March 19, 2014

5 Campbell's Heart Healthy Recipes

What do you do to keep your family heart healthy?

My family experiments with a wide variety of Superfoods such as avocados, berries, broccoli, quinoa, leafy greens, olive oil, and yogurt. One of our frequently made night time snacks is homemade guacamole. I also like to toss up some quinoa and spinach salads adding in random vegetables and spices each time for variety. We enjoy creating our own versions of restaurant and store made dishes to keep our meals healthy and tasty. Many superfoods are packed with monosaturated fats and low levels of saturated fats to keep your heart healthy and reduce the risk of heart disease. I am currently trying to incorporate more well, rounded healthy meals into our family's eating routines. We want to live long and prosperous! :)

In honor of Campbell's Address Your Heart campaign, I am sharing my five favorite Campbell's recipes certified by the American Heart Association. It is no longer necessary to just eat a quick can of soup if you want something delicious. Campbell's makes it easy to prepare fancy meals on a time and money budget.

Creamy Chicken and Vegetables over Spaghetti Squash

Creamy Turkey and Vegetable Lasagna
Pizza Primavera with Cauliflower Crust (Coolest recipe yet!!!)
Pork Medallions with Spinach and Barley
Slow-Cooked Chicken and Butternut Squash

Click on Coupons and Special Offers to help cut the costs when preparing the recipes above!

*This post is sponsored by Campbell Soup Company.

March 17, 2014

Corned Beef Brisket Dinner to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

I accidentally planned an Irish meal on St. Patrick's Day. Seriously. I bought a corned beef brisket at the store a few days ago thinking, "Hmm... I used to like corned beef, I wonder if I still do". I didn't get around to cooking it this past weekend because it requires 3-4 hours to cook and I procrastinated. I told myself I would cook it on Monday (today), not realizing it was St. Patrick's Day... 

It all came together this morning and I was stoked to be celebrating this normally drunken holiday in a more mature fashion! I cooked the meat with potatoes and cabbage for the side dishes to really add to the Irish spirit. All in all, I feel really excited to be celebrating this holiday, even though I originally was planning to watch it pass by! Oh, how I live for the little things in life. 

*** later***

I thoroughly enjoyed eating this meal even though it looks like a cow was pulled apart and thrown about on my plate... I did eat two large plates of this though, trying my best to eat faster than my mind thought about the dead cow... Yes, I am weird. 

March 16, 2014

First Seven Hours Away From Oliver

Today, I finally allowed myself to take a break away from my 10.5 week old little Oliver to hang out with friends. I went downtown for Laughfest in Grand Rapids to watch Sinbad's comedy act. I was away for a total of SEVEN HOURS! Seven FULL hours! This was the first real separation we have ever experienced. I have been breastfeeding him 100% of the time with the exception of maybe five or six (breastmilk) bottles total. That means I am always with him, pretty much every two hours of the day to feed him. I was a little nervous being away for an extended period of time because I had to make time to pump and maintain a regular schedule for "milk-expression". I was really anxious about leaving him during his feedings. I did not know how it was going to work out. I ended up being super prepared and followed a strict schedule.
  • I nursed him right before dropping him off to my moms. 
  • I pumped on the way to the event. 
  • We ended up eating and having a drink at a couple bars downtown first. 
  • Before the show, I went to my car and pumped. 
  • On my way home, after the show, I also pumped. 

When I returned home, my son had only drank 6 ounces.... I PUMPED 11 ounces! That is what I call SUCCESS! And my pumping schedule compared to his feeding schedule was exactly coordinated so I was prepared to feed him at his next feeding. Awesome! I have to practice this extended hours of separation a couple more times before I go back to work full time. One of my biggest fears is losing the ability to breastfeed my son before he reaches one year. I do not want work messing that up. As of now, my husband and I only plan to have two children. That means that this is supposed to be my last child. (I say supposed to be... because you never know what the future holds.) Regardless, I am keeping my goal! 

Not only was I nervous about creating problems with breastfeeding, but I was also nervous because I find it hard to trust anyone. My mom is about the only person I trust right now to watch my son. I don't want him to have any food except for breastmilk and I don't trust anybody else to follow that rule. That rule means he is not allowed to have just a taste of any food... whipped cream, mashed potatoes, regular milk, juice, pop... nothing. No formula. JUST breastmilk because he is only 10.5 weeks old and does not need anything else. I have a new goal with this second baby to only give him breastmilk for the first six months. No tastes of any food until he reaches six months of age. I asked his doctor and she said that was a perfectly normal and healthy thing to do. 

The trust issue is also because I am scared someone else will do something to hurt him accidentally. They may be perfectly capable to babysit but I am paranoid because he is so little. As soon as he reaches three months old on April 1, I will try my best to relax a bit more and allow him to be babysat. I need mental preparation in order to go back to work and not worrying 100% of the time. Sounds impossible but I did fine today while he was with my mom. Anyone else and I just might have a panic attack. 

Anyways-- our seven hour separation was wonderfully refreshing. It was also a really nice feeling to hold him when I got back home. His big sister was helping take care of him the entire time we were away. She helped feed him and keep the milk off his face and clothing. So far, it has been very relieving that she genuinely loves caring for him and playing the role of big sister. I hope she keeps up the compassion and love for him for a lonnngg time! *My fingers are crossed so that jealousy doesn't kick in anytime soon!!*

March 14, 2014

Veronica Mars DVD Giveaway

My husband just told me about the Veronica Mars DVD that is in theaters today, March 14, 2014. He is super excited because he faithfully watched every episode of the Veronica Mars television series. I am hosting this giveaway for his sake. I do not get a free copy of the DVD but he (and everyone else!) is allowed to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a free copy of this below.

About Veronica Mars:
On the eve of graduating law school, Veronica Mars has put Neptune and her amateur sleuthing days behind her. While interviewing at high-end New York law firms, Veronica Mars gets a call from her ex-boyfriend Logan who has been accused of murder. Veronica heads back to Neptune just to help Logan find an attorney, but when things don't seem right with how Logan's case is perceived and handled, Veronica finds herself being pulled back into a life she thought she had left behind.
Visit the website to preorder a digital HD copy today: 

In Theaters MARCH 14, 2014
ETA Movie Release MAY 2014

The television series aired from 2004-2007. If you need a refresher, watch Director Rob Thomas' Top 10 Episodes. 

If you think you know all there is about Veronica Mars, test your luck at the Purity Test Marshmallow Super-Fan Trivia game. One of the giveaway entries will be to brag about your high scores in this post's comment section. =)

Enter to win your free copy of the Veronica Mars movie below! This giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada. Good luck! I can't wait to check out this movie for myself!

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March 12, 2014

Mother Daughter Silly Time with Boots Botanics Ionic Clay Mask #PowerOfPlants

Can you guess what is on the top of my relaxing spa and pampering list?? It is definitely face masks! I love them! They clean, purify, and soften the skin on your face. Many of you know that I received a Boots Botanics Ionic Clay Mask in my J'Adore VoxBox from Influenster. I have already used it once before and decided to share the fun with my daughter, Miss A! She is two and a half years old and has a crazy-big sense of humor! We had a blast!

The Boots Botanics face mask was developed with Kew Royal Botanic Gardens plant extracts, to bring skincare products proven to work. It uses oceanic minerals to help draw out deep-rooted impurities and oil without drying to create a clearer, softer look. There is also Willow bark extract added, as it is a natural source of salicylic acid, used to refine skin texture and target skin imperfections.

(Obviously my two year old has beautifully young skin so she was just in it for kicks and giggles!)


  • Sea Silt (Natural Oceanic Clay)
  • Aqua (Water)
  • Potassium Sorbate-- Naturally occurring anti-microbial compound used as a preservative
  • Sodium Hydroxymethyglycinate-- Often used in 'natural' products as a preservative in place of parabens. 
  • Salix Nigra (Willow) bark extract

This is a very runny face mask so be careful when applying it and do so over your bathroom sink. It is recommended to apply the mask on to a clean face and let it set for 10 minutes before rinsing. I took my daughter's mask off a little early because she kept saying her face felt messy. The mask dries super fast though, so there were no problems with it running off my face and getting onto my clothes.

My skin felt very refreshed, tight, and clean. It did not cause a burning or tingling sensation either. My face was very soft and smooth. I will continue to use this product and possibly even purchase more in the future!

Check out the Boots USA Website to view more of their products.

March 11, 2014

Even Coffee Can't Help Days Like These!

Here is the run down of how this oh-so-not-sunny day began for Miss Wonderful Me.

What's a mama supposed to do? 
  • 12:00AM- Baby Fox decided he needed a midnight feeding to officially ease him into a deep sleep. I am in love with nursing him to sleep, I did not mind. 
  • 1:00AM- Insomnia. Everybody has been sleeping for about an hour or two minimum but I am still lying awake. 
  • 1:15AM- Miss A decides to stumble into our master bathroom and pee all over the floor because she is too tired to undo her jammies and make it to the potty. I am forced to clean it up and put her back to bed.
  • 1:45AM- I finally fall asleep.
  • 4:30AM- Baby Fox decides he doesn't want to give mommy a 6-8 hour sleep stretch tonight and wakes up to eat. 
  • 5:00AM- I fall back asleep. 
  • 6:30AM- Baby Fox wants to eat again. 
  • 7:00AM- Miss A wakes up and tries to sneak in my bed. I say, "No. Go sleep in your bed or on the couch." The baby will most certainly keep her awake if she sleeps with me. 
  • 7:30AM- Baby Fox wants to eat again... after one hour? Come on!
  • 8:30AM- Baby Fox cries to have his diaper changed. I may have fed him AGAIN. 
  • 9:30AM-Baby Fox cannot sleep. He does not want to be in his bed. I am positive I fed him again at this time. I lay in bed with two children in my lap, feeling exhausted for an hour.
  • 10:30AM- I do not even want to attempt shower time, getting dressed, and breakfast... But I do it. 
  • 11:30AM- I finally start coffee and pour bowls of cereal. 
  • 12:30PM- Movie Time... but Miss A doesn't like the new movie, The Reef, and I can not watch Winnie the Pooh or Pocahontas for the 100th time each. I just cannot do it today. 
  • 1:00PM- Miss A does not want to use the potty because apparently it was clogged. "Mommy, you broke it!" She peed all over the floor, second time today. You have got to be kidding me. She has been potty trained for 8 months! 
Thankfully, my husband did not get forced to work extra on his half day today. He is coming home in a half hour at 2:30pm!! Thank you Jesus. I will be done parenting upon his arrival. 
Ha, I wish.

My 10 week old son is definitely going through another growth spurt! He was up often the previous night too for extra feedings. I have to hope that tonight he will sleep for a good amount of time again. As for Miss A, she failed miserably going on the BIG GIRL POTTY today. Dear Lord. Help her get her act together before I lose all of my sanity. 

And some people scoff at and belittle stay at home mothers... PLEASE dearest male friends, I would LOVE to see you accomplish these draining tasks. When it gets rough, the coffee hardly helps. It's all will power baby! =)

Today **AND EVERYDAY** is a day to appreciate the hard work of all mothers around!! 


March 10, 2014

My Experience Consuming Caffeine During Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

I did not consume any caffeine when I was pregnant with my first child. I cut out all caffeinated coffee, tea, and pop for the entire duration of my pregnancy. I continued a caffeine-free diet after my pregnancy too while I was breastfeeding. Everyone, including my doctor told me that it was best not to consume any caffeine because it could have negative consequences for the baby. So I listened... for the first baby... 

This past pregnancy (my second child), I ignored that advice. I drank coffee almost every morning of my pregnancy. I did not consume a lot, maybe 2-4 cups per day. I was a little nervous about doing it but coffee works like an antidepressant for me. I really feel that it helps me be a better, nicer person (and mother!). I am sure I am not the only one that agrees with that statement! As the time grew nearer for my baby to be born, I started to feel paranoid that my baby was not going to sleep because I had consumed too much caffeine. Once he was born, I continued to ignore that fear and I drink my morning cup of coffee. 

Funny thing is that both of my babies had about the same sleep schedule and similar behaviors. They both required feedings every 2-3 hours around the clock for the first month, into the second month. I believe my second baby (where I consumed caffeine) slept longer earlier than my first baby. He currently sleeps 6-8 hours in a row starting when he turned two months old. He occasionally sleeps less, but the sleep schedule fluctuated a little with baby #1 too. I reread my old blog post, Sleepy Mommy & Daddy Pictures, to find that my first baby started sleeping 8 hours in a row at 10 weeks old. Both babies were/are not colicky. They cry when they need a diaper change and when they are hungry. That is pretty much it. 

Therefore, based on my experience, drinking caffeine while pregnant and breastfeeding has no effect on the baby. I am not a doctor, nor am I promoting caffeine use during pregnancy! I am just stating my personal experience for those of you who are also feeling guilty about consuming caffeine during pregnancy and breastfeeding. 

Best of luck to all you mamas! =) 

March 9, 2014

A Little Insight into Having a Baby

Every woman who gets pregnant goes through a huge body and mind transformation. The first battle occurs gradually as the baby grows larger and larger inside the womb. The body stretches and expands in ways never thought imaginable to make room for the new life. Emotions rise to a whole new level of craziness as extra hormones are being produced at intense rates. Never before felt aches and pains strike hard. A woman's body is made for this but the mind is not prepared!

Eventually, the baby decides he is ready to be born. The body turns into a human machine and cranks out the baby regardless if the mother's mind is ready to battle this excruciating pain. (And the mother's mind is never ready for this battle.) Without it ever feeling possible, the woman's body actually succeeds and a baby is born. 

But the woman's body is not done changing. Postpartum recovery is an unanticipated third battle. Cramping occurs with every feeding to shrink the uterus back into place. The skin decides to take its sweet time tightening back against the body. The hormonal surge seems to never end and it creates a monster within thanks to sleep deprivation caused by the new baby. Depression, anxiety, anger, crying spells, and traumatic what-if scenarios come and go as they please.

And when the new baby starts sleeping longer and the mind starts to feel sane again, the hair starts falling out.

That, my friends, is where I am at now! Hooray for having babies! Good thing they are so stinkin' cute and cuddly. 

Flower & Fox Cousins

March 7, 2014

J'Adore VoxBox from Influenster

I was super lucky to receive a second VoxBox from Influenster in exchange for product reviews! I was wayy excited to sample these new products. Even my husband benefited from my social media addiction this time!

My J'Adore VoxBox contains the following products:
I have already tried Hershey's Kisses many, many times! As always, they are an excellent addition to our candy bowl.

I have never ever tried fake eyelashes before and never intended on doing so until I saw my tiny, little, baby sister (k.a.l.l.o) wear a pair. [Excuse the inside joke.] A little time passed and I forgot about fake eyelashes. Suddenly, a pair of Kiss Looks So Natural Lashes showed up in my mailbox. It was time to test those babies out!

Boom Baby! You know you like that! 

So my overall opinion of fake eyelashes only applies to the idea of fake eyelashes. I don't like them. I went to the grocery store and was paranoid that my eyelashes were hanging partially off. They were definitely secured in place... but I was worried about it all day. Also, I don't like the idea of people seeing me wearing fake eyelashes and knowing that they are fake. Therefore, no fake eyelashes for me unless it is a special occasion. Overall, I had no problem with the Kiss brand. They were fairly simple to apply and readjust as necessary.

Glamour Shot- Oooh I feel so sexy!
So far I really like the John Frieda Frizz Ease 3-Day Straight Flat Iron Spray. I am positive that it will keep my hair straight for three days. I can't experiment and do the three-day-no-wash confirmation test yet because I constantly have a baby spitting up all over me. I can go two days without showering but I feel really gross by then. If I don't have spoiled milk rotting in my hair, my son probably sprayed me with urine. Pleasant huh? Maybe once my newborn stops drooling all over the place, I can give it a go! I definitely like the product because it is so lightweight that I can not even feel it in my hair. I am anxious to try it out when the summer humidity hits Michigan.

I am a huge fan of any and all face masks; homemade or store bought. So when I found a tube of Boots Botanics Shine Away Ionic Clay Mask in my J'Adore VoxBox, I was stoked! I had a lot of fun with it. I like that it dries really quick and it leaves your face fully refreshed! I only noticed one slightly negative thing about this face mask. The consistency is very thin and runny. It works great but it can get messy. Below, I just had to include pictures with my son who was did not seem to mind that my face was covered in clay... Next time, my sweet two year old girl and I will be using the mask together for some quality girl time. This mask did not make my face burn or tingle intensely.

Gotta love those wrinkles... Hubby thanked me for giving him insight into my future old lady looks!!
The next product is the Red Rose Simply Indulgent Teas. I am more of a coffee drinker than a tea drinker but I do occasionally enjoy a fine cup of tea! The Red Rose Creme Caramel tea has a very rich taste. It is an excellent choice for drinking in the bitter cold, winter weather. I prepared my cup with a dash of sugar and splash of milk. I also made a cup without sugar and equally enjoyed the taste.

My husband got to sample the last product, which was a can of Vaseline Men Spray Lotion. I will summarize his comments and first reactions below, and include my own opinion!

Essentially, the can does what it says it will do. It hydrates your skin quickly. However, he said he was not the ideal candidate for testing this product because he likes to steer clear from lotions with fragrance, as fragrances tend to irritate his sensitive skin. At the very least, he states, "This product increases my chances of getting lucky because my wife likes the scent... haha" It is true that the lotion smells very masculine and sexy! But overall, he does not like it because he finds it dumb that you still have to rub the lotion into your skin after spraying it. He says, "What's the point?" I say, what a typical male response! No true care in the world about silly new products on the market... LOL. I love spray on lotion and think it is much easier to apply than bottled lotion!

I cannot convince him to let me film an instavideo of him applying the lotion to submit to Influenster. He is NO FUN! Hahaa... I want to make one of those sexy perfume commercials with a deep voiced man saying "OH BABY" in the background!! I will continue to work on catching him in action using the Vaseline Men Spray Lotion he claims to have no interest in! Hahaha.

Anyways, that is all for now! A big thanks to Influenster! If anyone is interested in signing up for Influenster, contact me with your email and I will send you an invite. Otherwise, feel free to check it out yourself at

March 6, 2014

Friendship: The Ox and The Fox!

My little Fox made his first friend, a one month old cutie pie named Ox!! As soon as I took out the camera, he decided he was too hungry for fun and games so their visit was cut short. But next time, we will have to do a real baby photo shoot!

March 4, 2014

Giveaway: One Year iParent.TV Subscription


What is iParent.TV? 
It is a yearly, subscription-based website for teaching and informing parents on all things tech, mobile, devices, websites, and apps to keep children safe on the internet.

Why subscribe? 
I feel that I am well educated about what happens on the internet. However, the internet is large and it is almost impossible to keep up on the ever changing technology. I expect this new platform will help me to teach my children about internet safety. iParent.TV will offer access to hundreds of videos, reviews, how-tos, and live chat support to help parents understand what is safe and what is not safe in the world of tech. It will offer expert advice on everything related to popular apps, social network sites, major websites, and top devices. When you have a two year who is already using your phone and laptop to play internet based games, you know how easily it will be for them to wander throughout the internet on their own. A two year old is extremely smart. The younger they start to use the internet, the faster they will find trouble.

The $49 annual subscription includes a password and login to the access the site's information on what is new in the world of tech and how it affects your family. There will be ratings and rankings on which platforms are safe for kids and age ranges so you know if a site is safe for very young children.

Enter below for your chance to win a free subscription! In the unfortunate event that you are not chosen and you are still interested in subscribing, they are currently offering a pre-launch discount of $29 for the year subscription at on IndieGoGo.
You can also visit iParent.TV for more information on their services.

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**I am receiving a year subscription to announce the upcoming launch of iParent.TV this June 2014.**

March 3, 2014

My Moby Wrapped Babies

Moby Wraps are suitable for babies weighing 5-35 pounds. I have a 13lb baby boy and a 35lb baby girl. I will only be using my Moby Wrap for the little one though! My big girl's long legs would probably get in the way of things if I used it for her! Plus, she probably weighs a little over 35lbs now anyways.

Look at my Moby Wrapped babies!! 

It wasn't as hard to put the wrap on as people say... However, I will have to memorize and use the instructions a few more times to make sure I wrap the little one correctly. I don't think my big girl is wrapped comfortably against me as you can tell from the pictures!!

I have lots of plans for this wrap! As soon as winter is over, I want to carry Oliver throughout the zoo, fair, mall, park, etc! That way I can easily watch and stroll Miss A too and keep Oliver snug tight next to me. I'm excited to try other carrying positions too. =)

How Fast Do You Lose Weight Postpartum? [My Experience]

I gained a whopping forty pounds during my first and second pregnancies. The weight all came off very quickly and easily after my first pregnancy. The same thing is happening with my second pregnancy's postpartum period. This second time around, I have been recording the numbers to entertain my curiosity. Keep in mind that everyone's bodies are different but here are my results so far. My son was born January 1, 2014, so it has been two months since his birth.

Really pregnant! And 2 months after delivery-- excludes the sucking in tummy nonsense ;)
Pre-Pregnancy Weight: 135 pounds
39 Weeks Pregnant: 176 pounds
Total Weight Gain: 41 pounds

3 days after delivery: Lost 20lbs (156lbs)
6 days after delivery: Lost 6 more pounds (150lbs)
2 weeks after delivery: Lost 2 more pounds (148lbs)
1 month after delivery: Lost 2 more pounds (146lbs)
6 weeks after delivery: Lost 2 more pounds (144lbs)
2 months after delivery (Current Weight): Gained 2 pounds (146lbs)

Two months after delivery, I am still up 11 pounds. I have not been exercising so the only weight loss activity I do is breastfeeding. Since my weight has gone up, I feel I am at a standstill. That is essentially my cue to start exercising again! You should not stop exercising to begin with but as we all know... life happens and exercise takes an unfortunate step down our priority lists.

All this weight gain and body destruction is a small price to pay for creating such an adorable creature!

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