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Feb 26, 2013

My favorite Mommy Books and Websites

Hello, my name is Sandy, and I am addicted to research and learning. 

Yes, it's true. My family may laugh at me because I Google everything, but that's how I learn. I thrive on it! Although, I saw a very interesting commercial about and how it is better than Google. I'll have to check that out! 

Anywho, I wanted to share with you what I think has been the most helpful and encouraging to me and my little mommyhood. :)


This book has honestly been the biggest help. I was bound and determined to nurse. I knew the health benefits to mama and baby. I knew how important it was for Ty's immunity, growth, and development. I could go on and on, maybe that will be in another post. Now, let me add, I do not judge or think less of anyone who does not breastfeed. This was just very important to me. 

I read this book while I was pregnant and have referenced it so many times since having Ty.  There have been times where nursing has been tough and I have had issues. Ina May goes over the basics, problem-solving in the first weeks, the first months, and pumping info. If you are nursing or planning to nurse, I highly recommend it. It can be purchased HERE.

I know I have mentioned this book before but it truly is one of my favorites. It explains the importance of real food and why whole foods are best. It talks about food delaying and how cereal is NOT the best first food. And it stresses the importance of GOOD fats like real butter and full fat milk. I am not a completely whole food and organic eater, but I am definitely working on it. Taking baby steps. And this book is so informative on what I should give little Ty.  You can purchase it HERE.

All I have to say about this book is THANK YOU! Ty has had a touch of Colic. I can tell his tummy is not hurting (when he has gas, he is not uncomfortable) He definitely has a "witching hour" though. I feel that this new world is so overwhelming to him and he is a sensitive baby. Learning and growing is hard work! His episodes are totally predictable and now we know how to handle them. I don't totally agree with some of Dr. Karp's developmental view, such as the 4th trimester, but his strategy is like non other.

This book gives ways to calm a crying baby. It stresses the 5 S's (5 steps to calm baby).  Swaddling, Side/stomach position, Shushing sound, Swinging, and Sucking.  These 5 steps have calmed him down within  1-2 minutes about 95% of the time he has cried uncontrollably. This is a must have if your baby seems colicky, or cries for no apparent reason. :)  You can purchase it HERE.

This book explains the 10 mental developmental leaps a child takes and how to assist them in learning and growing through those leaps. During these leaps, baby may become fussy and clingy. This let me know that, this shall pass soon! Right now we are in leap 3. I love this book because it tells me things to look for during certain weeks. For instance, this leap, Ty started "holding" on to his toys, he needs to be entertained by me more (gets bored easily), blows spit bubbles, and is clingy and cries easier. I am watching for development such as smoother eye movement and head movement, which he is progressing in. It also gives fun games to play that help him through each leap. I love, love this book! It can be purchased HERE.

WEBSITES: link is the title name

Baby related:

I have mentioned this site before also. It has helped me in my nursing journey. :)

Cooking and homemaking:

This website is by a Christian mama and it is a great site to learn real food basics and has fabulous recipes.

Another site for natural living. This site is great for real food, homemaking, frugal living tips, DIY, and so much more! She also has just completed a Real food beginners series that is fabulous.

The next two sites are strictly for my reading and encouragement as a wife and mother. I feel my job is to be a wife and mother. I could go into GREAT depth here, but I may do another post on that one day as well. As a wife and mother, I need encouragement. Of course, I am encouraged daily by my Lord and Saviour and his word, but I need to hear and read from other moms like me. So the next two sites I frequent regularly.

Mommy/wife encouragement and learning

Courtney is a stay-at-home homeschooling mama who encourages through the word. She helps moms with frugal living, homemaking, marriage advice, and more. She also has a free e-book about becoming the Proverbs 21 woman...I need to read this again. :) Her good friend is who has great doable recipes! 

Darlene is a stay-at-home mama of 4 and gives so much encouragement! By God's grace, she came from being an adulteress wife, to the wife and mother that God had intended her to be. God has used her in so many ways. She has sections on homemaking, bible study, and recipes. She also has an e-book titled, "the Good Wife's Guide, Embracing Your Role as a Help Meet". (with a forward by Candace Cameron Bure) A great read! If you are a personal facebook friend of mine, you will notice I "share" a lot of Darlene's facebook pictures. :)

I hope these books and websites help you and encourage you as a wife, mommy, step-mommy, and woman! 

Feb 21, 2013

Organized Car "kit"

Hello there! Today I wanted to show you a little kit that I keep in the back of my car. :) At Ty's first doctor's appointment I did NOT :) forget to pack wipes in his diaper bag. So I realized I needed to make a back up kit in the car! So here it is. :) 

I have storage compartments in the back of my car so I may end up taking the items out of the bag and storing them there...

My bag is the medium 31 storage tote. This was a gift from my brother's fiance (sister-in-law come July 2013!) who is a 31 consultant. If you are interested in purchasing 31 products, click HERE.

In my kit, I keep:

A first aid kit filled with band aides, neosporin, benedryl, advil, etc.
2 receiving blankets
1 larger warmer blanket
extra diapers
changing kit, which includes wipes and a changing pad
Sassy diaper bags, which can be used for any trash, etc.
Extra change of clothes for Ty
Extra shirt for me...never know when I may need one. (In black, because black goes with everything!)
Toy for Ty
DVD's for the DVD in the car

It has pretty much anything I think I need for a baby emergency. Did I forget anything?!

What Ty has taught me

Yes, this is a picture (terrible quality cell phone pic :) Of an empty curtain rod. To us "adults', this little brown decorative piece on the curtain rod is just that, a piece that matches my furniture...but to Ty it is fascinating. 

You see, Ty is so entranced by shadows, cabinets, molding, light fixtures, and this morning? The curtain rod. All along, I knew it was age appropriate and took delight in his amusement. But this morning...I decided to see what he saw.

He saw the beautiful reflection of the morning sun.  The gorgeous deep mahogany and black swirls used to create the color. He saw the intricate detail of the carvings. He, where I only saw stuff.

Why write this post, you say? When did we as adults forget to look and take in the beauty and magic around us? When did we lose our innocence and appreciation? When did we lose our simplicity? When did we get so busy with our everyday lives to just stop and be silent?

Our God is an amazing God. Sometimes I take Him for granted. I know Him, I love Him, and I place everything I have in Him. He has given us so much to love. Even down to that pesky little stink bug. That stink bug is God's creation, too. :) 

Thank you, sweet Ty, for reminding me how beautiful our God is and for bringing me back down and humbling me. Thank you, dear Lord, for using Ty as a vessel to remind me how wonderful YOU are. It's time for some "Crazy Love".

We spent awhile gazing at this beautiful curtain rod together, all the while, praising God. <3 Won't you take a moment today to notice that bird on the branch, or the blade of grass blowing in the wind. Notice the way to sun reflects off the hood of your car. Take a moment to thank God, truly thank Him. <3

Feb 20, 2013

February Birchbox!

If you read my post HERE, you know after a several month hiatus, I started my Birchbox subscription back up. came today!  I, of course, am so excited. It's like christmas...or maybe...Life is like a Birchbox, you never know what you're going to get. :) Funny, no? Anywho..on to this month's box!

Each month comes with the theme card which explains why they chose the type of products in the box. On the back of the card explains the products and the full size price.

Here are my goodies!!

Here they are:

What it is: a full size of Dermablend Professional Quick-Fix Concealer
What they say:  Trust a professional dermatologist to create a full-coverage concealer stick that erases dark spots, undereye circles, and scars without clogging pores. Full-size $23

This matches my skin perfect since I filled out the profile. It looks dark in the pic. :)

This is what I was really hoping for! I got my first twist band hair tie in a Birchbox last summer and was really hoping for the headband!

What it is:  twistband Thick Headband
What they say:  Made with soft elastic, these colorful headbands keep your hair out of your face without any creasing or tugging. Set of 6, $19

What it is: Votivo Pink Mimosa Candle
What they say:  This is the "Lifestyle extra" (non beauty product):  With notes of strawberry, mandarin, and gardinia, this scented candle adds elegance to any environs. Tip:  Place the lid under the tin after lighting the wick. Full-size, $26

this is perfect for travel!

What it is:  Juicy Couture "Couture La La"
What they say:  Roll out the red carpet for this new scent, a stunning mix of mandarin, red currant, lily, and orange blossom. Full-size, $19-90

If you follow me on instagram you saw where I love perfume samples! I actually wear Juicy Couture "Viva La Juicy" often. I also received in a Birchbox the sample of  "Viva La Juicy La Fleur" Which is divine! I actually want the full size of that. This Couture La La is up there with the rest of Juicy's perfumes. I love them all!

What it is:  Vasanti Brighten Up! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator
What they say:  This exfoliating cleanser uses professional-grade (read: effective) microderm crystlas and papaya enzymes to brighten skin.  Full-size, $34

You can see there is not a lot in this tube, but it will last several cleanings to see if I like it.

What it is was: ;)  Ghirardelli Milk & Caramel Square
What they say:  A treat from Ghirardelli:  You deserve a little sweetness. Try Ghirardelli's Milk & Caramel Square solo or experiment - s'mores or baked into a cookie.  Who says you can't riff on decadence?

I am over all happy with this month's Birchbox! Stay tuned for next month! If you want to check out Birchbox for yourself click HERE.

Prosciutto Wrapped Roasted Asparagus

I made this to go with THESE pork chops for Valentine's dinner

pound asparagus (about 19 stalks), trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
6 to 8 paper-thin slices prosciutto, halved lengthwise
Grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Snap the dry stem ends off of each asparagus and place on a heavy baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with pepper, and toss. Roast until the asparagus is tender, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.Wrap each asparagus with 1 piece (about 1/2 a slice) of prosciutto, exposing tips. Top with Parmesan cheese.  Arrange on a platter and serve at room temperature.

slightly adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

Lemon Soy Pork Chop

I made this pork chop for our Valentine's dinner and it was divine!

1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced/ pressed
2 tablespoons lemon pepper seasoning
2-4 pork bone in pork chops

Mix first 5 ingredients and place in casserole dish or ziplock bag. Add  pork chops and marinate for at lease an hour. (I like to marinate for several hours)

Heat non stick pan to 240-300 degrees or medium low. I vary. I like to cook each side for a while, possibly 10-15 minutes per side depending on thickness. Internal temperature should reach 145 for a medium chop and 160 for well done.

Feb 15, 2013

Valentine's Day!

It's Valentine's day! I know people say Valentine's day is overrated and that we should celebrate our love every day. And we do! But it's not often I get to get out the candles and make hubbs a special dinner. This year was no exception...although a little more challenging with a little one! Ha!

And....I have to admit, my heart shaped decorated brownie did NOT make it to the table. :( I was so excited to decorate it, I took it out of the oven to soon. No pictures will be posted of that fiasco! But we wouldn't have been able to eat desert, because Bug vocally let us know that HE wanted to be the center of attention! 

We rarely go out to eat for Valentine's day. I like to cook and eat at home, it's way more romantic. <3 This was such a fabulous V-day. I have to gush. I am married to the BEST hubby ever. And no, your's is not as grand. lol. Truly, he is my soulmate. 

He of course brought home flowers and the sweetest card as always. Oh how I love that man! 


Lemon Soy Pork Chop - recipe to come
Prociutto wrapped roasted asparagus - recipe to come
Baked Potato with Sour Cream & Chives
Cupcake Cabernet Sauvignon

A simple candlelight dinner for two


 And because my husband knows I LOVE a flower mix. <3

What did you do for Valentine's day?

To my husband:

When I first said "I love you", I thought I understood the full meaning of those words. Through the years, I have realized there is so much more to those three little words than I could ever imagine. I had only just begun to know what true love is. Thank you today and every day for all you do for your family. I love you "that much". I thank God for making you mine..and then for making you ours. Happy Valentines Day ♥

Feb 13, 2013

Embrace the Camera

I am starting to Embrace the Camera! How many of us have grown up without any pictures with our moms? Mommy's are always behind  the camera! I am taking the cue from The Anderson Crew and embracing the camera so Ty will grow up with pictures of mommy. :) They may not be the best pictures. It's okay if I have no makeup and in sweats. 

Chipotle Cornbread Bake

Here is another recipe that I received! Tony loved this. He said this was right up his alley. He and I both had at least 2 helpings. I did not have Pampered Chef Chipotle Rub so I made it HERE. Mine was a little spicy. I'm not sure how spicy PC is. It was still so yummy!! I loved how easy and quick this was to make in my covered baker. This is one of the best products I have ever bought from Pampered Chef. If you are interested, please click HERE. Thank you, Megan, for this yummy recipe!

6  green onions with tops, divided
1  lb (450 g) 90% lean ground beef
1  can (16 oz or 398 mL) chili beans in sauce, undrained
1  cup (250 mL) chunky salsa
2  tbsp (30 mL) Chipotle Rub
1  pkg (8.5 oz) corn muffin mix (I used Jiffy)
1  container (8 oz or 250 mL) sour cream
1  egg
1/2  cup (125 mL) shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
1  plum tomato, seeded and diced (optional)
  1. Coarsely chop bell pepper using Food Chopper. Thinly slice green onions using Color Coated Chef's Knife, separating white and light green bottoms from tops. Reserve 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the onion tops for garnish. Place remaining tops into Classic Batter Bowl.
  2. In Deep Covered Baker, combine bell pepper, onion bottoms and beef; mix well. Microwave, covered, on HIGH 7–9 minutes or until beef is no longer pink, breaking into crumbles halfway through using Mix ‘N Chop. Remove baker from microwave using Oven Mitts; carefully pour off juices. Add beans, salsa and rub to beef mixture; mix well. Cover; microwave on HIGH 5 minutes or until hot.
  3. Meanwhile, combine muffin mix, sour cream and egg in batter bowl; mix well. Scoop muffin mixture evenly over chili; spread to edges of baker using Small Spreader. Microwave, covered, on HIGH 7–9 minutes or until center of cornbread springs back when lightly pressed. Remove baker from microwave. Sprinkle cheese over cornbread, if desired; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Garnish with reserved onion tops and tomato, if desired.

Thank you so much, Megan, for this delicious recipe! It is going into my regular rotation! If you are interested in any Pampered Chef products visit Megan's page HERE. New products are coming out soon, so make sure you check her out!!

2 months old

I can not believe Ty is already 2 months old! Time has surely flown by. We have learned so much together, climbed a few hills and fallen down a few times. But we are learning. <3 He began getting extremely fussy in the evenings. I cut way back on my dairy consumption and that seems to have helped. 

Weight & length:  at his doctor's appointment on the 12th: 11.9 pounds (34%)  and 22 3/4 in long (37%) Head circumference is still in the 89% :)

Sleeping: He woke up every 2-3 hours to eat until I began swaddling him a week ago.  He will go 1 4-5 hour stretch before midnight, then 2-3 afterwards. Still wakes up to grunt and groan around 4-5. :)

Eating: I nurse on demand so the schedule is different every day. He is beginning to get on more of a schedule. He never goes less than 2 hours in the day and never more than 4.

Diapers: Size 1

Clothing: 0-3 and some 3 months.  Learned that Carter's 3M clothes are actually 0-3 size. Going and confusing me like that. Lol. Some 3 months are still too big.

Hair: Dark brown. I think he has lost all he is going to lose. I love his little receding hairline. :)

Eyes: Navy blue but turning brown 

Personality:  All smiles in the morning! Over all he is a happy baby. He gets fussy in the evening but that is common in this stage. Loves his playmat. He loves to stare at shadows, curtain rods, door knobs, pretty much anything. He is truly taking in the world around him.

Milestones: He is cackling and cooing so much! He can find mama and daddy in a room when we talk. He is all smiles in the morning. Daddy hates to leave to go to work. :) He can hold his head up so well, I rarely have to assist him. He is trying to throw his leg over to roll over. He is starting to grasp at objects now rather than just bat at them all the time. He tries to talk to us! I love it!

Firsts: Lots of firsts this month! He took his first road trip to Danville! Missed it all because he slept the whole time! His first time in a restaurant (Lone Star) and his first dinner out (Los Nortenos). Mama left him for the first time with Nannie for about an hour. Hardest thing mama has done, but both managed to get through it scar free. :) He also got his first shots. :( I'm sure it was harder on mama than on him.

Feb 8, 2013

Friday Favorites!

It's Friday favorites time! This week is a few more baby products. :))

I swaddled Ty when he was an itty bitty newborn and he loved it. "I" don't like my arms held down, so I stopped swaddling him. After all, he needs to stretch, right? Well, I decided to swaddle him again after reading the book in #2. :)  Ty went from feeding every 2 hours after midnight (3 hours before) to 4.5 hours! What the what?! Yee Haw! Happy Dance!

THIS is the best book on how to calm a crying/fussy baby. Ty has hit a fussy stage (partially due to my diet I have found) but the techniques in this book on how to soothe him are fascinating. There is a DVD available also, but I have not watched it.

I love my stroller frame.  My husband and I opted for this rather than a travel system and I couldn't recommend it more. I am short (5'1") and pretty weak. ha! This has been a dream to get in and out of the car. It is compact when in stores, etc. as well. Click HERE.

That's all for this week's Friday Favorites!! :)