seat although extremely useful is not as versatile as the bumbo.
    Many of you who are up to date on baby items may wonder why I have chosen the Bumbo seat as the #5 spot considering the problems it had this year. First of all this seat was recalled, but only because Bumbo decided the seat was much safer with the straps on it. If you have an old Bumbo you can call and get the straps sent to you for free to put in the seat. The new seats are sold with the straps in them. I will admit I started using the seat without the straps and then it got recalled and we got the straps. The straps do come in handy. In fact we got ours just in time, because Xavier was figuring out how to roll out of the seat. You will be glad you have the straps because it does not take much for your little one to figure out how to wiggle out of the seat. Secondly, the Bumbo seat is advertised as a floor seat, not for tables or other chairs. You should always keep an eye on your baby in this seat. I will admit to using it on tables and chairs, but only with Nick or I within an arms reach of Xavier so I do not worry. Please keep these factors in mind when you use the Bumbo seat with your baby.



    The Bumbo seat is the most versatile seat made today. Your baby can use it starting about three months to almost three years old! It comes in blue, pink, green and purple and has an optional tray you can add onto it. The Bumbo seat enables babies to sit upright, it fits baby's posture with a contoured seat, and it is soft, comfortable and easy to clean. It is extremely lightweight and easy to carry and travel with. For how soft it is and easy to clean it is also very durable. It does not get marks or anything.



     A funny story, while we were traveling somewhere and packing the car. Nick put it on the roof of our car to then, put in the car and forgot to. We drove away with the Bumbo seat on the roof. We drove about two miles when it fell off, bounced in the road and into a ditch. We heard it, realized what he did, pulled over, and got the Bumbo seat which was still in perfect condition without even a scratch on it. Also, one of the things I like best is all the different uses for it. You can put it on the floor and let baby sit in it and play, you can use it as a highchair on the table or chair (even add the tray). It works great in the bathtub and my favorite place is at the beach! It works great in the sand so Xavier has his own seat. It stays cool and the sand falls right off of it. You can't beat how durable and versatile it is. I am sure if you have friends with babies they will have a Bumbo. You will not be able to believe how great they really are!
    If you are getting ready to have a baby or know a new mom who is get a Bumbo Floor Seat today!
Check back on my blog on Friday, February 15th for the Top Five Most Unnecessary Baby Items!



Bumbo Seats are sold at many retailers including
Babies R Us and Target
Retail they usually go for $44.99
You can also find out more about the Bumbo seat and their other products at
www.Bumbo.com


 Disclosure
   No products,compensation or services were given to me for the purpose of this review. All opinions are 100% my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC guidelines.



If you would like me to do a review of your product or service feel free to send me an email at
ReneeArbia@yahoo.com


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