November Favorites: Beauty & Etc.

Recently I've been trying to purchase products that are better for me, either by going chem(ical) free or eliminating as many dangerous chemicals from my regimin as possible.
Dangerous chemicals are:
-Parabens, or things that end in "-paraben"
-PEGs, ceteareths and polyethylene
-DMDM hydantoin

Everything is a work in progress and I'm slowly purchasing products that are "better". I find myself reading ingredients now and actually paying attention to what's in my products. Yes, I still eat processed food. Like I said, work in progress. 

Wanted to give you the low-down so you weren't all "WTF?" about my favorites this month. (:

I've been trying to get my skin into a good routine and trying to get it to look better. I used to be really bad about using moisturizer and only used to wash my face at night when I took a shower. Since changing those two things, my skin is SO MUCH BETTER. I learned that the uneven texture on my cheeks was due to them being dry, which I had no clue about before! I can definitely tell the difference now when I have a "lazy day" and don't follow my routine.

This stuff smells so good, plus it's sulfate free. It's gets the job done. 
I'm not putting the conditioner because I'm not sure I like it. It's doesn't leave my hair with that conditioner-ed feel, which I like. I'm not sure if it's because it's sulfate free or if it's just that brand. It's also pretty expensive and I feel like I use too much conditioner to make it worth it. I definitely want to try out more brands. Next on my list is The Honest Co. Shampoo & Conditioner

Baby/ Nanny Stuff

OMG, so soft. I have the Dwiali print. I got mine on eBay for like $35, but I would definitely pay full price. I think they've lowered the prices on them, as well. I wanna say they used to be $50/pack of three. The ones from Target do not compare. 

2. My nanny baby LRT. He's got my heart.
    His parents are pretty swell, too. 

3. The daily logs I made. They're working like a charm so far. 

4. LRT's binks. He cries when he's done eating, no matter what. He also sleeps way better with one, rather than without. He uses these & these. No preference really, but I'm working to figure out what he can keep in his mouth better. Yes, I'm pro bink. I love them so.



Simple & Delicious Chili

I have to share a recipe I tried out tonight.
I have been craving chili for a few days, and decided to make it for dinner because Joshua was coming over before school, as he does every Wednesday. I shared my idea with him yesterday, and he said he was down for it. So onward I went. Someone I follow on Instagram posted a picture of a bunch of cans a few days ago, stating that it was how she made her chili. So I inquired more...

Here's her recipe:
-1 lb ground turkey
-1 package chili seasoning
-16 oz can chili beans
-28 oz can crushed tomatos
-10 oz can original Rotel

Brown your meat and drain.
While my meat was draining, I dumped everything else in my crock pot.
Then dumped my meat in and mixed it together.
Now, there are two ways to cook this. I put everything in my crock pot and turned it on high for about an hour, but then decided to turn it on low for the two remaining hours. What can I say, I was wingin' it. I'd recommend three hours on low. If you're crunched for time, you can cook it on the stove top. I didn't do that, so I can't tell you for how long...

Then? Bam. Dish up the yummy goodness and top with more yummy goodness. We added cheese, Fritos, and sour cream.

SO GOOD. Seriously, try it. Of course I don't have a picture, I ate it too quickly. ;)
*100% credit goes to Katie from Loves of Life. This is her recipe.*


First Day of Work: Baby L

I'm tired. And? I only worked four hours today. 
L is hitting a developmental leap, according to my Wonder Weeks app, and is at the attention needing, cuddly, fussy period and he's (hopefully) going through a growth spurt, so he slept a lot today. Tomorrow we will probably take Beckett (the dog) for a walk along the beach, so we can get out of the house and I can explore my new work surroundings. 

I am so smitten with Baby L. 
Tomorrow is my first full day 100% alone with him. I got this. (:

I am so blessed that his parents picked me to care for him and watch him grow.
His auburn hair and bright blue eyes make me happy, as does his love for furry blankies.

I love my job. 



Show & Tell: Thanksgiving Weekend.

Since Joshua and I have been dating (going on three years), our holidays tend to rotate and be a product of organized chaos. Some time with one family, some time with another. Albiet slightly crazy, I wouldn't change it for the world.

All of his dad's side of the family met at Joshua's aunt's house at around four o'clock, and we ended up staying there waaay too late. We enjoyed an awesome dinner, kiddo amusement and lots of family fun. Our family events consist of toddlers running around and chatter in the backyard, kitchen and living room. It's awesome. My mom also attended this event and my dad and step-mom went to their friend's house since none of the kids were going to be around.

After we left family event numero uno, we drove out to J's momma's house about an hour away where we were spending the weekend. We got there pretty late, so I was ready for food again. Green Bean Casserole all the way, guys. So delicious. Also, hell yes I totally wore yoga leggings and a loose fitting sweater. I only got one picture of Joshua and I, and it's with my iPhone front camera. This is the only picture I took all weekend. At this point, we really needed to leave, but the conversation was really going and we didn't want to be rude.

On Friday, we passed on the Black Friday shopping & hung around the house. I watched lots of episodes of Bones on Netflix and got a few last minute things done for work, which starts tomorrow!

Saturday, we went to a family-friend's 3rd birthday. She's so cute and growing like a weed! Every time she opened a gift, she would exclaim "Oh! My! Gosh!" Her vocabulary is quite extensive and I love it. Chatty toddlers are the bomb dot com.

Today we retook our Christmas card photos. We had them done a few weeks ago, but weren't happy with how they turned out, so we had a friend with a DSLR retake them for us at a park we liked better. I bought a new cardi for today and I am friggin' in love with it. I like longer fitting shirts, so Old Navy's Boyfriend Cardigan is right up my alley. I fully expect myself to own one in as many colors as possible. 


Five Biggest Car Seat Mistakes!

I recently completed by Child Passenger Safety Technician Course, which included twenty-one hours of intense book and hands on work and a six hour community carseat check. During the carseat check, there were some major mistakes I kept seeing repeatedly. I'm going to share them in hopes that my readers will take notice and check the carseats in their cars.

I am still finding my voice as a CPST. I'm still nervous about informing parents I don't know of the mistakes they're making. That those mistakes could mean the difference between life or death in the event of a crash.  It's a harsh reality, but I hope what I'm writing can help empower parents and caregivers to keep their children safe.

1. The seat belt not being in a locked position, if not using LATCH. Parents tend to think that all you have to do is buckle the carseat in the car, when in reality doing so provides little to no protection in the event of a crash. Read your car manual for directions on how to fix this.

2. Incorrect chest clip position. The chest clip needs to be at the chest. An easy indicator for correct positioning is "right across from the tickle spot". Meaning that the chest clip should line up with the arm pits.

3. Incorrect harness strap position. For forward facing carseats, the harness straps need to be at or above the shoulders. For rear facing carseats, the harness straps need to be at or below the shoulders.

4. Looseness of straps. Oh em gee. I cannot handle this one. Think "snug as a hug". Tighten those babies up! It's essentially what keeps your child in their seat in the event of a crash.

5. The allowance for tightness is one inch, both side to side and front to back. You can check the tightness by wiggling the seat at the belt path, aka where you put the seat belt through the carseat.

There are so many more hints and tips that I could share, but I will stop... for now. (: These are the most basic ones that I saw a lot of last Saturday.


Nanny Life: Daily Log Binder

I've found that this is the best way for me to stay organized at work. As L grows, it might not be so detrimental to my routine but for now it is. This way I can pay attention to patterns in his habits and spot any illness or minor allergies he might be developing. I also use this so that I can communicate clearly with his parents and they can tell how our day went. If I feel like an issue has risen, I jot it down in the notes section. I also note his overall mood, that way they can be better mentally prepared for the hours to come after I leave, especially if he's having a "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day". ;)

Depending on the age group your working with, download and print either the Infant Daily Log or the Toddler Daily Log. I printed fifteen to start, I figure that should last me until I start full-time on January 2nd, maybe a week or two longer. The infant one is two days per page, whereas the toddler log is only one day per page. I tried really hard to make the toddler one two per page, but it was a no-go. 

I'm printing a yearly calendar, that I'm putting it in sheet protectors like these. They stick out from the rest of the pages just enough that they're doubling as dividers. I've been using the yearly calendar printable from Blooming Homestead since last year and think its fabulous. Click here for 2013's Monthly Calendar. They have a bunch of nifty printables that I didn't know about & I totally plan on exploring her blog some more! 

Last but not least, a "week at a glance" type calendar. Out of all the ones I've found, this one is my favorite. I usually just print out the first page (multi-colored) one over and over again. :)  If you print out the entire document it prints out eight weeks worth.

EDIT: I've decided to scratch the idea of the yearly and weekly calendars for the time being. I was thinking too complex, and that's something I don't want. Instead I purchased a standard monthly planner from Walmart. It will sit at the front of the binder, being readily available to both myself and L's parents. I didn't want to take my old idea out of the blog post, for the purpose of equipping those who do need something like that for their charges. 

I made my cover page using Adobe InDesign. I have a lot of fonts on my computer from Kevin & Amanda. She turns peoples' handwriting samples into fonts and I think they're super cute. The one I used on my cover page is called Pea Ellie Bellie. I don't have any pictures of Baby L yet, but as soon as I do, there will definitely be a picture of his adorable self on the cover. :) The covered part is his full name, and I don't feel it's right to share it with the entire world unless his parents give me permission.

The order inside the binder will go monthly calendar, weekly calendars for the month, then daily logs...aaand repeat. I'm doing one month at a time. 



Show & Tell Monday: Gobble Gobble

1. Tell us about your family traditions for Thanksgiving.
I don't think I have any really intense/ set in stone traditions. Obviously taking we turns saying what we're thankful for, but I feel like that's pretty standard. Before I was eighteen, I'd spend one year with my mom, then the next year with my dad. Now Joshua and I shuffle between homes, and my mom comes with us to at least one.

2. Tell us about your favorite foods.
Green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, turkey, & rolls for the win!
That is all. I hate cranberry sauce, stuffing and all other "traditional" Thanksgiving foods.
I also hate pie, but if you have some sort of vanilla cake or chocolate chip cookies, we can be best friends. :)

3. Show us a picture that reminds you of this holiday.
...I got nothin'. I have ZERO pictures from last year's festivities.
I just know J and I spent time in traffic due to all the crazy people driving toward LA.
In 2010, I spent the holiday in El Paso on Fort Bliss with my family. T'was freezing.

4. Tell us, do you wait to decorate for Christmas before or after Thanksgiving.
I don't get to decorate due to not living on my own. But imagine it being a day after Thanksgiving thing, in the future. We shall see! Maybe next year...

5. Tell us what you are thankful for this year.
My health, my loved ones, & my new job (six days!).

Linkin' up with Becky!
I still can't get her little dealy bob to paste correctly.


CPST Course & Life Stuff

If you don't follow me on Twitter or Instagram*, you wouldn't know BUT for the past three days I've been driving to Los Angeles to attend a Child Passenger Safety Technician course at the children's hospital. The class starts at 7a, so I had to leave my house at 5:20a. I promise I will never complain about the traffic in Orange County ever again. Pinky swear.

Despite the traffic, the course was SOO amazing and made the two-hour-each-way traffic worth it. I already considered myself a carseat nerd, but I learned so many new things! I would definitely recommend the course to anyone who drives with a child in the vehicle, even if it's on an irregular basis. I wish I could share all my new knowledge with you via osmosis. But alas, I've spent 21 hours over the last three days learning my non-existent bootie off. I have to attend a check event tomorrow then I am officially certified! I'm glad it's over, because I'm pooped!

We watched a bunch of crash test comparison videos in my class. As non-judgmental as I try to be, I don't understand why parents wouldn't want to extended rear face, or why they take their children out of a five-point harness early. The effects of using child restraints incorrectly are devastating. Here is a playlist of carseat safety videos from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. 

If you are thinking about become a Child Passenger Safety Technician, need to find a technician in your area, or want to find a SafeKids Coalition event, click here for more information. If you have any questions please feel free to email me! Just click the envelope on the "Let's Get Social" bar. I typically respond within an hour.
Postscript- I start work in NINE DAYS!! Stoked 'bout it. :o)
*My Twitter is private, as I share more personal bits of my life on there. Feel free to request, but I fully reserve the right to stalk your social media outlets before I approve you. Instagram is public. 


What I Read in November

One for my goals for Thirty By Thirty was to read 250 new books by the time I turn 30 on August 29, 2020. I thought I'd start sharing which books I read at the end of every month. Nothing too serious, just a way to keep track and remember which books I enjoyed and which ones I didn't. I open to recommendations! 

1. Beyond the Sling (Mayim Bialik, PhD)

     I first heard of this book when my dad got it for my step-mom, they love the show Big Bang Theory, to which Mayim is one of the stars. I made a mental note to read it one day, not for who the author was, but for the principles she wrote about. Attachment Parenting makes sense to me in many ways, but it was definitely something I wanted to read more about. I knew that I like babywearing, and plan on birthing and raising my children naturally in the future. 

     Do I agree with everything Mayim talks about? Not necessarily. I understand where she comes from, they're just not things that I would do mostly because I'm not comfortable with them. My favorite part of this book is that every single thing she writes about she practices first hand with her two children, unlike so many other parenting books on the market. 

I'd recommend this read to any parent (even if they don't practice attachment parenting), nanny or other primary caregiver, and future mamas I know. I also believe that everyone should watch the documentary the Business of Being Born before they have kids. Eye opening, folks. You can find it on instant Netflix. 

2. Pandaemonium by Lauren Oliver

The sequel to Delirium. It takes place in a dystopian world where love is a disease for which everyone is treated. Gotta read the first one, then we can discuss. I refuse to be the spoiler of books. (: 

The only thing I'm quite frustrated with is that the bindings of the books I have don't match. OCD, much? Meaning that I bought Delirium in paperback, but was essentially forced to buy Pandaemonium in either eBook or Hardcover, as the paperback edition won't be released until next year. The author has also released one mini story (about 50 pages, available only in eBook), and another is scheduled for released at the end of December.* The last book in the trilogy, entitled Requiem, is scheduled for release in Spring 2013.

Like The Hunger Games, the first book starts slowly. Its something one has to trudge through in order to get to the good parts! After that you're smooth sailing.

I do realize it's not the end of November yet, but I have a lot of things coming up in "for real life" that won't allow me to start any new books this month. 

* Mini stories are entitled Hana (released) & Annabel (expected release date: 12.26.2012). 


Show & Tell Mondays: Cold Weather Acitivities

1. Tell us what you like to do when it's cold outside.
Stay inside. Watch movies. Cuddle under heaps of blankets. Sleep. Eat grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. Sleep with my feet in front of my space heater. Plan gifts (we're keeping it homemade this year). Read.

2. Tell us some of your favorite "winter" recipes.
I don't make anything special, but I loove Green Bean Casserole. I could eat it everyday. Especially the way my mom makes it. Nom nom nom.

3. Show a picture of something that makes you think of the cold. 
Supercross. Takes place at the beginning of January in an outdoor arena, at night. 

4. Tell or show us some of your favorite accessories for the winter.
I work inside and it doesn't snow here, so the only change in my clothing choices are my shoes. I go from sandals to boots. Ugg style or equestrian depending on the day. I also wear a lot more hoodies, VS Pink is my favorite brand. #nannystyle. I keep it simple. 

5. Tell us if you had the option of snow or no snow, what would you pick?
I was born and raised in Southern California, I don't do snow. Freezing to me is 60*. Once it gets below that temperature, it all feels the same to me. It's COLD. 

Link up with Becky, here!



Nanny Life: Older Infant & Toddler Daily Log

Update (1.29.2013): To see how I utilize this daily log at work, head on over to this post

Release of the Toddler Daily Log is here! (:
This one is meant for older infants and toddlers who consume at least some sort of solid food throughout the day. Just click the link and go from there. I tried really hard to make it two per page just as I had the last one, but there were just too many details that needed to be included.
If anyone is using these, please let me know how they're working out for you. I'd love to hear your thoughts! Especially if you think they need improvements, I want to make them as user friendly as possible. 
I apologize for being away for the past few days, especially after I'd been on such a blog writing roll. I've been babysitting my favorite two year old, who I also think is the most adorable toddler EVER. His ice blue eyes and tiny toddler voice, oh my. 
We went to a local kid-friendly science museum yesterday & he loved it. After spending over two hours walking around, I told him it was time to go. He told me "no" in his tiny toddler voice. I then asked him if he was hungry and needed to feed his belly. Know what he said? 
"No, Wally. I feed my mouf!"


Nanny Life: Infant Daily Log

Update (1.29.2013): To see how I utilize these daily logs at work, head over to this post

I've found that one of the most useful things that I've learned since becoming a Nanny is to keep a daily log of what happened during the day; including everything from activities to diaper changes and the times they happened. For infants, this is crucial. The first indication of illness is a change in appetite, lethargy, and lack of dirty diapers.

Parents appreciate that you're keeping a track record and that they can refer back to a certain day if they need to. Most Daily Logs include a 'notes' section. I use section this to note anything I think that the parents might need or want to know, normally things that don't seem quite normal, a fun activity we did, or a milestone that my charge is working on.

There are A LOT of different options to choose from in regards to Daily Logs that are floating around the Internet. Some sucked, and others I tried to work with, but in the end I couldn't find anything that fit my style and included everything I needed it to.

So I decided to make my own & thought I'd share them with you! It's nothing fancy, but it serves the function it needs to in an organized way.

The first one I'm releasing is the Infant Daily Log. Meant for an infant still relying 100% on breast milk or formula. All you have to do is click the link to view it & you should be able to download or print it from there. I will be releasing more logs for different age groups in the weeks to come!


If you're having problems downloading or viewing it, please email me and I can send you the PDF document.
*Do not crop or alter the file in anyway. Please give credit where credit is due.*


Show & Tell Monday. Careers.

1. Tell us what you studied in college. Is your job now related to what you studied?
I'm still in college. I attend school at night, after I get off work. My major is Child Development and I'm a Nanny, so yes it's very VERY related.

2. Tell us what your everyday job looks like.
Lots of diapers, bottles, and body functions. Working with kids, no two days are the same. My new charge is currently ten weeks old. Some days we will go out, some days we won't. Some days there is lots of crying, some days there isn't.

3. Do you have a picture of you at work? Show us.

These are from my job that ended in February. New job starts at the end of this month!
#nannylife, yo.

4. In 10 years, what do you see yourself doing? Same thing? More? Tell us. 
I definitely hope to be a mama in ten years. I definitely plan on caring for children in some way, shape or form. Whether it be a nanny like I am now, nannying in my home, or having a small licensed in-home day care. We shall see! 

5. Tell us what you've learned, and what recommendations you have for those looking into the field your going into.
What I've learned. That being a career Nanny is no joke. It's not easy and yes, it is a real job. YOU are solely responsible for someone else's most prized possession at least forty hours a week. Have an open line of communication with your bosses. If you're not a career nanny, or take it seriously, don't be here. 

My advice: Learn. Everything you can. Go to National Nanny Training Day, NannyPalooza, and the INA Conference. Get every single credential you can. Set yourself apart from the average. Have a contract before your first day. When in doubt, ASK. If you did something wrong, own up to it, even if they don't notice. Trust is, without a doubt, the most important quality in terms of nanny/ parent relationship. 

You can link up with Becky here! (:


Hey, That's Pin-tastic!

This week's Pin-tastic project kind of happened by accident, as I had left over orzo from this meal. I hate when dried goods sit in the cupboard forever and don't end up getting used, plus I needed a side dish and was kind of winging the meal I was making for Joshua last week.

So, um. I wish I had a picture for you guys...
But that didn't happen. J was way late getting to my house and I was SO HUNGRY. So I ate it all up before I could get a picture. Anywho... I made Cheesy Broccoli Orzo. I paired it with Baked BBQ Chicken.

The verdict? It was good, but J couldn't taste the cheese and liked the Parmesan Orzo way better. I was having issues grating the parm for this recipe and eyeballed it, I think if I would've added more it would've turned out how I imagine it would taste, aka like macaroni and cheese.

I wouldn't say this was a total success but we didn't hate it and will probably make it again to see how it turns out. If we don't like it for a second time it will get nixed from our list of go-to meals.



October Favorites!

These products? Holy grail. Gotta have them. Have any questions about any of them? Think I should try something you use and love? Shoot me an email. (: