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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

High shine lip balm/gloss

I admit I have a problem. I LOVE lip balm/gloss. I use it several times a day. My husband laughs at me for how much I use it. I don't like lipstick, and chap-sticks just don't do the trick for me. I like the shine of the lip gloss, but most have too much color or are sticky/tacky.

About 5 years ago I found a lip gloss (actually called a balm) that I fell in love with. It was made by Victoria Secret, called Beauty Rush soothing lip balm.

 I used it all the time and had multiple at a time so I never went without. I would keep one in my bathroom, one in my living room, and one in my purse. And usually had a few unopened so I never ran out. Then last year I found out they stopped making my lip gloss. I was so sad because it was the best one I had used and never found anything similar. I have been looking, researching, and trying different glosses and balms since December 2012.

While shopping for Christmas this year, I went into Sephora looking once again (as the closest one to me is 5 hours away) after more research online. I talked with the sales associate and showed her what I was trying to replace. In a matter of minutes she showed me a couple options, but said she had one particular balm in mind. I tried it on my lips and immediately I realized I finally found the replacement. I am so happy I now have something I can purchase that has the same feeling and effect. I will now be using the Soap & Glory A Great Kisser as my lip balm. It has high shine with no sticky, tacky feeling. They have great scents to them, and only a very slight hint of color. I am so excited to have found a replacement!!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Snuggle Bunny

I had a project for a Christmas present for my daughter, but when I finished it, I couldn't wait to give it to her.

I found a cute pattern for a little blanket buddy in either a bunny or a lamb while at Hobby Lobby. I decided to make the bunny for my daughter, and altered the pattern slightly, but it turned out wonderfully.

I gave it to my daughter, and she has latched on to this soft, snuggly bunny. This is a pattern I will make sure to keep so I can make more if something happens to the one I already made. It will get worn out eventually and I will want to make another one.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Parenting - working through frustrations

As I am a first time mom, I am going through each stage for the first time. Things will be different for future children, and stages will prevent their own challenges, but at least by then I will have experienced something in each stage.

My daughter is currently 16 months old. We are testing the nap issues currently the most. She likes to lay awake and talk through nap time. It frustrates me as I know she needs her sleep and I know how it affects her later if she doesn't get her nap. I know a few days of missed naps means more work for me later to get rid of the fatigue that sets in quickly. Of course she does not understand this. She does not know why I work so hard to get her to actually sleep at nap time. Or why it is so frustrating to me when she fights it.  This is something I am working hard at to maintain my cool and not let my frustration out on her or where she really sees it. This is a work in progress.

Another fun part of this stage (though we are really only in the very beginning of this one) is the tantrums, especially in public.  Luckily, so far there have not been many public tantrums, but I most definitely am not wearing rose colored glasses with the belief that my child will never act out in public. That is a given for every child, no matter how well behaved they usually are. While there have not been many public breakdowns yet, I am sure I will get plenty of looks through the years when they do occur. I am of the mindset that the child has a breakdown and the parent does not fuel the fire by giving in. If in the grocery store and a child throws a fit because he/she wants something and was told no, the answer will stand and they can throw their fit till they give up. I will not give in but will follow through with what I said. Yes, I guarantee plenty of people will stare at me and wonder why I do not give in just to make my child quiet down. Or wonder why I don't just give up on the trip and try again later, leaving my cart and walking out. I will not give up or give in. If the child is screaming, he/she can have their fit. I would like to hope that after only a few of these fits, when they see I don't give in, they will take me at my word and the fits will slowly decrease and finally go away. It would be nice if it works that way, but I won't give up. People may stare if they wish. But I will follow through with what I told my child(ten) rather than giving in just to make them happy and quiet down for the sake of saving myself embarrassment while in public.

By following through, my children will learn I mean what I say. They will learn that I am the parent and what I say goes. They will not run my household because I allowed them to by letting them get their way all the time. Allowing children to have choices is fine. I will give my children two choices (both of which I am comfortable with) and they can decide from there. For example, if while shopping my child begs for a sugary cereal, I will give them two cereal options I am comfortable with and they can pick one of those. Or they can choose nothing. I will not give in to the sugary cereal they want that is not healthy for them just to avoid a tantrum and embarrassment on my part.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Homemade Taco Seasoning


So I have made my own taco seasoning twice now and love it! I feel healthier eating this than the stuff found in packets because there is no junk in this. Rachael Ray has been inspiring me to make more of my own things rather than doing the 'quick and easy' grabbing the pre-made things from the shelf at the store.

I found a couple different recipes for taco seasoning here and here. I somewhat combined these and came up with this version I have used. My husband has not noticed the difference (or if he has, he has not mentioned it) of my homemade stuff versus the pre-packaged kind.

Here is what I used:
3 Tbsp + 1 tsp Chili Powder
2 Tbsp Onion Powder
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Ground Cumin
1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp (overfilled, not level) or 1/2 Tbsp Paprika

When I use this in my beef, I add about 1/2 cup water to the beef and use about 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp of the mix. This seems to work out well for me. I am in high elevation, so I don't know if this would change for lower elevations or if some alterations need to be made.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup

I wanted to post this, though today was not the first time I have used this recipe. I ran into a problem a month or so ago when I needed cream of chicken soup for a recipe but didn't have any. I didn't want to run to the store, so I started searching for a solution. To be honest, I cannot remember where I found the recipe online, but I wrote it down and have it on hand. I have altered it some for my own use and still need to make more adjustments as I am in high altitude and all recipes have to be worked on a few times to get them right here.

The basic ingredients are:
3 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 c milk
1/2 c chicken broth
salt/pepper to taste

* I also add other seasoning based on what I feel like that day. Usually it is a dash of onion salt/powder, and a dash of garlic powder/salt.

* I have been adjusting this some to thicken it up, and have been adding about 1 Tbsp cornstarch as well. I think I still need to add a little more and cook it longer, but it works out fine as is, it just isn't quite as thick as I would like.

So to make this, melt the butter on medium heat till melted, then whisk in the flour and cornstarch. Once this is bubbling, take it off the heat and add the milk and chicken broth (and any other spices) till mixed, returning to heat. Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring frequently until it thickens. That's it!

This is so easy to make, and uses ingredients almost always on hand at home. It is simple, without any extra junk. I like that I can make it at home and not have to worry about what I am feeding my family. I have used this in a cheesy, chicken and rice casserole I made when my parents came to town. I made it today to use in my recipe for beef stroganoff. It works well and tastes great. My parents didn't even notice any difference. My husband usually can tell when I change things up (like when I tried to use plain yogurt in place of sour cream), but he has not noticed this change either.

I love being able to make things for my family that are good for us and are budget friendly. Whether that is food or crafting, this is what I enjoy doing.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Flat plush toys (no stuffing)

So I decided I wanted a "stuffed animal" for my daughter to sleep with but don't want the stuffing. She loves sleeping with blankets to cuddle with, but they can get so hot in the summer months (as she likes the heavy, soft blankets and has to have at least 2). I don't want to fill her crib, so I want something that won't take a lot of room or cause breathing troubles. I also want to find a new "security" object for my daughter so when I eventually begin the transition away from the pacifier (which luckily she only uses when she sleeps, and will leave it in the crib when she wakes up), I have something for her to self-sooth with.

I started looking for something I could purchase, and found a few, but decided I could just make something quickly, at least for now, to see if my daughter even liked them. I found a tutorial to give me something to go on. Then I proceeded to create my pattern.

I chose to go with one continuous piece rather than separate arms and legs. I also wanted a longer body because I wanted it to be a little more blanket like and more to snuggle with.

Before I sewed around the edges, I embroidered a face on one side. Then I sewed the edges, leaving the bottom open to turn it right side out. After I did so, I hand sewed it closed.

I also made a bunny version (by simply making the ears longer) out of another fabric I had. I used left over fabric I had from making a blanket earlier.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Traveling with young children

So now that our first airplane trip with a child is over, how did it go? What went well? What would I do differently next time?

First thing first, our daughter is 14 months old, and she did great (as far as I am concerned) with her first flight. She slept through take off and just watched the landing on the way there. She struggled some on the way back, but we circled the airport for about 20 minutes, gaining and losing altitude as we waited out a tornado warning. This was hard on Little Miss's ears, and I could not have done anything else for her that I wasn't already doing. I was brokenhearted that her ears hurt her and I couldn't help, and also just didn't care if it was bothering others because she is so young I just figured others could deal with it. I didn't bother fretting about if others were upset or anything because all I wanted to do was try to console her as best I could until we landed and her ears could stop hurting.

As for the packing, and what I took with me, here goes:

Car Seat:
This is our car seat.

We decided to purchase the travel cart for our car seat to make it easier to transport it through the airport.

This purchase was one we would definitely recommend! It made it so much easier to take the car seat with us through the airport. We placed Little Miss in the car seat and wheeled her around in it. This made it much easier for us to transport everything we had with us. VERY glad we had this with us!

We took this head rest for when she falls asleep, so her head does not fall. This works wonders on car trips for us already.

This worked great on the trip as well. I knew I liked it for the car trips I have already used it for, and it worked great on the plane as well.

Carry-on bag & contents:
I purchased this Vera Bradley bag for my carry-on so I could take what I needed for Little Miss on top of what fit in her diaper bag. I was able to get it for about half price because I got it in a sale color.

This bag was WONDERFUL! It held everything I needed on the plane for Little Miss, plus my iPad and a few things for me. I will use this bag for future trips (car or plane) and whenever it wears out, I will purchase another one. I loved it!! (This picture only shows some of what I had packed in the bag, but it actually held more than just this.)

This bag held snacks, drinks, food, toys, books, and much more to keep little one occupied. I took the snacks, drinks, and food in her Tommee Tippee cupsfood gear, and bib as this is our favorite. We also love the teethers from Tommee Tippee and took them with us. (This was great as she got another tooth on the trip home.)
I LOVE my Tommee Tippee products. They were amazing for this trip as well.

I took tethers for toys so they did not fall on the ground. These are wonderful! I also use a strap for her cups when in the stroller or in a highchair at a restaurant.

Yep, still love these tethers for the toys and drink cups. They were amazing at keeping things off the ground when Little Miss would get tired and drop something as she nodded off, or when she would get excited and drop something while reaching out for something else.

I found this brilliant idea on Pinterest and made a bracelet like it for my daughter for the trip. I made one with her name on it and another with my phone number. She wore both while we were traveling, just in case (though I don't even let her out of my sight at home -and hate even leaving her with family members for just an hour on rare occasions-, so I won't while traveling, but unplanned events do happen).
These were great on the way there as well as while we were in Hershey Park. The only problem I had was Little Miss is in the stage of taking things off her wrists and head when she gets hot, and the humidity made her miserable. She ended up taking the bracelets off and dropped them, but I didn't realize it till later that day and they are lost now. I guess I will be making new ones before our next trip.

I took a couple wet bags for wet clothing, a small ones for spoons, etc. I made a few large and one small, as well as an open wide bag which sits well to use for medications for little Miss.

These were great, as expected. The bag I used for medications worked perfectly at containing the small mess that occurred when the small bottle with baby wash in it leaked on the plane on the way there. I had placed plastic under the cap on all the bottles except that one, and that one is the only one that leaked. It stayed in the bag and did not get all over everything, so I would say the bag worked perfectly.

I made a small travel changing pad and a small wet bag to put it in with diapers, wipes, diaper cream, and hand sanitizer. This is now a part of my regular diaper bag and went with us on the trip.
I have seen the diaper changer stations that are all in one type changing pads. They look great, but didn't fit the diaper cream well for me. This bag holds the cream, wipes, diapers, hand sanitizer, changing pad, etc and does great for me. I am so glad I made this. It actually stays in the diaper bag full time, and I can just pull this small bag out and take it to the restroom for a change rather than taking the whole diaper bag. LOVE it!!

Pinterest also had great travel game ideas. Some of the ones I pinned are for older children and will be used on future trips, but some can be made for my daughter's age and I had these in the carry-on bag as well. Here is one I made adjustments to for her age by using pictures and such rather than letters.

I wanted a stroller, but didn't want to take our good stroller as I didn't want to risk it getting mangled in transport. Nothing against airlines, but they are moving so much stuff and are in such a hurry, sometimes things get mishandled in the rush and I didn't want our good one ruined. So we purchased this one. I like how the back can either be padded (and warmer) or have the mesh showing (thus keeping the baby cooler).

This stroller was wonderful. I liked having the mesh back for the hot, humid weather as it allowed more breathability for Little Miss. This helped her, since she was miserable in the humidity. We stepped outside and her head was covered in sweat in 1 minute. Poor girl! The only issue I had was it didn't lean back so when she fell asleep in this stroller her head fell forward. I had to tip the stroller onto only the back two wheels. But, that is why this is just the travel stroller, not our regular, every day use stroller.

I saw this stroller organizer for umbrella strollers since they do not have the fancy storage our regular stroller has. I made my own version of this for much cheaper and am pleased with how it turned out.

Here is my stroller organizer (made with special material I found at Hobby Lobby).
This stroller organizer helped us our and made it convenient for water cups, phone, etc. This worked exactly as I wanted it to. LOVED it!!

Front Carrier/Wrap:
I love my Boba wrap and so does my daughter. This has been one of our best purchases and can hold a child up to 35 pounds. We also found the Boba Air and ordered it so we could take that with us. We decided just to take the Boba Air on the trip. We absolutely love the wrap but the air folds smaller and is lighter for travel.

We ended up taking the Boba Air because it was lighter and took up less space than the wrap. I still much prefer the wrap, but for travel, the air worked like we wanted it to. Little Miss seems to prefer the wrap as well, so we probably won't use the air very often, but it was nice to have in case.

High Chair:
My brother and his wife do not have children, so they do not have a high chair at their house. I made two different types, and planned to take at least one of them with us. I have a simple one I use at my parents' house in the high chair they have in which my little one slides out without this. The other one fits on pretty much any chair. I somewhat followed a pattern for the pink version, but the blue version is one I created myself after seeing something like it on the internet. I didn't want to pay the full price, so I made my own pattern and created the blue version for myself.

I took the blue travel high chair for this trip. It was nice to have at my brother's house so we had a high chair there. It worked perfectly and I am so excited I figured out how to make it. It folds small and was exactly what we needed.

Travel bed:
Lets be honest. Taking a Pack & Play on a trip where we fly is not cost effective. Problem- Little Miss was 14 months old on this trip and needed a place to sleep on the trip. Solution- this portable sleep tent. There are several different versions, but this is the one we purchased.

Infant Portable Net Cradle bed

This sleep tent made me a little nervous at first. We used it for a couple weeks prior to the trip (placing it inside the actual crib) to get Little Miss used to it. She would take 2 hours to actually fall asleep, so I was worried how it would do on the trip. She ended up getting used to it, and it worked out well. The only issue I had is it does not seem like it will last very long. I wish I could have gotten the PeaPod version instead. I will keep watching for it and when it becomes available again, I will get one for future trips and future children.

I made cord keepers for phone, kindle, etc. to keep the chargers from getting tangled. (I made some for my husband as well - in blue - but he didn't actually use them until the way back.)


I used mesh bags to pack outfits for Little Miss:

The mesh bags I used (lingerie bags from Walmart) to separate Little Miss' clothes worked great! I loved having outfits already together and having a bag for laundry when it was dirty. This will be used again.

The dehydrated food from NurturMe did not go over so well. Little Miss did not like the texture or something about it and had a hard time eating when she had that food. I had to really coax her to eat it and even bribe her with every other bite as something else (bread, yogurt, something). I ended up making some baby food at my brother's house just so she would eat something. Maybe this is due to her just being used to the food I make rather than the NurturMe food, but she didn't really like it. It was a great idea, and may have been fine if she was used to it.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Travel foods

In preparation for our trip, coming up this weekend (yay!), I have been frantically trying to figure out what I will do for food for Little Miss. I make my own food for her, but am not sure how to travel safely with her homemade food. I freeze it, but I know it won't stay frozen the whole trip, even if I use ice. We have to drive about 4 hours to the airport, and since our flight is around 9:30 in the morning, we will go down the night before. So, I started searching how to travel with my food.

I found organic food made by Nurturme, which is dehydrated. It does not have the added preservatives, fillers, or anything else I don't want my little one eating. It is lighter and easier to travel with than store bought foods. It is closer to the homemade food than the store bought foods, and it is reasonably priced. I am so happy to have found this option. While I would still prefer to take my own homemade food, this is the second best thing and I will not worry about what my little girl is taking in.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Getting ready for our trip

Our trip to PA is now less than a month away. I have been busy making and purchasing things in preparation. I think I have most of our items ready to pack. I am working on making a couple circle skirts for Little Miss so she does not have to wear pants every day, but has something on over her onzies. I have updated the travel blog post to include the items I have made and those I have purchased.

Once I start packing I will show how I have done it to make things go easier and pack more efficiently for us. For example, I purchased lingerie bags to organize outfits for Little Miss so I can pack them in my suitcase and not have things go everywhere when I open it upon arrival. That will also help keep items together so I remember what accessories I packed for which outfit. Yes, another idea I found on Pinterest (though they said to use ziplock bags).

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Open wide zippered pouch

I have a thing for bags, totes, etc. I love totes for my crafts, traveling, and much more. I also like small bags to go inside those totes for organizational purposes. I have recently taken to making wet bags so I can use them for wet towels and swimming suits, keeping towels dry while showering after swimming, and carrying my Posh products around with me. I love the bags I have already made, but they are not as easy to use with my Posh products or with sunscreen, medications, etc for Little Miss. I found a tutorial for a pouch that opens up wider and sits flat easier, and decided to make a couple myself.

The tutorial I used can be found here.

I used laminated material for the inside so it would be a wet bag, which is different from the tutorial.
I made this one for my Posh products or for taking those products I need for Little Miss while traveling.

I also made a second one, which is taller than what is in the tutorial (at about 11" tall and at the opening, 10" wide). I made this one as a small diaper pouch so when I am out and about (at the mall, a restaurant, etc) with my husband and Little Miss, I can leave the full diaper bag out with my husband and only take the essentials with me into the bathroom for a diaper change. I also made a changing pad with the laminated material on one side and regular cotton material on the other. I did not use any padding in between because I wanted it to fold up small. (I fold it in thirds, then in thirds again and it gets down to about 5"x8" and very flat) I have to use A&D or Desitin ointment with every diaper change due to Little Miss having sensitive skin, and the little fold out changing pad carriers don't give me a place to put that. This bag allows me to put a changing pad, diapers, wipes, ointment, and hand sanitizer in it to carry much easier than trying to hold each individually. (This also conceals the ointment as Little Miss finds it fun to take it from me to play with it and fusses when I take it away. This keeps it out of sight.)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Homemade baby wipes (Posh style)

I love my Perfectly Posh products so much I use them on my daughter. I wanted to try making my own baby wipes after finding this tutorial and decided to make them Posh as well. So for the 1T baby wash, I used the Fabulous Baby wash.

This worked perfectly, and made the wipes smell amazing! I am so pleased with how these turned out and happy to continue making my household Posh as I love the products so much!

If you are interested in checking out more Posh products, which are natural, made in the U.S, free of parabins, paraffins, sulfates, soy, and gluten, go to my website at:

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Umbrella Stroller Organizer

In preparation for our trip this July, I decided to purchase an umbrella stroller rather than taking our good stroller. The problem with these strollers is the lack of a place to put a cup of water for my daughter. This will be needed, especially with the hot weather while we are out and about. I had found this organizer as an option, but decided it would be fun to create one myself.

I got material from Hobby Lobby (which is a water resistant type material) with my 40% off coupon on my Hobby Lobby app, and in total it only cost me about $6 or $8 to make my own.
Here is the one I came up with. (Sorry, not the greatest lighting for these pictures)


I am so excited to have this for our trip and even happier I was able to make it for cheaper than purchasing one. It was a fun project and I think it came out nicely. It folds up nicely with the stroller so I won't have to remove it if I choose not to. It also goes on very easily, so even if I do remove it, it only takes about 2 seconds - literally - to put on or take off.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Cord keepers

I found a great idea for organizing cords and keeping them from getting tangled up while traveling (or just for around the house). The idea comes from this tutorial, however I made a slight change and added a clear plastic sleeve so I can label the cords.
My version was slightly more difficult with adding the plastic sleeve, but was still very simple. These will be great when we go on our trip in July. I will be adding these to our packing list and add them to the post as well.