Favorite Blogs of 2012!

I, like anyone else, have the blogs I am faithful to and have been reading since the beginning of my Blogland existence. I also have blogs that I've only began following more recently. Either way, they've made my list of favorite blogs for 2012!

I find new blogs a few different ways, through Instagram and by scrolling through link-ups, comments, and keeping an eye out for bloggers mentioned on a blog I already read. I am totally guilty of clicking on random peoples profiles on IG. If they have a public profile, I scroll through their pictures and if they have a blog, I click the link and read a few posts. If I like their blog, I keep the Safari tab open on my phone until I get home and onto my computer. Stalker status, say whaaat?

Oldie But Goodies:
I Love You More Than Carrots
- Loves of Life
- The Mommy Dialogues
- Wrangling Chaos

New Loves:
- From Mrs. To Mama
- Table For Three
- Love, Fun & Football
- The Daily Tay

There's a reason these ladies have so many followers. They keep it real and show us the good, the bad, and the ugly. These eight blogs are the ones I made sure I read first in my blog roll and can't imagine myself not following. That'd be so weird.

What are your favorite blogs? Share them with me in the comments! (:


Saying No To Plastic

**Written on December 17, 2012**
I've decided that from now on I will only buy wood toys, for my future children and as gifts for the children in my family. I was shopping for my mom's co-worker's nephews (think personal shopper) today and realized how accesible high quality wood toys are. That's when I made my decision.

On my journey to eat less processed food, using more chemical free products, and taking the ecosystem and earth into consideration; I found this was a natural step. I am refusing to fill landfills with items that are nearly impossible to biodegrade and burden our children with this mess.

I will limit the amount of bottled drinks I consume and use a reusable bottle when I need to carry fluids on the go. Think about it - if I consume two bottles of water a day every day for one year, thats 730 plastic bottles per year, for only one person! What about your family of five? Two bottles per day for a year; 3,650 plastic bottles that will take 450 years each to biodegrade.

Here's what fueled my decision:
- It's takes the average plastic water bottle four hundred and fifty years to biodegrade and over 90% of bottles aren't recycled. Even when you throw that plastic bottle into your recycle bin, it can only be recycled twice.
- Bottles made with Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) will never biodegrade.

Yes, I know I'm using plastic bottles as an example when I'm refusing to buy plastic toys. But think of how thin that bottle is, in comparison to how thick the plastic on that toy is. 

The complete biodegradation of the average household wooden chair takes thirteen years. Paint, wood treatment, and landfill conditions are all factors in how long it takes for natural resources to decompose. Seeing as how wood toys are a lot smaller than furniture, the time it takes for them to biodegrade would be less. 

Think about land fills...

How many are there? What's in them? Where are they?

According to this site, there are 3,091 active landfills in the United States. They contain things like paper products, textiles, and wood scraps - along with things like disposable diapers, plastic and styrofoam. Disposable diapers and plastic take 450+ years to biodegrade, whereas styrofoam exists forever and is not capable of breaking down into organic matter.

I don't have children yet, but when I make these decisions I think of them. I think about how disgusting their earth will be if we continue on the track we're on. How filthy their world will be if God forbid, it get's worse. I think about Baby L, who won't turn 18 until August 14, 2030. What will our world look like then? I think about J's young cousins and my best friend's son. I want their world to be clean, safe, and free of toxic chemicals.

All biodegradation information is taken from here.


Merry Christmas!

We hope your holiday celebration is full of love, food and family fun!


Buckle Bopper: A Review & Giveaway!

I first came across the Buckle Bopper on Instagram. One of my favorite crunchy blogs had posted a picture of their product from the ABC Kids Expo. I thought the idea was brilliant and made so much sense to me. I had acrylic nails at the time and opening the crotch buckle of a carseat was hard, and it hurt!

What IS the bucklebopper™?
"bucklebopper™ allows you to unbuckle your child's car seat without using your fingers or thumbs. bucklebopper™ is also the perfect tool to help unbuckle a standard passenger seat belt buckle in most vehicles.  It is ideal for individuals with temporary or chronic hand pain or weakness caused by a variety of circumstances including:
  • Arthritis
  • Tendonitis
  • Carpal Tunnel
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • de Quervain Disease 
  • Thumb or Hand Injury
This unique ergonomic hand-held tool is soft and pliable in the palm of your hand.  The hard shaft is capped with a soft rubber tip which comes into contact with the buckle surface, and is just the right texture to grab hold of the buckle for a secure fit.  bucklebopper™ works with most activator-type buckles."

After receiving the bucklebopper™ in the mail, quickly might I add, I HAD to use it right away. I took it to a family party and ended up showing my best friend, Kimberly. Then thought, "Duh! She has Fibromyalgia." It would make so much more sense for her to add to my review, since I just wanted to keep my nails cute. 

Here's what Kimberly had to say: 
"I have been using the bucklebopperfor about two months now and it has helped me out tremendously. I have had Fibromialgia for about eight years and some days it is extremely hard for me to do the simplest tasks, such as button my pants or put my hair in a ponytail. Fibromialgia is a medical disorder characterized by chronic widespread pain. In my case, the pain is joint stiffness that can really change my whole day. 

I’m a busy working mom with a two year old son, whom Elise refers to on her blog as B. We are always on the go and I don’t have time to struggle with his carseat buckle every time the joints in my hands hurt. The bucklebopper made my life easier because now I don't have to struggle trying to get my son’s carseat unbuckled when I have a flare up. 

The only thing that I would change about the bucklebopper is that I have to use both hands to operate it, with one hand on the and the other hand behind the buckle so that I'm not pushing it into my son, although it’s not something that would be a deciding factor in whether or not I would purchase this product. All in all, the bucklebopper is a great product that I would definitely recommend for moms and caregivers like me who have chronic pain or for those who have difficulty undoing buckles because their hands are weak. I think the value is great and it has become detrimental in my every day life!"

I agree with Kimberly. I would also change the two handed operation if there was a way to. L's carseat is in the rear middle seat and having to use two hands means getting all the way in the car, rather than leaning in and unbuckling him. I do drive a medium sized SUV, so it's just me being lazy. I think that maybe if I had problems getting the buckle undone rather than trying to keep my nails cute, it would be a different story. 

Marlene has so graciously given me two buckleboppers to give away to two of you! Enter below. (: Giveaway ends on January 5, 2013 at 12:00a Pacific Time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want to get your hands on a bucklebopper™of your very own? They are available for purchase on the bucklebopperwebsite as well as on Amazon.com! Thank you to Marlene & bucklebopper™for allowing me to review this product and hosting this giveaway!
Disclaimer: All opinions are 100% honest and are either mine or Kimberly's. 


Sandy Hook: How To Help

I've been seeing so many ways to help the families in CT, and I wanted to share a few with you. 

Created by AP of I Love You More Than Carrots. She is collecting night lights for the children affected by what happened in Sandy Hook last Friday. Many of us found comfort in night lights as children, and she wanted to make sure that all the kids who were affected know that they can seek comfort in having one. Knowing that there is hope, and are reminded that they are not alone. For more information and where to send your night lights, head over to AP's post where she explains everything. 

Click here to find out more info on how to help. Its the little things that can mean the most. 

Brickyard Buffalo has collaborated with several talented designers and created a series of prints that are now available for purchase. All proceeds are being donated to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund established by the United Way. Head over to Brickyard Buffalo to purchase.

This event is weighing on our hearts and all these amazing people have taken action. 
Help however you can. These babies need our prayers.


Silence & Support

Today, December 18th, will be a blogger day of silence. 

 We are also raising money that will go to an organization in the memory of this tragedy. The organization is called The Newtown Family Youth and Family Services.

Here is the official description of the support service we are donating to:

"Newtown Youth and Family Services, Inc. is a licensed, non-profit, mental health clinic 
and youth services bureau dedicated to helping children and families achieve their
highest potential. NYFS provides programs, services, activities, counseling, support
groups and education throughout the Greater Newtown area.


Please visit THIS PAGE to make your donation.

 We can't imagine how they must be feeling, especially this close to the holidays. We would love for you to spread the word on your own blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Let's make a difference and use blogging in a positive way.

Thank you in advance for participating.

The Blog World
All contents of this post are taken from Don't Quote The Raven with permission, click the link to grab the above button.


DIY Christmas Card Holder: Hey, That's Pin-tastic!

What do you know...
I actually got my ish together and made time to do a little somethin' for the holiday season and am linking up with AP after taking a few weeks "off", also known as I suck at making time for projects.

I feel like I should give you a little back story- I live the with my paternal grandmother. She doesn't decorate for Christmas at all, last year Joshua even offered to hang up lights for her. She said no. I've never made any effort to decorate my room before, because I've never had to. This is the first year I've sent and received Christmas cards.
i love you more than carrots

There were so many options when searching "Christmas card holder" on Pinterest. Most had the same concept, especially if they were DIY, so I kind of just went with it and did my own thing.

I knew I wanted to use the existing cork bulletin board that I already had hanging on my wall, that I've owned since high school. I really should upgrade soon, its starting to show it's age. I change out the pictures every so often, but not nearly enough.

The pictures were an array of my loved ones - family, friends, and former nanny kids alike. The pictures in the upper right hand corner (the Angel stadium) and left hand side (with the shoes) are my two favorite photos I've ever taken. 

I measured the length of ribbon I needed the lazy way. Held it up to the board, then cut the ribbon. Boom. Easy peasy. No fancy stuff over here. After that, I melted the ends of the ribbon to keep them from fraying. Be careful during this part, I actually lit one of the ends of a piece of ribbon on fire. Oops! 

Thumb tack the ribbon in place. I left a larger space at the bottom in the event that I received some larger cards. I'm glad I did this. 

I added a string of lights and the cards I'd already received, and there you go! I think it's super cute and I'm happy with the way it turned out, especially because I decided to do it on a whim on Friday. 

The Details:
- All supplies were purchased from Michaels. They're already putting their holiday stuff on sale. The ribbon was 60% off and the lights were 30% off. 
- The lights are a 7.5 foot long string. I have an outlet directly below the bulletin board, under my desk. 
-To secure non-folding cards I'm using mini clothes pins. 

You'll Need: 
- Cork Bulletin Board. I'm gonna guesstimate my board is 22"x35", the brand is The Board Dudes available at Target. 
- Mini clothes pins.
- Cloth ribbon, I only used one spool but bought two just in case. 
- 7.5 foot long string of Christmas lights.
- 8 thumb tacks
- 3M light hook thingys ;)

Visit I Love You More Than Carrots to link up, and be sure to follow the "Hey, That's Pin-tastic" pin board to see what everyone else is doing!


Win a Custom Blog Design!

If you've been around my little corner of this here internet for a while, you'd know that I had my blog design custom made a few months back. Melissa, who designed my blog, is offering a contest for a custom made blog design (a $275 value). If you don't win, she offers an array of pre-made designs and other goodies in her shop

If I was in need of a design, I'd totally be entering. But alas, I don't need or want one. 
Click the button below to find out more and enter! 

Melissa is also having a special on business card design! If you're in the market for business cards, you can check that out here. I'm in the market and have been waiting for her to announce this special for a few weeks. 

I just wanted to note that I am not being compensated in any way for sharing these specials with you guys. I wholeheartedly think that not only is Melissa's work incredible, but she is incredibly helpful throughout the entire process and makes your vision come true. I went in not knowing what to expect or what I wanted, but she made it happen.  


Inspired by Finn: Coupon Code

Today I'm giving you a coupon code for Inspired by Finn!
I talked about them in this post from a few days ago, so you already know they're my favorite and that I think babies in baltic amber are pretty much the cutest thing ever.
If you've been on the fence about picking up any baltic amber or hazelwood jewelry, now's your chance to get it on a discount. (:

Enter coupon code EVW25 to receive 25% 
off your purchase from Inspired by Finn!
Expires: Dec 25, 2012. 
Disclaimer: If fifteen sales are made using the coupon code, I get a free piece of jewelry. It's a win-win situation.

Life Stuff.

Real life gets away from me, sometimes! This is what's been happening...

I registered for school. I'm super excited to get back into the swing of things, educationally speaking. I took a much needed break over the fall semester and I'm ready and motivated to start "fresh". I'm only taking one class, but I'm still excited. It's also the first class I'm taking with Joshua, so I'm excited to see how we'll feed off of each other and use our different study strategies to help each other.

I'm going to a mini conference geared toward natural parenting in January! It's called MommyCon and is being put on by the lovely ladies at TMD (one of my favorite blogs). They're having some awesome speakers and giveaways, along with some vendor booths. I can't wait to see what they have in store for us & tell you all about it. Eeek!

I haven't even started Christmas shopping, and I'm not sure that Josh and I are shopping for anyone but each other. This year has been a harder year for us both financially, and we just can't swing it. We might be doing baked goods or homemade items, but we haven't decided yet. Joshua is getting two parts for his gun, he's picking them out and knows he's getting them so I'm allowed to say. (: He's in the process of building an AR, before they're made illegal.

I have this week off work, and it sucks. I'm a workaholic because I love my job. I also got an email out of the blue about a temporary night nanny position, asking me if I was interested. I could definitely use the money right now, so of course I said yes! I'm kind of freaking out about it, but am excited at the same time. We will see. 

What going on in your life? Anything that needs jotting down?


It's a Nanny Life Christmas!

...and it's time to buy your nanny baby and his parents gifts. Say what? So, what do I buy? 
At first, I was at a loss. I've only been working with them for a short time and didn't feel like it was my place to get them something too incredibly expensive. 

Baby L- 
A baltic amber necklace from Inspired by Finn. My first purchase from Inspired by Finn was for my best friends son, who we call B. He used to be a horrible teether, and would be so grumpy that they'd have to stay home. He's been wearing it now for about seven months and refuses to take it off, and if you ask him where his necklace is he'll show you proudly. I prefer the look of polished beads, which is what I will be purchasing for L. I'll be getting him the 11.5" Polished Butter & Honey.

I love the quality of their amber and won't buy from anywhere else. I know their products are of the utmost quality, and are geniune baltic amber. I can't rave enough about the quality of the necklace I purchased. It's knotted between each bead, preventing beads from flying everywhere in the case that it accidentally breaks. Their necklaces fasten with a screw clasp, and contain no metal. To learn more about Baltic amber, view more information here.

Coupon code for Inspired by Finn: click here.

B's necklace is a 12.5" Polished Amber Four Different Round

L is also getting a Cuddle Blankie from Whimsyboo Baby. He sleeps with a fuzzy blanket touching his face, and we carry it everywhere with us. I have heard amazing things about their products, especially their bath towels! All their products are made with organic bamboo velour, which not only makes them super duper soft, but eco-friendly and biodegradable, as well. 

The Bosses-
Still debating on this one! Either a bottle of wine, or a movie gift card and free babysitting. Leaning towards the latter, mostly because I know they'll be getting lots of wine for Christmas from other people.

What are you getting your nanny kids for Christmas?


Friday's Letters

Late because I chose to watch Harry Potter movies on HBO, rather than blog during nap time today. But hey, at least I have more to write about now. ;)

Dear Traffic & Construction- You made me AN HOUR late for babysitting Thankfully she was okay with it and didn't really need to be somewhere at a certain time. And? I gave myself an hour to get here. Typically more than enough time. Meaning it took me two hours to get about 45 miles.  Holy hell.

Dear Weekend- Go by fast, mkay? Tell your buddy (next week) to go by fast too. I want to work again already (the week of the 17th). Can't wait to start full time on January 2nd, then I get to see my Bebe every week! That makes me so happy! (:

Dear Developmental Leap- Thanks for being over. It's exciting to see L find his feet, try to roll over, and ohmygosh be so vocal. I can't wait until he masters rolling for real. Buuut? Then comes baby proofing. Ah! Side note: I'm stoked for next summer and spending it with L. Working in a beach city is going to be sa-weeet!

Dear People Who Honk Excessively- You make me nervous. As if being in a pretty major car accident six months ago didn't make me drive grandma enough. Just lay on your horn if you want me to show waaay down. It makes me think someone is going to hit me or someone else. Hayl no.


Phew, now that that's off my chest. (: 
Happy Weekend! 


Nanny Life: Infant Diaper Bag

My Diaper Bag- Petunia Pickle Bottom Glazed Boxy. I can't find the print I have anywhere, leading me to believe that it's an older print. This is my favorite from the current collection. I also think the Scout by PPB bags are awesome and much more gender neutral, which is a quality I choose to look for in my diaper bags. If you like PPB but aren't willing/can't afford to spend the money on a full price bag, Craigslist and PPB's Outlet Page are your best friends!

That being said, I'm in the market for a new bag! I LOVE my Petunia Pickle Bottom, but am looking for something with shorter straps (think crook of the arm fitting types), because I like to wear L in a carrier when we go out. We went to the mall the other day & I ended up leaving everything in the car because I didn't know what to do with my bag since I normally wear it cross body style. Send me your recommendations! (:

The Contents:
* L is only three months old and still very much in the newborn stage on life. The car puts him to sleep, no matter what. He's only awake for an hour or so at a time and still takes three or four naps a day. I implemented the "eat, play, sleep" schedule from the very beginning and he does really well with it.

Diapers: I try to have four with me at all times, just in case.

Wipes: I have a full sized pack with me right now, but would normally carry the Huggies travel pack. I also carry bink wipes and individually packaged boogie wipes.

A+A Blanket: I'm currently carrying the diwali print bamboo ones.

Two outfit changes: Typically one Carter's matching set and one sleeper. I also carry a few pairs of socks.

Feeding Items: a water bottle, pre-measured formula in a dispenser, bottle with 4oz water in it. If we're gonna be gonna for a feeding I gotta bring the goods. That boy is on a schedule like whoa, unless he's sleeping. He eats 4oz every 3ish hours during the day.

Binks: We have been playing around with different binks to see what type L can keep in his mouth the best, we tried both Nuk and Mam. He uses the Mam Air Silicone. He has the blue set, and is getting this from me for Christmas.

I also carry stuff for me: a pen, my wallet, phone and snacks. Because a hungry nanny makes for a grumpy nanny.

Is there anything you carry that I don't? Let me know!


Show & Tell: My Christmas List

This week we're supposed to be showin' off our Christmas lists. My have a short but expensive list, and in all reality I doubt I'll get anything on it. But? If money were no object, these are the goodies that'd be under my invisa-tree.

* A Nikon D3100. Oh man. I've been wanting one of these for while. My goal was to have one by November 3rd, but with my job loss only a month or so before, I just couldn't make it happen. I can't wait to take photos of Baby L, for his parents.

* A Didymos Stripes Wrap in Iris. These wraps are beautiful & my little guy would be so comfy in it. They're pricey, but are versatile if you're looking for quality and longevity. For girls, they have something similar, a wrap whose pattern is called Eva.

*An iPad. #TeamApple. Nuff said?

That's all I got for this year. I want both a handgun and shotgun as well, but those are things I want to purchase on my own. I'm also asking for cash because I need new basics, like camis and tee shirts.

I'm adding more things. This post bas been live for fifteen hours.
*Adobe Photoshop CS6.
*Two fonts from Emily Lime Design. Bombshell Pro & Carolyna Black.

Okay, I'm done for real now. (:

Hey, That's Pin-tastic: Photo Edition

Joshua and I recently had our Christmas card photos (re)taken. This time around, I was armed with inspiration pictures from Pinterest that I liked and wanted to try to recreate. Obviously I can't show you our card, yet. ;) But I've decided to share some of our other favorites with you.

No inspiration photo here, just a classic one. J said he was going to add a dirt bike going up the hill behind us. (:

I can't find the exact photo that I saw, but you can find a similar one here.

[Inspiration Pin] This is my absolute favorite out of all the ones we took. 
I felt like our photographer captured a special, intimiate moment between us, and I love it. 

I'm back linking up with AP after taking a few weeks off. I have lots of things in mind and can't wait to actually do them!