Friday, June 28, 2013

Broken Dishwasher?



 Every once in a while I learn something new about living with a toddler. This week was definitely something I just never thought of, though now that I know about it I am not surprised and even a little dumbfounded as to why it never occurred to me that this could happen.
    We have an old dishwasher it is about six years old. Though it runs great, lately we would set the timer on it and it would not go on. Sometimes the heat dry would automatically come on even though we never use heat dry (it is such a waste of electricity). It was still cleaning great so we did not think too much of it. Nick and I just made a mental note that in the near future we may need to replace our dishwasher and in the meantime we will not set the timer and we will watch it to make sure the heat cycle does not come on.
    The other day Nick loaded the dishwasher and set it and came into the living room to sit down. I was in the living room watching him. Right after Nick set it and wandered into the living room the pitter patter of little feet, also known as Xavier went right up to the dishwasher and pushed a bunch of different buttons. AH HA! We found the culprit.



   Silly mom and dad, there is absolutely nothing wrong with our dishwasher except that little fingers keep pushing buttons on it behind us when we are not noticing. Needless to say we now have to keep a sharp eye on the dishwasher and we pretty much only run it when Xavier is in bed.
    Whenever we end up needing a new dishwasher I will have to be sure to get one where the buttons lock so little fingers cannot be pushing them. It is just another lesson in having a toddler that you will never know what they will get into next.



I hope you all have a fabulous weekend! Please remember to vote for my blog everyday! There is always a link on the sidebar for Top Mommy Blogs. All you have to do is click on it! It helps my blog rank in popularity and we are able to get more sponsors and products to write about! Thanks so much for all of your support!


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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Crock Pot London Broil




  I am always looking for good crock pot recipes. It is such a wonderful invention in my opinion. This one I made up on my own with a combination of some different recipes online. It came out very tasty, extremely easy and overall a great recipe that is a keeper in our family. I hope it is a favorite for your family as well.

Crock Pot London Broil

Ingredients:
- 1 1/2 lbs. london broil
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 can ( 10.5oz) cream of mushroom soup
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon salt


- Put everything into crock pot or slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours.








Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Guest Post: Sun Safety for Moms and Kids

     Today's post on protecting you and your little ones in the sun comes from a guest blogger, named Jen, who writes a wonderful blog called, Little Furry Musings. Check out this great information and remember to keep it in mind during this hot summer season as well as the rest of the year!




         Alright you wonderful moms out there! It is time to break out of hibernation and get you and your little one out in the sun! I personally suggest the tide pools (if you have one close) there are millions of little creatures your kids will find! However, the sun is out and shining and we must protect mom and baby’s skin from any sun damage. Of course we all love the sun and its perfect sunshine rays but first we need to know what summer means for your skin and baby’s.
Soaking up some extra sunshine means getting a beautiful glow but also means exposure to UVA and UVB radiation. This is especially important for your little one because their skin is sensitive and brand new and has a higher risk of developing melanoma later in life. When the ultraviolet or UV index is high, you skin can burn in as little as 10-15 minutes; a sunburn on you results in pain and frustration but a sunburn on baby can cause pain, fever, and dehydration. The overwhelming evidence on sun damage shows that ultraviolet exposure increases the risk of skin cancer while people who wear sunscreen regularly have fewer cases of skin cancer and fewer skin signs of aging. So, what do we do? We follow this list:


⦁    Look for products with SPF of 15-50 and that are labeled “Broad Spectrum Protection,” meaning they protect against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays cause the deepest damage to the skin while UVB rays are more responsible for sunburns and wrinkling.


But mom why?? Higher SPF values are misleading as they are based on “test” conditions that you will never achieve on your own. In the U.S. the pass/fail test for sunscreen is a lot looser than it is in Europe. This sunscreen to the right, from SkinCeuticals,
is the type of sunscreen you are looking for. With SPF of 50, broad-spectrum and also includes zinc-oxide. It is PABA-free, oil free, fragrance free and contains fewer chemicals which reduces the chance of irritation and makes it safe for infants to teenagers.

⦁    Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going outdoors and reapply ever two hours. If you and baby go into the water, make sure to reapply as soon as you towel them off-even if it hasn’t been two hours yet.

But mom why?? Sunscreen loses its effectiveness quickly and although your sunscreen may be “water-proof” there is no harm in slathering on a little more.

⦁    Protect your eyes from the sun’s rays with sun glasses and baby sunglasses. Ensure that these sunglasses absorb 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays with 400 UV protection. 400 UV protection means that the lenses block damaging UV rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers.

But mom why?? Prolonged Exposure to the sun without protection can cause cataracts, macular degeneration along with many other eye problems; including sunburn on the surface of your eye and skin cancer around the eyes

⦁    Remember to keep babies younger than 6 months out of the sun. If outside, keep them completely covered and in the shade. Although it sounds logical, do not put sunscreen on an infant.

But mom why??  New baby skin is thinner and especially sensitive. UV rays can do very serious damage on a baby’s skin. Although we all preach sunscreen, a new baby’s skin is too sensitive for this type of product. Keep baby in the shade, completely covered from sun, under an umbrella always, or indoors.

⦁ Make good use of the sunshade on your baby’s stroller whenever you are outside, consider purchasing a pop-up stroller shade that has built-in UV protection and fits right over your stroller’s sunshade to shelter your baby’s whole body.
But mom why??  Again, their skin is very delicate and more prone to sun damage. This attachable canopy to the left is UV protected and covers your baby’s entire body at less than $20! Easily found on Amazon or at your local baby store.

⦁    Dress your baby in protective clothing. Cover you baby’s body, arms and legs in lightweight and light-colored clothing. Also, make sure you baby is wearing a hat at all times. Find one that is wide enough to shade the face, with a brim to protect the ears and a flap in the back to protect your baby’s neck.

But mom why?? Your baby’s skin is too vulnerable in the sun so lightweight and light-colored clothing will reflect heat and keep skin cooler than dark colors, which are known to absorb heat. Fabrics with a tighter weave protect skin better than loosely woven fabrics. If you hold the fabric up to the light, the less light you see the tighter the weave.

⦁    For older children, although this will prove to be very challenging, try your best to keep them inside when the sun is at its strongest, from 10AM-3PM.

But mom why??  Bad sunburns in childhood and adolescence doubles the risk of melanoma as an adult, according the Skin Cancer Foundation.

⦁    Avoid the “fancy” products with Vitamin A, retinol, and its other forms such as retinyl palmitate and retinyl acetate.

But mom why??  Currently, the F.D.A. says there isn’t enough evidence to suggest the ingredients are harmful but there are concerns that the additives can increase sun sensitivity for up to a week.

⦁    Be wary of endorsements, awards, and seals of approval.

But mom why??  The Skin Cancer Foundation gives a “seal of recommendation” to sunscreens only if their manufacturer has donated $10,000 to become a member.



 Last but not least, SLATHER, SLATHER, SLATHER on that sunscreen!
But mom why??  Because it’s good for you ;)


Other Tips:
⦁    Make sure your baby is hydrated always
⦁    Made sure your car is cooled off before you and your baby go for a ride
⦁    Make sure your baby is protected when in the care of others
⦁    Make it easy by toting you sun care essentials in your baby’s diaper bag and stow away an extra set of lightweight, light-colored clothes in your car, just in case!
⦁    There certainly are ways to reverse sun damage such as exfoliate, bleaching brown spots, LEDs and  reconstructive procedures. If you have extreme sun damage visit a dermatologist or cosmetic practice and they will tell you your best options.

Biography: Hello, My name is Jen and I am a twenty-something blogger who loves to write about all things women, health, DIY, crafts, my cats and food! I have my own personal blog (Little Furry Musings) and I also write for a medical and cosmetic practice (Monarch Plastic Surgery) where I get most of my health knowledge from the greatest surgeons. I have two little kittens (they aren’t actually kittens I just call them that because they are adorable) named Brio and Zelda. I spend my days riding my bike, experiencing new things, hanging out with my boyfriend and cats while blogging all about it.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Handed Walk

 

    This week Xavier did something that really brought tears to my eyes. Although he has been walking for almost five months now. He really reminds me of a pet dog. In the fact that we only let him down to walk in fenced areas or in houses. As he can take off and he does not always come back to you and you have to chase him down.
    I have been trying to get him to calm down a little bit so I can teach him to hold our hands so that we can let him walk in stores and on sidewalks and things without worrying that he will run into the street. This week I decided to attempt to work more diligently on his holding my hand while walking. I took him out the front door (usually I carry him to get the mail) and I held his hand all the way down our driveway to the mailbox as he walked. He was so very excited. In fact we had to stop a couple of times so that he could do his little happy dance before we reached the mailbox. He has never walked alone in the front yard. If we are out there we hold him. So with tears in my eyes I held my little man's hand as he grasped mine and we walked and got the mail and walked back up to the house again. I even showed him how to go up the steps to the house (there are no stairs in our house so he does not get much practice on stairs very often).
    It never ceases to amaze me all the things he learns. It is a constant tug on my heart that in one way you want them to grow up and do things and in another you see the precious time just slipping away. For now, I am forever grateful that I was able to take those first few ventured steps with him into the world holding his hand. I hope as he grows up he always remembers that mommy and daddy are forever by his side holding his hand no matter what life brings him.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer Solstice Cupcakes


       As a pagan family we try to celebrate our holidays as best we can. I have been disappointed with the last couple of holidays as they are to celebrate the sunshine and warm days ahead yet on each of these holidays it has been raining. We did manage to make these Summer Solstice Cupcakes on Friday to celebrate the Summer Solstice. They came out yummy and they have a nice sunshine and sweetness to them that really does bring the Summer Solstice feeling to you.
   They are surprisingly easy to make considering that these are from scratch although you can just use a yellow cake mix and add chocolate chips if you would like. However, I think for holidays these  add a special touch. I got this recipe from the book, Circle Round by Starhawk, Diane Baker, and Anne Hill. If you are a pagan family I highly recommend this book it shows many different ways to celebrate pagan holidays with your family. There are great activities for all ages of children and it gives you lots of different options. We have had fun going through this book this year with Xavier as it was his first year really celebrating all the holidays.


Summer Solstice Cupcakes
- "Summer solstice with its day that never seems to end, holds the seeds of darkness. We discover darkness in the bits of chocolate concealed inside these sunny cupcakes." 
- Makes 20 to 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup of butter (one stick), softened in the summer sun
- 1 cup of sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups of flour, sifted first and then measured
- pinch of salt
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 cup of chocolate chips

Directions:
 Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.



Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add vanilla.



 Mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir in.



 Follow with 1/2 cup milk, then the other half of the flour mixture and the rest of the milk.



 Stir in the chocolate chips.



  Use paper liners or grease and flour cupcake tins.



 Bake for 25 minutes in a preheated 375 degree oven.  













Friday, June 21, 2013

No Regrets Stay At Home Mom



     There has been a big story in the "parenting news" (as I affectionately call it) lately about a mom who stayed at home with her three boys, she worked during the first two then when she had her third she stayed home. Now that her boys are all grown up and out of the house she has written a big story about how she regrets being a stay at home mom. She says things such as her marriage took on a "1950s type feel to it" and how it is hard to find a job right now. The woman is now 33 and having a hard time getting back into her career. I normally do not comment much on news posts but I feel as a new stay at home mom of 32 I have a different perspective that I think people should consider.
     I have been a stay at home mom now for over two years. I would be lying if I said that every single day I am so glad to be a stay at home mom, but I would also be lying if when I was working I said the same thing. No matter what you do in life be it stay at home or go to work, you have good days and bad days. We as human beings have a big sense of greener pasture syndrome; meaning those moms who work wish they could stay home and those who stay home wish they could work.
    I do not think there is one better choice then the other. I also do not think that you have to be able to still work at home as a stay at home mom or have connections to work. I think what the big problem is in our society and we as individuals measure ourselves on what we DO not who we ARE. What I do is be a  mom who stays at home with her children first and foremost, the second thing I do is write. However, neither are who I am. I think if you want to know who you are think about a magic genie. If a magic genie came to make all your wishes come true, what would they be? Would you give yourself a career of your choosing and a wonderful nanny to your children? Would you spend everyday with your family? Would you travel? Would you excel at a hobby? That is the essence of who you are. The problem is most people are waiting for that magic genie.
   If you are unhappy at home, it is because you are unhappy as a human being not just your situation. You need to find what is missing in your life. Have you lost your passion? Do you not have time for yourself? Do you feel a need to contribute differently to your family?
   Our society especially in the United States diminishes family values a lot. It is up to us as individuals to bring that back. In order to create a stable and wonderful family environment for your spouse and children you need to be happy in who you are and the world around you. Find your bliss and the world around you will fall into place.
   I believe this is what that poor woman is missing. She sacrificed her life for her children a notable idea, but she would have done much better being sure to put herself first. You are the best role model for your children when you show them that you are following your dreams no matter what they are. As a parent you have a big responsibility to your children to show them how to navigate the world. It does not help them if while you are teaching them you are not following your own advice. We teach our children to be happy and do whatever they want in this world. I do not know a single parent who does not want their children to feel like they are capable of being who ever they want to be as long as they are happy. As adults we need to keep that motto in mind as well. For the greatest way our children learn is from watching us, not listening.
    I love being a stay at home mom. However, I also am able to work on my passion of writing as well, which is why it is a great arrangement for us. That is not to say it works for everyone. If you are staying home just because you feel it is best for the children, but you are miserable in the process you are not setting a very good example for them. Do something with your life that you love and are passionate about and your children will follow. Do not compare your life to others you do not know what their path is going to be. Everyone's path is different there is not only one way for everyone.     
      Also, what makes you think that you cannot start another career? This woman is only 33. I know plenty of people starting new careers even older then that. Not to mention the way the economy has been going who is to say that this woman would have even kept her job all this time. This is why we as human beings need to remember that we are NOT a job. There is not only one thing we are capable of doing or being. The possibilities are endless we just need to remember to open our minds to all of the possibilities.
     Lastly, I get annoyed when women say things like "women fought for our right to be in the workplace". That is not the only thing women fought for. Women fought for our right to choose! They fought so that women can choose to follow whatever is in their hearts the way men can. Remember that you are not your career nor any one thing, you are a multifaceted human being with many talents and gifts to offer the world. You are never too old to do what you want to do. Just remember that if you can dream it you can do it and that is the best role model your children can ever have.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Playtime




 How do you play with your child? Do you dangle a toy in front of their face? Do you grab their dolls and say "Hello suzie how are you today?". Do you push the race cars around the circular track? It is wonderful that you are doing all of this. In fact it is wonderful that you are even playing with your child as most children want nothing more then their parents' undivided attention. Giving your child as much attention as you can spare is nothing short of remarkable. Did you know that there are other ways to play with your child? Did you realize that some ways are actually better then others?
   I know this sounds crazy and it was when I first heard about it as well, but there is a new movement in parenting and it goes along the "natural parenting" style which is what I mostly parent by but I do not like to label myself as I think the best parents do not have a style but are their own unique combination of a few that makes them work. However, this concept actually made sense to me. After all when was the last time I actually "played" with toys? Sure I put Xavier's cars on the racetrack that goes round and round and I show him how to use it. What I should be doing is showing him how to "play" with it. Playtime for children especially young babies and toddlers is taken very seriously for them. They are learning. They learn all sorts of things through play, how things work, different colors, and textures and shapes.
   One of the best things to do with your child when you play with them is imaginary play. Even though this concept is a little over the heads of babies and toddlers. Once you master showing them how a toy works, such as the racetrack, you then need to show them how to have fun playing with it. Show your child all the different things that also can go on the racetrack. Show them different ways of setting up the racetrack even if it is not perfect. Show them how their little people can walk on the racetrack.
       Teach them that there are many different ways of not only "playing" with their toys but of imagining everything they see. Teach them to see the many possibilities of everything. Teach them to think outside of the box instead of always in the box. That is how you get smart children. You show them that not everything is only as it seems. Everything and everybody is always many different things. When you are imagining with your child you are teaching them to imagine all the possibilities the world has to offer.






Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sponsored Review: Cascade Platinum Pacs

“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Cascade. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.”

 

     It is no secret that I love to cook. Just check out all the recipes I do on here and you will see that there are lots of food being cooked in our house. However, the part I hate about cooking, the part I am pretty sure most people hate about cooking is the cleaning up. 
   A dishwasher is an essential modern appliance that many people require now when they buy a home. I know that I certainly would not be able to cook as often as I do without one. People are known to spend lots and lots of money on a dishwasher. You may even look at a few different stores, check out a few different brands of dishwashers before you purchase one. This is a good thing to do. You will most likely be using it a lot and it has to run the way you need it to. 
   For as much time and energy you put into getting a dishwasher, how much time do you spend picking out the dishwasher soap? I know for most people it is a no brainer, you go down the aisle find "dishwasher soap" and buy the cheapest they have to offer. Is the cheapest the one that actually gets the most out of your dishwasher? Does any old brand of dishwasher soap get your dishes spotless without spending extra time rinsing them off first? Does your soap also clean your actual dishwasher so that when you open it, the walls of the dishwasher are as spotless as your dishes and are free of hard water film? I'm thinking for most of you, your answer is "NO". Your soap does not do any of that. 
   That is because you have not picked up the new Cascade Platinum Pacs in your local retailer. I got to the new Cascade Platinum Pacs and I am hooked. First of all the pacs are so easy to use. You just grab one and put it into the dishwasher and turn it on. In fact it is so easy Xavier put it in for me and he is a toddler. No more measuring or spilling soap and wasting it. 



   Cascade Platinum Pacs advertise that there is no need to rinse dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Even though many soaps now say this that is not always true. We frequently rinse our dishes. Not only because stuck on food does not come off in the cycle but also because it can leave the inside of our dishwasher stained and filmed as well. 




    To give Cascade Platinum Pacs a good test run I used red tomato sauce in not one, but two pans. I emptied the pans of the sauce and put them directly into the dishwasher.
I did not run the dishwasher right away. Both of the pans sat in the dishwasher overnight full of sauce that hardened and stuck to them. I waited until the next morning when I added some of our breakfast dishes and then ran the dishwasher with the Cascade Platinum Pac. Just so you know for this experiment, my dishwasher is a Kenmore and is six years old. It runs pretty good and I have not had a lot of problems with it. 
   I emptied the dishwasher later expecting to see at least a hint of tomato sauce in one of the pots and they were clean, but not just clean sparkling clean! It also was not just those pans every dish and glass and pan in the dishwasher was perfectly washed and sparkling with not a single spot. I even loaded the dishwasher myself (which is normally Nick's duty) because I pile it, in no particular order and usually our dishes do not get very clean if I load the dishwasher. Not any more since I switched to using Cascade Platinum Pacs. I am very impressed.




   Cascade Platinum Pacs deliver the most powerful clean available from Cascade while simultaneously helping to maintain the sparkling look of your clean dishwasher interior. They have advanced triple action that is specially designed to leave dishware spot-free and help prevent the build-up of hard water film on dishwasher walls.
   I guess this means I have no excuse not to load the dishwasher anymore as Cascade Platinum Pacs has made my dishes sparkling clean no matter what configuration I put my dishes in the dishwasher and how much food I leave on them. Now if only Cascade made something to clean up Xavier's mess!



Cascade Platinum Pacs are available in Fresh and Lemon scents at mass merchandisers, grocery and retailers nationwide. To find out more about Cascade Platinum Pacs feel free to visit their website, Facebook page and Instagram page. Read below to see how Top Chef judge Gail Simmons feels about Cascade Platinum Pacs and enter the "My Platinum" contest for a chance to win a platinum kitchen!
    
 
 Now, more than ever, people eat with their eyes, and the evidence is all over sites like Facebook and Instagram. With that in mind, Top Chef judge and editor of Food+Wine magazine, Gail Simmons, has partnered with Cascade to discuss why presentation is just as important as preparation.

• From prep to plating: It’s more than just a great-tasting recipe, but also perfect presentation. Sparkling dishes, shining flat ware and spot-free glasses truly let you put your best food forward with culinary creations that pop! 


• Gail recommends impressing with a Platinum Presentation: “The easiest recipes pop with unexpected, gourmet presentations.  Drizzle bright sauces on sparkling white plates or layer desserts in crystal-clean glassware. Keep your presentation sparkling with Cascade Platinum, which keeps dishes perfect for anytime entertaining and impromptu guests.”

Learn more about Cascade’s partnership with Gail Simmons by viewing videos available on the Link to the Cascade Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/10Y8RQQ and Cascade YouTube page: http://bit.ly/124rLfa 


 The Cascade “My Platinum” contest is a four-week Instagram contest encouraging fans to upload photos related to the weekly contest themes. Show off how sparkly Cascade makes all your pots, pan and plates! 

• Visit the contest landing page (http://tinyurl.com/PlatBlog) for information on how to enter and submit images: ○ The landing page will prompt users to sign up for Instagram if they are not currently users of the app. 


 • Each week, two contestants will be selected to receive a brand new Whirlpool dishwasher. Additionally, one lucky grand prize winner will receive a Platinum kitchen

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Baby Sign Language



  I had only heard a little bit about this when Xavier was first born. I had heard something like, "you can teach your baby sign language and they can talk to you".  Although I do think this is possible I had put it to the back of my brain kind of where teaching my baby to use the toilet instead of diapers is. It is possible but I had no intentions of being super mom. We were just going to focus on breastfeeding and keeping my child alive and out of harms way.
   I pretty much stuck to that idea, until now. Now that Xavier is a toddler (he is almost 15 months in case you are not keeping track as well as I am) I find our communication barrier is very large. When he was a baby I had no problem understanding him. He had different cries. If I was unsure of what it was I could usually figure it out. However, he does not cry anymore (well, not unless you really don't understand him for a while) instead he will come up to you and say something in your face with a lot of passion in a language that I do not speak. He understands some of what I say. He understands words like "eat" and "nap" but the rest not so much.
   That's when I started giving this baby sign language another try. Perhaps they were on to something. Although I was a little worried it would not help him to vocally say what he wants I decided that I do not think that is going to be an issue. Xavier is a talker. He has been saying stuff since we came home from the hospital we just do not speak the same language. He does know a few of our words, "mama", "dada" and "no". However, they are not always in context, he will say "no" when he still wants more and he will sometimes just wander around the room singing "dada, DAAAAADAAA". So again, I am not sure we speak the same language.
    I was given a book at my baby shower called Baby Signs by Joy Allen. If you do not have a book, the baby signs are the same for the American Sign Language and you can also find some good baby sign language on this website, babysignlanguage.com they also have books and flashcards you can buy if you would like. I liked the fact that if this worked that he would also be learning another language. One that I would not mind learning myself.
   We have been doing this for a few months now and it has vastly improved our communication skills with each other. Although he still has a hard time doing the actual signs himself he understands my signs much better then my words. I particularly use the signs "all done" and "water". He actually will do "all done" when he is done eating. The "water" sign I use a lot for him to find his sippy cup that is somewhere in our house. I will say "water" and do the sign and he will go and get his cup. We are working on others but in the short time I have been doing it I can greatly see a difference and it has helped tremendously with a toddler. I feel like we are finally starting to understand each other much better which definitely can keep tantrums in check. I highly recommend checking out sign language with your baby or toddler you will be amazed how well it really does cover that gap of communication.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Family Connections

 


   You hear quite often how technology drives families apart. People are always on their electronic devices. They do not ever talk anymore or be with each other anymore. All of those television shows where they "fix" your family one of the first things that they do is take away all of the electronics. I am not saying that that is a bad idea but I do think that sometimes when it comes to families and electronics, electronics get a bad rap.
    I have to admit as a nerd I do like electronic gadgets. I do not have a lot of cool gadgets, but trust me that is not because I do not want them it is only because as a stay at home mom I do not NEED any and we are always tight on our budgets. I have to say that when it comes to electronics and families I think they do bring a lot of good to our lives.
   For instance, how many of you circle around the television for family movie night? I know a lot of you do. Sure, there are movie theaters but that is much harder with little ones and at home you can give everyone their own snacks and you can pause for potty breaks.
    There is so much you can learn on the internet. I have to admit I believe I have gotten smarter since I discovered the internet. When I figured out (I was a young teenager when the internet came into our house) that you could google any type of question and find instant answers. I thought it was the most amazing thing. Now when my child asks me about a bumble bee or a plant or anything for that matter that I do not know I can look up the answer and find thousands of things to tell him about it. I know they have encyclopedias but as a girl who used encyclopedias they did not have anything compared to Google.
    I also enjoy video games. We own a Wii. I do not get to play it as often as I would like but I love the sporting games. I love sports and I like to play sports. However, as you have read above I am a nerd so I did not get the sporting gene. Therefore, I stink at pretty much all sports. When I play I end up getting benched. Not that I blame anyone. I mean there was a time when I was the best player on our volleyball team and we never won a single game. At the time I thought it was neat to be the best player, but then I only came to realize that "wow! we were pretty bad". I think video games are good to play as a family. You can try things that you may not in real life. You do not have to feel embarrassed if  you stink because you are in the comfort of your own house. Plus, some of the role playing games teach a lot of team work. It is a good learning experience for adults as well as children.
    I think the most grateful I have ever been with electronics has been since Xavier has been born. The internet is wonderful. Nick and I do not have family that are close by us. The closest is a couple hours away. Most of our family are in other states. The internet has let us be able to share everything that goes on in our lives with our families. My cousins, Aunts, Uncles, and even old friends from high school can all see Xavier and what is going on in our lives and we can talk and see what is going on in theirs. When we are going through a rough patch it is nice to have family reach out to us and just say "things will get better, we love you". I know you had that before, but honestly, you sadly lose touch over time. It used to be so hard to call everyone and write letters. Now you can just check their Facebook statuses. I think that that is a blessing and I am grateful that I am still able to connect with our family.
   It was especially cute last night when Xavier was listening to his Aunt Marianne on the phone. He got this big smile on his face. He has not seen her in a few months but as soon as he heard her voice he smiled and he even laughed at some of the things she was saying to him. In that instant, I took a picture of him with my phone (see above) and put it on Facebook for Aunt Marianne to see. It was so neat to see that she was able to see him when he talked to her. (yes, I know there is a thing called Skype but not everyone in our family is up to speed electronically yet). It is times like that that I think it is wonderful to have electronics. They let us be far away and live in a wonderful place where we love the weather and the people and the family values, yet we miss our family and friends but because of electronics we can still feel the love and support that is needed to help us soar as a family!





Friday, June 14, 2013

The Lessons from Dads



Dad and I on my wedding day!
    A father is the man in your life who will set the standard for all the other men in your future. I do not just mean men you will date, but also, your coworkers, friends and neighbors. You will forever compare every male human being you meet to your father. This could either be a good or bad thing. Perhaps if you had a terrible dad you stay away from bad personalities. If you had a dad with a bad temper perhaps you stay away from bosses who yell constantly. How a father treats his children has a direct result in how they relate to other males and how they grow and thrive.
   Father's push their children more then moms. They want their kids to be strong and happy. They want them to really feel like they could do anything they want to do. Moms sometimes restrict kids, thinking things like "well, that may be too dangerous". When dads say, "no, they are up to the challenge let them do it". I think that moms help you to grow up big and strong and dads help you to fly!
   Dads teach their children how to not take life so seriously. They teach their kids to appreciate their family and everything that they have.

Me, Dad and my sister, Marla


   There is a very special father in my life who has helped me to not only fly, but soar.  So in case you may forget as time is going by, I want you to know dad, that I remember...I remember you teaching me to garden. I remember you playing my first video games with me. I remember you riding on rides with me at the amusement parks. I remember you taking me out to run errands with you and always getting me a candy bar. I remember you helping me to paint and set up my playroom in the basement. I remember you taking me trick or treating and always wearing a costume yourself. I remember you playing the organ while I conducted at church. I remember you teaching me to mow the lawn and me almost going into the ravine. I remember you helping me study for my math and science tests. I remember for my prom you came to the restaurant I was eating dinner at just to see me before I went. I remember you coming to all of my shows, recitals, concerts and games. I remember you coaching my little league team. I remember you hugging me tightly when mom died. I remember you dancing with me at my wedding. I remember you hugging me when Xavier was born. Most of all I remember everyday that you love me! I look back on all the wonderful memories we have already had and am so excited to be able to share even more with you! You have given me the perfect male role model for my life. You have let me soar to great heights in everything that I do and for that I am forever grateful and I thank you with all of my heart. You truly are the world's best dad and I love you very much!

Happy Father's Day DAD! I love you!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The New Dad



 You see him in the supermarket, shlepping the baby and diaper bag and usually pushing the cart as well. You see him in the doctors office holding his baby close by his side. You see him on the couch sleeping with his baby on his chest and you see him at the table trying to coax his baby into eating what appears to be mush and showing his child that it is indeed "yummy". He is the new dad!
    I know as a new mom that nothing no matter how many books you read, how many shows you watch and how many people you talk to, prepares you for motherhood. I know even less books, shows and people prepare a guy for fatherhood. Dads in fact tend to get a bad rap. Which is very unfair to the countless wonderful dads that are in the world. Especially to new dads.
    Guys do not normally know much about children. They do not play with dolls, or tend to know how to change diapers, feed babies, or rock them to sleep. However, I challenge you to find a good new dad who has never figured out how to do all those things in their very own special way. That is what makes them amazing dads. New dads get through the tumultuous pregnancy mood swings and still are excited by the time baby comes. New dads step in and change diapers and get up in the middle of the night as well and sway and sing as much as needed to make sure that their baby knows them and loves them and goes to them just as much as to mom. A baby thrives when both parents are equally present in a child's life.



    Many new dads even do the skin to skin contact with their newborns. They take off their shirts and let baby in their diaper cuddle on their chest for hours on end. They fall in love with their baby the moment they see them and they are glued to them everyday. Many new dads work countless hours to make ends meet and still find energy at the end of the day to bathe and rock their baby to sleep. New dads are what make a man, a man. They are amazing and they will grow into even more amazing fathers.
   I would like to give a huge shout out to the new dad in my life, my husband Nick. I know you all read my ramblings and know I have a wonderful husband, but I do not talk much about what a wonderful new dad my husband Nick really is. It still amazes me how great he is with Xavier. From the moment Xavier was born Nick was hooked. It was purely love at first sight.  Nick changed all of Xavier's diapers on Xavier's first two days of life and countless more diapers from then on. He has stayed up night after night and got up early every morning with Xavier. I found it so cute that at 5am when Xavier would wake up from the cradle in our room Nick would get up and grab Xavier and say "Good morning! Good morning sunshine! How's daddy's little man today?" in the happiest voice and he does that everyday when he gets up with Xavier.



        He has been in charge of feeding Xavier at the table. Since I did the breastfeeding I thought that was fair. He feeds Xavier while feeding himself at all our meals. He shares what is on his plate with Xavier and a couple times even lost a lot of his meal to Xavier. He even will chew food before giving it to Xavier so Xavier can taste it. Nick has never missed one of Xavier's doctors appointments. He is always home as much as he can be when Xavier is sick. Nick is an amazing new dad and is going to be an amazing father.



    Xavier and I are truly blessed to have such a wonderful man in our lives. My wish would be that every boy have a father as great as Nick because this world would be such a wonderful place full of happy and loved little boys!


Happy Father's Day (a few days early) to my wonderful husband, and father to our son, Nick! I love you!


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sponsor Spotlight and Giveaway!: I Am Salon and Day Spa $100 Giftcard




 Today I am happy to write my first Sponsor Spotlight for my wonderful sponsor the I Am Salon and Day Spa! For sponsor spotlight's I would like to tell you new things that are going on with our sponsors. If you have not had a chance to read my review of I Am Salon and Day Spa please do and you will see how easy it was for me to fall in love with this wonderful spa and salon.



    I Am Salon and Day Spa focuses on renewal for the mind, body and spirit of it's clients. They treat both male and female clients to spa treatments that make the skin, body and hair feel luxuriously pampered. Their services range from cut and color, color correction waxing, facials, tinting, hair removal, massage, manicures, pedicures, microdermabrasion,infra-red sauna, teeth whitening, hair straightening and body treatments. They really have something for everyone. They are located right on the intersection of Carolina Beach Road and South College Road and are easy to find. If you "like" their page on Facebook they have gift card give-a-ways all the time!

   Just in time for Father's Day and graduation consider getting your grad or Dad a gift card to I Am Salon and Day Spa.  I Am Salon and Day Spa are a full service salon with many options for you to choose from. Check out their June Specials and enter the giveaway for a $100 I Am Salon and Day Spa gift card!

I Am Salon and Day Spa June Specials
- 40% off any Massage or Facial (this special excludes microdermabrasion, body treatments or the add on peel)
- Norvell Spray Tan only $15
- Classic Manicure/Pedicure combo for only $50
- Add on Aveda Scalp Treatment (for dry, oily, red and irritated scalp) to any hair service for only $10
- Add on Aveda Scalp Treatment (for dry or damaged hair) to any hair service for only $10


The I Am Salon and Day Spa are located at
5315-C South College Rd.
Wilmington, NC 28412
910-395-1335
www.iamsalonanddayspa.com






This giveaway is for a $100 gift card to the I Am Salon and Day Spa. This spa is located in Wilmington, NC though you do not need to be from here to enter or win. Winner must be located in the United States. Giveaway will close on Monday, June 17, 2013 at 8pm EST.



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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Tantrums



    Sometime during the last couple of weeks my son, Xavier has started throwing tantrums. He is now fourteen months old. He will randomly just start crying and sit on the floor and bang his hands and cry. I knew that Nick and I were in big with a child with our genes. We are both very theatrical and perhaps a tad over dramatic. However, the little spawn of us wandering around our house reminds me of an old time diva star!
    You may even have something slung at you during the day. Though never intentional. He will just randomly get frustrated with a toy and throw it. You have to keep your distance! What frustrates him? I cannot always tell. Seems to me to be anything and everything. There are times when he gets mad because I am leaving the bathroom and apparently he wants to stay. There are times when the five minutes to heat up his lunch is not fast enough for him. There are times when his toys are not properly laid out for him, and of course times when "oh my gosh!" you put water in the wrong cup!
Then, there are times when he just randomly starts throwing a tantrum. Times like in the middle of dinner, right after a nap,  in the middle of his toys and on my lap. Those I have no idea what caused them and what to do to fix them.
   I have to admit I was hoping to write a different article today. I was going to look up all the different ways of handling tantrums and try out each one and let you know which ones worked for me and which did not. Sounds like a great article doesn't it? Well, guess what? There are not any real ways of solving tantrums. At least not any that I can't honestly say I don't already do and he still throws them. The few tantrum tips I did read sounded more like how to handle a kidnapper, things such as "Remain Calm", "Be Firm", "Maintain Boundaries" and "Don't let them pressure you"! So I have no words of wisdom to offer all of you hopeful parents.
     I can tell you what I took away from all my research and what I hope just ends up working out like the many problems you run into raising a child. This too shall pass for it is just a phase. However, in the meantime of this phase it does help to keep some things in mind. Remember the main reason your child has a tantrum is because they feel that their emotions are not being acknowledged.
    You can have two types of tantrums the manipulative (usually in older toddlers around two years old) and the frustration tantrums (typical in one year olds). Xavier definitely has the frustration ones. For frustration tantrums the best thing is empathy just let them know that you hear them and are there for them. Also, it is good to know that shouting never helps a tantrum it only escalates the problem fast.
    Right now I pick my battles with Xavier. There are times when I ignore his tantrum such as when he wants to stay in the bathroom and I am leaving. I find turning off the light and stepping over him and out the bathroom tends to have him stop throwing a tantrum and come outside. Though there was one time he stopped throwing a tantrum came outside the bathroom and sat back down and continued his tantrum! There are also times when I console his tantrums. Like when he is upset because he cannot do something or he does not get to play outside as long as he wanted. Once in a while, though  not very often, I give in to his tantrums. Like when he wanted a certain cup for water. I figured it is less to wash anyway!
     If I have learned nothing else in my fourteen months as a parent to my first born son it is that Mommy knows best! I have never been more sure of myself then my decisions since being a mom. I think all mothers have it in them to be great they just need to listen to their instincts and stop worrying what everyone thinks. You will amaze yourself at what you already know. As no one knows your child better then you!



Monday, June 10, 2013

The Crazy Sprain




   Friday started off as any other day. We were pretty tired in the morning as we had some very bad storms Thursday night. Our weather radio kept going off for tornado warnings. Once was so close we even grabbed Xavier and kept him sleeping in our bed with us, as a just in case. Luckily, we had no problems at all from the weather. I was feeling good Friday morning. I put Xavier down for his mid-morning nap and got into the shower. As I was in the shower I heard the weather radio go off again and I heard Xavier crying, so I decided to get out and see what was going on. It ended up being nothing, the radio just was reminding me of flooding and Xavier just did not want to fall asleep. I turned around walked back into the bathroom and WHOOSH! My feet came right out from under me and I landed in a pile on the tile bathroom floor. I was able to get up, though I was incredibly sore. I thought for the most part I was just badly bumped and bruised. I went about my day.
    A couple of hours later as I was making lunch for Xavier and Nick (he came home for lunch), I mentioned to Nick that my foot and ankle were really bugging me and about what had happened. He had me sit down so he could take a look at it and it was very swollen and bruised. Needless to say I ended up with a sprained ankle. Our fun weekend that had a huge list of to dos ended up being a long list of rest and propping up of my ankle.
   It has been a very long time since I have been so completely helpless. Usually even if I am sick I still take care of Xavier. However, it is extremely hard to chase and take care of a toddler with a sprained ankle.
    Xavier got a kick out of the whole thing. He loved playing with my cane and would frequently move it or knock it over. He would bust out laughing watching Nick, try to help me walk across the house if I had to go to the bathroom. I think he thought we were playing some three legged race game.
   Luckily, I have been very blessed to have the best husband in the world, as he was wonderful all weekend. He took care of me and Xavier without a single complaint. Plus, we were even able to sneak a date in on Sunday when he took me out to the theater to see, Les Miserables.
   It is funny how before I sprained my ankle I kept wishing that instead of millions of errands that we had to run,  I wished that we could just spend some time together as a family. I guess I got exactly what I wished for. We definitely spent some quality time as a family. Of course all the time with your family is quality time. You are supposed to treasure every moment even if you are propped up in the bed with your ankle covered in ice and your toddler is running around with your cane!




Friday, June 7, 2013

Time To Get Up!

 


 Did you that how you wake up in the morning is one of the most important things? Have you ever heard the term "waking up on the wrong side of the bed"? It is true, not the wrong side of the bed part, but the part that waking up in a grouchy or mean way can ruin the rest of your entire day.
   Children are one of the best ways to start your day off on the right mindset. They start every day rested, relaxed and excited to see what is in store for today! That is how everyone should start off their day. It is easy to walk into your child's room and to see them bouncing up and down in their crib with a big smile on their face and wish them "good morning". Trust me I know! I am in no way a morning person and never have been. However, everyday that I get up I try to make sure it is a Good Morning. I am thankful for what I am waking up to and thankful to be able to spend this day with my family. I always greet Xavier with a big smile and good morning kiss. I also, make a point to greet my husband with a big smile and kiss and he does the same.
   If you have questions or an agenda you must go over for the day give yourself and your family five to ten minutes to just wake up and bask in the morning, happiness glow of each other before you rattle off what is going on. Even then, when I do start going over the days agenda I try to make it as positive as possible.
   It is so important to remember to start off on a positive note so that it will carry with you throughout the entire day. That way if you run into a negative thing it is easier to dismiss it and move on to other happy things. If you start off negative you let each negative pile up higher and higher until you no longer have any positivity left. Do not get sucked down by negative things stay positive and happy like you were when you started your day.
   I find that since I have become a parent I am more mindful of positive thinking. As you do not want your child to pick up on your negativity. Children are very sensitive to what you are feeling. If you are negative they are negative. You can shrug off one bad day with your partner, but your child has a harder time doing so as they do not understand. Be sure to teach your children the power of positivity and how they can make each day even better then the last!



I hope you all have a fun and POSITIVE weekend!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Best Time to Buy Things




      When you have a family you are always looking for ways to save money. Did you know that certain times are better then others to buy things? It also depends on what you are buying? Here are some great tips on just when to buy things to save yourself some money. I hope you all find this as helpful as I know I have found it.


What to Buy                                          Best time to buy it
 Groceries                                                     Tuesdays
Airline Tickets                                             online at midnight
Cars                                                              end of the month
furniture                                                         Spring
Jewelry                                                           Spring
Refrigerators                                                  Summer
Electronics                                                      Summer
Linens                                                            August
Washers and Dryers                                         Fall
Exercise Equipment                                        Winter
 

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