Monday, February 25, 2013

Mommy's Bliss Sweet Slumber Review

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know how much trouble we went through to get Joseph to sleep through the night. He had stomach issues, so for the first 7 months of his life he woke every two hours. He's finally sleeping through the night, but often takes time to settle down, which is why I was excited to hear about Mommy's Bliss Sweet Slumber products.

Mommy's Bliss Sweet Slumber is a line of natural bedtime products for infants, designed to help enhance quality sleep for little ones. The line includes a 3-in-1 Body Wash, Massage Cream, and Calming bedroom mist. Each of the three products contain natural botanical ingredients such as English Lavender Oil, German Chamomile Extract and Yylang Yylang Flower Oil. The best part for me is that they are hypo-allergenic and contain no artificial fragrances, gluten, soy, alcohol, sulfates, phthalates or parabens. My kids inherited my sensitive skin and eczema, so I need products with gentle ingredients and these fit the bill. 

When I received  the products, I set aside a night to give all three a try. First I spritzed the bedroom with the calming mist. The smell was subtle and not overwhelming, which I love. And now that I've used it every night for a few weeks, it's a calming and familiar scent for my kids. The Mommy's Bliss Sweet Slumber Mist retails for $5.99 for a 3.25 fl oz bottle and is available at Walgreens.
Next I gave the kids a bath and washed them both with the Baby Wash. I was only going to use it for Joseph, since Stephanie isn't really a baby anymore, but she insisted on using it too. Again, the scent was light and not overbearing, and it's tear-free which is great for Joseph who refuses to keep his head back when I rinse his shampoo out. It worked very effectively as a shampoo, body wash and bubble bath, and didn't irritate their sensitive skin. I love the ease of having all three in one bottle too! The Mommy's Bliss Sweet Slumber baby wash retails for $7.99 for an 11.75 fl oz bottle and is available at Walgreens.
Lastly, I used the massage cream when bath time was over. (Again, Stephanie insisted on using it too, and now "Massage time!" is part of our nightly routine.) The massage cream was gentle and nourishing and left my kids' skin soft and moisturized  It also made my hands feel soft and not at all greasy, which meant I didn't feel the urge to wash it off my hands like I do for many lotions. The Mommy's Bliss Sweet Slumber massage cream retails for $6.99 for an 8.25 fl oz bottle and is available at Walgreens.

I highly recommend each of  these products! They have been a great addition to our bedtime routine, and I love that they don't contain any icky stuff. We all have sensitive skin but haven't suffered any irritation from the Mommy's Bliss Sweet Slumber products. The calm, soothing scent is an indicator to all of us that it's bedtime, and using it as part of our nightly routine helps us all settle down at the end of the day. 

*I received products for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Thankful Thursday! (On Friday...)

I've missed Thankful Thursday for the past few weeks, but I really wanted to link up this week. Yesterday got away from me so I decided to just do it today.

This week my Thankful list centers around the home buying process, which has pretty much taken over our lives lately!

Today i'm thankful for:

~A fantastic Realtor.  I LOVE the woman we've been working with. She's friendly, knowledgeable, always available for us when we need her, and she and I get along so well. I'm so happy that she's the person we have helping us navigate our first home buying experience.

~The fact that we found a house we love very quickly. The one we chose was only the third house we saw, but it's perfect for us, and everything in it is brand new. It is completely move-in condition!

~A positive home inspection. We had our inspection last week, and the only things that turned up were very minor issues.

~A repair negotiation that we are happy with. It was touch and go for awhile but we finally got the seller to agree with most of our requests.

~That our mortgage has officially been approved.

Everything has moved so fast, and I still want to write more about our home-buying process. But for now i'm thankful that everything is going smoothly and we are on track to close on the property on March 27th!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! If you have time, hop on over to Baby Gators Den to read other Thankful Thursday posts. I love to hear what others are grateful for each week.


Monday, February 18, 2013

3 Year Letter To Stephanie

Dear Stephanie,

Last week you turned three years old. Three. It is unbelievable to me that the past three years are already behind us. I am amazed every day at what you know and the things you can do.

You are such a smart girl. You've been able to recognize all the letters of the alphabet for over a year now, and you're starting to put them together to recognize and sound out words. You can almost spell your name (it has a lot of letters!) and want so badly to learn how to write. You know colors, shapes and numbers and love to point these things out to your brother.

Your favorite activity is reading. You love having Daddy and I to read to you (we once read 17 story books in a row) but you also love to read on your own. I often find you curled up on the couch with a book, retelling the story almost word for word. You have a fantastic memory. (This also means I need to watch what I say. If I tell you we're going to do something later you won't let me forget.)

You also love coloring, stickers, gluing and stamping. You've recently developed a love for puzzles and will sit at the table putting a small jigsaw puzzle together all by yourself. It makes me so proud to watch you struggle to put the pieces together and then cheer when you've completed it.

One of my favorite things about you is your love for your brother. You are always looking out for him and hugging him, and you hate when he is crying in his bed. Oh you certainly have your moments of not wanting him near you and you've been known to yell at him from time to time. But in general you two are best friends and I am thankful that you have each other to go through life with.

You love to watch TV and aren't always happy when I set limits on how often it's on in our house. But you've learned that you can watch a little first thing in the morning and when you wake up from your rest in the afternoon. Oh yes, I said rest. You gave up your naps before Christmas. This means you are often quite cranky by dinner time and we've gotten into a lot of discussions about whining. If you can't talk to me without whining, you know you need to go into your bed and rest until you can use a nice voice. But back to TV! Your favorite show is Thomas the Tank Engine. I love how much you love it, and the fact that you aren't exclusively obsessed with princesses. (Oh you do love princesses, but your love for Thomas is a good balance.)

You started nursery school in September, and although we had a rough start you've learned to love it. You talk about your teachers and friends with excitement and look forward to going to school so you can tell them things. I always hear you singing the songs you've learned and it makes me smile when I recognize them from my years of teaching at that school. I'm proud of how far you've come from the days of crying for the full 2.5 hours that you were there.

We had a wonderful year last year, and I can't wait to see all the new things you will learn while you are three. I have no doubt that you will continue to amaze me as you grow and change. You are a sweet, loving, smart and beautiful little girl and I feel so blessed to be your Mommy. I hope you always have the strength and perseverance that you exhibit now, and that you will always be as happy and carefree as you are at 3 years old. Thank you for being all that you are.

I love you a million billion sweet girl!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wordless-ish Wednesday

My sister watched my kids today while we had our house inspection (more news on the house soon!) It turns out that Stephanie and my niece wore Joseph ragged. When I arrived at my sister's house to pick the kids up, I was met with this:

(Thanks to my sister for capturing this picture!)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Blizzard 2013

When this winter began, I wished for a lot of snow. I guess I should have been specific...I wanted a lot of little snow storms, not one huge blizzard! But a blizzard is what we got, and i'm just thankful now that we still have electricity. So many friends are without tonight, and temperatures are dropping steadily. Many are stuck in their homes as they wait for plows to come through and clear the roads so they can seek shelter and warmth. My thoughts go out to all who are without power tonight!

As an adult I tend to think of storms in terms of the impact they will have. Meaning, what damages they will cause. My kids on the other hand just think it's fun and exciting! Stephanie has been begging for snow all winter, so she was thrilled yesterday morning when it started coming down and quickly became heavy.

Dan had to work all day yesterday so the kids and I made snow crafts (gluing cotton balls onto blue paper to make a snow storm), smelling the chili that was bubbling in the crock pot, eating snacks and watching the snow come down.

Our power flickered off and on about 10 times throughout the evening as the blizzard arrived full force, dumping wet heavy snow and causing loud, angry wind gusts. Luckily it never went out for good, and I woke up to two very excited children who were eager to get out and play.

When we finally ventured outside, the kids had a blast playing in snow that was over their heads in some places.

When they came back inside, their cheeks were bright red and they were full of enthusiastic giggles as they watched their Daddy attempt to shovel out our car. Eventually they settled down and snuggled up on the couch to get warm.

We spent the rest of the day looking at the huge amount of snow out our windows, hoping our friends and family would get their power back, and trying to keep ourselves occupied. (Two days of not leaving the house can make for some boredom for all of us.)

Tonight we will go to bed with much quieter winds outside, and no threat of losing electricity. (We hope!) Our family is sending all of our good thoughts to those who have been negatively affected by this storm! I hope you all stay safe and warm tonight.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Sibling Love

It's a good thing this is Wordless Wednesday because I can't even tell you how much this melted my heart at snack time today!

Monday, February 4, 2013

February Meal Plan

I'm a little behind on this (I meant to post at the end of January) but I figured better late than never! I did really well sticking to our food budget last month, but not so well sticking to the meal plans. This month my goal is to stick to both!

Here's what we'll be eating for dinners this month:

1: Family dinner at the '99 Restaurant
2: Super Bowl gathering at my mom's house. (I made football pizza with my little helper!)

3: Super Bowl Sunday snack foods (pigs in a blanket, cheese with pepperoni and crackers, raw veggies, chips, brownies for dessert.)
4: Chicken Pot Pie
5: Pasta with Sauce and fresh steamed broccoli
6: Leftover Pot Pie
7: Macaroni & Cheese (Dan works late and isn't for dinner on Thursdays)
8: Chili
9: Leftover chili and some vegetables to supplement
10: Ham, baked beans, peas and applesauce
11: Stephanie's birthday dinner at a restaurant of her choosing
12: Leftover ham
13: Calzones or homemade pizza (I use the same ingredients for both so it just depends on what I feel like that night.)
14: Valentine's Day Dinner at my mom's house (I think she'll be making stuffed shells)
15: Soup & rolls
16: Stephanie's family birthday (we're having deli meat platters, chips and a raw veggie platter.)
17: Party Leftovers
18: Beef Stew
19: Tacos
20: Leftovers
21: Quesadillas
22: Cranberry Pork Chops (A new recipe I'm going to try)
23: Leftovers
24: Sausage and Tortellini Stew
25: Sweet n' spicy crock pot chicken
26: Lemon Pepper Pork with pilaf rice and a vegetable
27: Macaroni and Cheese
28: Homemade Pasta Fagiole

I lucked out this month because there are tons of celebrations and eating out opportunities. And most of my meals are of the one-pot variety, which is nice and easy! I'm really excited to try out the new pork recipe, and when I make my march meal plan i'm hoping to try one new recipe a week!  Feel free to share your meal plans or any new recipes you have.

Friday, February 1, 2013

A Year of Books: January

Happy February!

As usual I've gotten myself behind on posts. I have a lot of fun things coming up, but I wanted to make sure this one got written first.

Most of you know that I am a huge fan of reading. I'll read almost anything and I always need to have a book going. I also read fast, and I make sure to squeeze time in for a book every day. (I wrote more about my reading habits in this post.)

Even though I love to read, I rarely keep track of the books I've gone through. But my friend Annalee over at Happiness at the Core recently wrote this post about how she set herself a goal to read 50 books in 2013 and is going to keep track of them on her blog. (You might remember that I wrote about Annalee and her beautiful daughter Maya back in June.)

I love the idea of blogging about the books I've been reading. Some of them I plan to review in more detail, but I just couldn't bring myself to list them without saying anything, so I've included a little synopsis of my thoughts on each one.

In January I read:

Bottled Up: How The Way We Feed Babies Has Come to Define Motherhood and Why It Shouldn't by Suzanne Barston. This book was written by a fellow blogger, and while I really wanted to love it...I just didn't. I started reading it in December but found it was so dry I had to put it down and pick it up again in January. It was full of great information but also loaded with statistics. I was hoping for more of a story, but it was more an informational book. It wasn't bad, just not what I had been expecting, and Suzanne is a wonderful writer, so if you're interested in the topic I do recommend it. Just be doesn't read like a blog post would read.

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown. I saw this is the store and when I read the back found out that it was about 3 sisters. Being one of three girls myself, I just had to read it. I thought it was a great book about sisters who have grown up and moved on with their lives but then return to their roots to deal with a family crisis. The sisters are nothing like me and mine, but I did enjoy it so gave a copy to my older sister for her birthday.

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. I LOVED this book. I don't know much about Ernest Hemingway, but I found this fictional tale about his first wife to be a wonderful read. I highly recommend it, and I think it was my favorite from all the books I read this month

A Season of Angels by Thomas Kincade and Katherine Spencer. This is the last book in a long series of Christmas-themed books by these two authors. They are far from great literature, but they're sweet tales about a little town in Massachusetts and the people who live there. I read the entire series in the month of December but hadn't gotten this one in time so I read it and completed the series in January. 
Motherland by Amy Sohn. I didn't like this book at all. I don't know why I read it, since I didn't like her other book, Prospect Park West, either. It's supposed to be a fictional account of modern motherhood in a ritzy area of Brooklyn, but I just found the themes of abuse and adultery to be too much to stomach. It had the potential to be a really good book, based on the description from the dust jacket, but it just wasn't the type of book I like and fell short of my expectations. 

The Yoga Body Diet by Kristen Dollard and John Douillard, DC, PhD I loved this book and plan to write more about it a little later this month. It lays out a four-week plan to get the body you want based on yoga and it's principles. I won't be following the plan completely, but I learned a lot and hope to incorporate various bits and pieces of the diet and lifestyle plan into my own life.

Are you a reader? What have you been reading lately? Feel free to send me your suggestions, either in the comments below or on my Facebook page. I'm always looking for book ideas, and need to get started on my February reading!

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