What’s On My Christmas List

*This post contains affiliate links.*

With 7 more days until Christmas, the countdown is ON!

I have several Mama friends that sell for awesome companies. I love supporting and promoting them, so today I want to share what’s on my Christmas list and give a shout out to those Mamas!

1. Pure haven. Pure Haven is a toxic free company that makes everything from cleaning products to skin care, essential oils to baby body wash. I love, love, LOVE their skin care line! I feel good knowing the products I put on my face are pure and are helping my skin glow and reduce signs of age. My friend Amie sells for Pure Haven, and you can buy from this link here and connect with her on facebook here.

2. Crunchi. Crunchi is a local company to all you here in Palm Beach County. They are widely known for their toxic free and high performance makeup. Some favorites I like to purchase by Crunchi are their: body bars, sunscreen, and eye shadow. I will be receiving their foundation and concealer for Christmas, and I am very excited! Lianne Smith is passionate about educating women about how to live a toxic-free lifestyle. She has a great facebook group where she posts all kinds of helpful information. You can shop with Lianne here.

3. Norwex. Norwex is famous,  and in my opinion, brilliant for their microfiber cloths. These bad boys (or good boys!) remove 99.9% of bacteria from a surface. With. Just. WATER. Whaaat? These cloths help reduce my costs of cleaning products and helps save the environment by using no more paper towels! My girl, Christy Thompson, is a Norwex consultant and is very knowledgeable about their products. You can connect with her here and shop on her website here. They currently have some sweet Christmas deals going on!

4. Noonday collection. This company provides sustainable jobs for men and women around the globe. They make beautiful jewelry, bags, and even Christmas ornaments! I own three pairs of their earrings and would love to own them all! You can connect with Caroline or Jessica by clicking on their names and shopping at their sites.

5. Beach body on demand. I must admit, I totally dug insanity, p90x, and especially t25. I wore those dvds out. As a mama on a run, I’m always looking for effective and timely ways to get my workout in. I love that beach body now offers their workouts by streaming them, and the options are numerous. Molly is an excellent Coach and loves to encourage women to make healthy lifestyle choices. You can connect with her here.

What’s on your shopping list, Mama?

 

Thanksgiving Place Card Craft

Most Fridays I host a toddler art class at my house. It’s a super fun way to get my Lil to interact with kiddos her age and practice the art of sharing and painting all at the same time. I typically do a read aloud and pair it with a project I’ve found on Pinterest.

Ever since doing a handprint paint project, Lillian is determined to paint her hands (and arms, imagine evening gloves up to her elbows painted on!) Every. Single. Art class. So let’s just say most of her paintings end up with handprints, not at all resembling the cutesie craft I am aiming for. Following directions is a skill we are working on! Haha.

My son, however is five years old. So he does the craft on the weekends and his turn out very well done, I must say. I fell in love, love, love with my son’s fist pumpkin patch! I thought, why not turn this into something to create for Thanksgiving? Here’s a few ideas for making placecards for Thanksgiving day.

1. The Pumpkin Fist

Supplies needed: Orange paint, paintbrush, cardstock paper or construction paper, brown and green markers

Instructions: Precut the paper, I would half or quarter each piece depending on how large your child’s fist is. Fold each cut piece in  half. Have your child form a fist. Paint the fist with orange paint using a paintbrush. Guide their fist onto the paper. Repeat these steps until you have completed the amount of place cards needed. Allow the pumpkins to dry. When dry, add a brown stem, green leaves, and name of individuals using the markers.

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2. The Handprint Turkey

Supplies needed: Orange, brown, green, red, and yellow paint, paintbrushes, cardstock/construction paper, a black marker.

Instructions: Precut the paper, I would half or quarter each piece depending on how large your child’s hand is. Fold each cut piece in  half. Holding your child’s hand face up, paint the palm and thumb with brown paint. Paint each of the four remaining fingers a different color, allowing your child to choose. Guide your child to make a handprint on each piece of cardstock paper. Repeat the steps, adding more paint as needed to make the prints. Allow the turkeys to dry. When dry, use the marker to draw legs, feet, eyes (if desired), and the name of each individual that will be in attendance for Thanksgiving.

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I hope you and yours have a Happy Thanksgiving, Mama!

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Date Ball Recipe

Dates look too much like cockroaches for me to eat by themselves. I prefer to add them to smoothies, oatmeal, or roll them into yummy goodness. Check out this easy recipe for date balls!

(This recipe is lightly adapted from the Medjool date container at Costco.)

Ingredients:

2 cups of medjool dates pitted

1 cup of raw cashews

1 cup of dried blueberries or whatever dried fruit

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/2 to a whole cup of shredded coconut (optional)

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Directions:

  1. Put the pitted dates, cashews, dried blueberries, and salt in food processor and let it blend until all ingredients are combined.0-1.jpg
  2. Scoop out about 2 tablespoons at a time and roll into balls.0-3.jpg
  3. Roll the balls in shredded coconut. I put the shredded coconut in a container and then drop the balls in one at time, shaking them around in the coconut. (optional)0-2.jpg
  4. Store in an airtight container and keep in fridge.0-4.jpg
  5. Enjoy!

These are a yummy treat that satisfies the sweet craving in a pinch! Dates are also recommended for pregnant mamas to eat. Some studies show they could help with a quicker, easier delivery!

How do you eat your dates, Mama?

Breastfeeding Tips

Hey, Mamas! Today I want to chat about one of my favorite things I’ve experienced in motherhood. Breastfeeding! How the Lord designed our bodies to produce milk that sustains the life of our babies is truly miraculous! I pray that you and your baby have a beautiful breastfeeding experience! Here are my tips:

  1. It’s All about that latch, baby! This is the make or break, Mama. A proper latch will ensure the baby is getting the milk, and sending the correct signals to your body to produce more milk. Think of a duck’s bill. Both of the baby’s lips should be flanged out. Your baby’s mouth should cover about 70% of the areola. If it’s painful, try starting over. With my second, I had major blistering and cracked nipples. Thankfully I was able to hire a lactose consultant, she helped us fix this right quick.
  2. Try different positions. My personal favorites are cradle and side-laying. There’s also cross-cradle, back-lying, and football hold. I found side-laying to work well while co-sleeping. Find a fit that works best for you and your baby. As they grow older, they may change preference in position.
  3. My breast friend. I found it conducive to have a breastfeeding pillow the first few months of both my babies’ lives. I personally loved “My breast friend.”
  4. Hydrate constantly and eat foods that produce milk. Many of my posts remind you of the importance of drinking water in pregnancy, in labor, and once again, in postpartum. This may seem like common sense, but your milk is a liquid. Therefore, you need liquid in your system to produce…liquid. 🙂 I would drink at least 16 ounces immediately before each feeding, and continue to drink while feeding. I found having a water bottle with a straw super helpful, as it made my drinking a little more hands free. I also strategically placed water bottles all over my house. Oats are great for milk production. I ate oatmeal, cookies made with oats, and a friend gifted me these awesome bars that were easy to grab.
  5. Feed often. The first few weeks to a month of a baby’s life are crucial. They tend to lose weight soon after birth, as they were used to receiving all their nutrition through the umbilical cord. Now they are learning to latch, just as you are teaching them to feed. They need to eat every minimum 2, maximum 3 hours to prevent their blood sugar from dropping and to help build your milk supply. The first few days your body produces colostrum, this wonderful substance that helps line the intestines and seal the gut. Around day 3-5, your milk will come in. I found it helpful to remind myself: 12 feedings a day, 12 wet diapers a day plus poop as my target. You also want to feed often to help push the meconium out and prevent jaundice from setting in. Once they have put a bit of weight on, usually after the first month of life, you can put a little more time in between feedings.
  6. Patience and deep breaths. Sometimes it’s hard to remain calm when your baby is screaming and trying to communicate what they need. I found myself at times very anxious right before a feeding those early days, and your baby can sense this. “Will we get the latch right this time? Do I have enough milk?” Take a deep breath and relax. Trust that your body is making the exact amount of what your baby needs.

What are some breastfeeding tips you can share, Mama?

Fun Fall Festivities

It’s that time of year where everything has a little pumpkin spice! Our family loves creating and continuing traditions. Here’s some fun fall festivities we partake in every year:

1. Attend a Fall Festival. My Mom and Dad’s church, Grace Chapel in Loxahatchee, hosts a rocking fall festival! There’s bounce houses, hay rides, and a trunk or treat this year! Look up local churches in your area to find one near you. What I love about these is that they are usually free!

2. Trunk or treat. We choose to go to a trunk or treat event instead of walking around the neighborhood. We let our buddy fill up his bucket and choose three pieces of candy that are most appealing to him at the end of the night. He eats one that night, and can have two more for the two days following. That night he “trades in” his bucket and I replace the candy with a book or game. When he wakes up the next morning his bucket is waiting with his new good inside.

3. Pumpkin patch pics. We love getting our annual family picture at the pumpkin patch! We told the Facebook world we were having our first little “pumpkin” as our announcement to say we were expecting, so pumpkins and patches have a special place in my heart.

4. Painting pumpkins! I buy a bag of small pumpkins and acrylic paint at Walmart. This is super fun and not as messy as carving a pumpkin! Plus we use the kiddos pumpkins to as decoration!

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What do you and your family do to celebrate fall, Mama?

Meal Planning

A few years ago I was challenged by a friend of mine to start meal planning for the week. This has been a true GAME CHANGER for our family’s budget and time management. (Notice the all caps!) We used to be go to the store multiple times a week to run out and get ingredients. I would find it would be time for dinner and have no idea what I was going to make. I’ve discovered there are five important components to being successful at meal planning.

  1. Meal Plan. I make out a list of ALL the meals and snacks I will be cooking that week. An example of a week’s dinner meals includes: Sweet potato chili, Thai salad, guacamole, potato asparagus salad, spaghetti. Snacks/desserts: date balls and cookies. Breakfast and lunch: acai bowls, PBJ sandwiches, and leftovers from dinner. After making my list of meals, I go through my cabinets and refrigerator and make note off all the ingredients I need to purchase, categorized by store.IMG_0883.jpeg
  2. Do a Big Grocery Shop. We typically shop at 3 stores: Trader Joes, Costco, and Whole foods. I save the list on my hubbies phone and simply “un-click” the bullet point for the items we buy weekly, and add/delete items as needed. An example of our Costco list for a week includes: 2 packages of acai, dates, frozen blueberries, and eggs.
  3. Meal Prep. I didn’t quite grasp the beauty of meal prep in high school. I remember my mom cooking dinner first thing in the morning and being so relieved that dinner was made. Some mornings I make sweet potato chili at 6:30 am and do a happy dance as my husband puts the spices in. Sometimes I prep on the weekends, other times I prep during my daughter’s nap. I don’t always have the entire meal prepped, but often do a part. For example, I can prepare the salad dressing in advance . When I look at my meal plan and see I need to soak cashews overnight for a cashew cream pasta sauce, I am not surprised on pasta night. I’ve soaked the cashews, prepared the cream during my daughters nap, and only have a few steps left prior to dinner time.unnamed.jpg
  4. Double the recipe. One other thing I’ve learned is to double or sometimes triple recipes. If a recipe such as veggie burgers is super labor intensive, I’m going to make more and my family will eat off it multiple times during the week. Also, our family likes lots of sauce and dressing. So I always drouble/triple salad dressing recipes or pasta sauces.unnamed-5.jpg
  5. The Leftover Jam. Leftovers are truly our family’s jam! The majority of the time, our lunch is leftover from dinner the night before. This allows less expenses for food and helps us waste less food.
  6. This last one is a bonus! Let your kiddos help in the kitchen! It’s fun for them and teaches them good skills like teamwork and following directions.unnamed-6.jpg

I will say that I’ve learned to do things through a ton of trial and error. Too many times in the past I realized I didn’t have the ingredient I needed or forgot to soak something. And sometimes I still do forget a key ingredient by overlooking a recipe. I usually make adaptations and move on. After all, everyone has to eat and the clock is ticking towards dinner time.

Have you ever meal planned or prepped, Mama? Share some of your favorite meals to make! I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

What’s In Your Lunch Box?

Oh the Lunch Box! It’s only three weeks in, and the lunchbox struggle is real! My son has been digging some PB&J sandwiches on Ezekiel bread, but I have to encourage him to think outside of the box.

Every day I try to include one veggie, one fruit, one protein, and one snack. We really try to limit our kiddos intake of processed food, and have some healthier suggestions listed below. What kid doesn’t like a good snack?

Fruits: Whatever fruit our kiddos are currently digging, but preferably something not too messy. Grapes, apples, blueberries, strawberries, and frozen mango are the current favorites at our house.

Veggies: Kale salad, quinoa salad, leftover sweet potato fries, roasted brussel sprouts, or broccoli.

Proteins: PB&J on Ezekiel bread, kidney beans, hummus and crackers. For the PB&J, I use Trader Joe’s organic PB and organic jelly from Costco.

Snacks: Annie’s bunnies or cheddar squares, Yum Earth gummies, Lara bars, home made date balls, Trader Joes peanut butter crackers, and stove top popcorn.

As a child, I have fond memories of my mom and dad writing me notes in my lunchbox. I try to always include a bit of encouragement for my son on his napkin.

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What’s in your kiddos’ lunchbox, Mama? I’d love to swap some ideas!