Sunday, February 28, 2010

How open is too open?

Recently a friend of mine on facebook posted that they think it is sad that the gift of privacy has been lost through facebook and blogs. I sat for a good five minutes before I decided to respond. Essentially, I disagree. While to an extent, I can understand that we "hear" about everything through a facebook status or through a blog post, however I disagree that we have lost the gift. In fact, I think that those of us on the receiving end have gained a gift. A beautiful gift.

This friend's post in and of itself was a gift to me (although they probably didn't know it). It was a gift, as it made me think. How open is too open on our blogs, or facebook statuses? Are there certain things that are private and shouldn't be shared? For me the answer is yes. For someone else that answer may be no. I strive to be open and honest in real life, so for me anything I would talk about in real life is open to talking about on my blog or facebook. For some, the information I share may be too much, for others it's nothing. However, I would not be true to myself and would feel like I was lying if I didn't blog or facebook about something that I typically think about, talk about. It's all part of my bold blogging. For those of you who read this (or my facebook), know that you will read posts on marriage, child-rearing (and yes that includes breastfeeding), and my journey to become a woman of God. I'm pretty much an open book and I'm ok with that. I will tell you that I'm fairly certain that the only thing you won't read on here is about our sex life (in fact this is probably the only time you will see me type that word). It's just not something I feel would glorify God (talking about it that is) or help others which is why I blog in the first place. Anything else is fair "game" so to speak. As long as my husband (who has read pretty much every post) is ok with me publishing and I know that God is prompting me to post, I will post. 

Which brings me to the ultimate question I had: Were our lives ever meant to be private? Or were we to be open, honest, and uplifting to each other. I believe that God intended the latter and that man in their inability to be open has tried to hide things that are embarrassing, wrong, etc. and we just glorify and post the good, or we don't post the things that may be taboo to talk about in our culture (politics, religion, how to raise children, etc.). Ultimately it is our pride that tries to hide the bad in our lives and only show the good. I have a different look on blogging, message boards, facebook statuses etc. than my friend. I see them all as a beautiful gift God has given me. Many of my friends, through posts on social media have opened my eyes to things I never even knew. They challenged me and made me think on things I otherwise never would have had they not posted. I would like to think that I have become a better wife, mama, and woman of God because someone went against the norm and clicked the publish post button even when they knew they would be open to criticism because of it.

So I will keep posting. I will keep blogging bodly. I will keep being honest in all areas of my life because one never knows who God knew needed to see that post, or that facebook status. One never knows the beautiful gift of openness that God wanted us to have with each other so we can be drawn closer to Him.

*Disclaimer: To my friend (if you happen to be reading) who originally had this as your facebook status: This post is not geared toward you or to attack you. Rather, it is just my opinion on the matter and actually something I have felt God laying on my heart to share for awhile. So thank you for being bold enough to post in the first place so that God could prompt me to post. It's that kind of ripple effect that God desires to have in our friendships.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sweet Dreams Aden + Anais Review

When I was pregnant with Zoelle and roaming around my online message boards I kept hearing over and over again about a certain swaddle blanket from a company called Aden + Anais that was supposedly amazing. I didn't think much about it and never got one with her. When I was pregnant with Meridian, I once again heard about these amazing blankets and was determined that I would try one someday. Well, a couple of months after she was born I actually won one through a message board. I fell in love and could definitely understand why everyone was raving about them. However, now that both of my girls are bigger and past the swaddle stage, I really wanted a nice, quality blanket that would last forever. My dream for that was answered when I was sent the Dream Blanket by Aden + Anais.

In the words of my husband: I LOVE that blanket! I honestly don't think I could find a nicer blanket. It is heavy, yet not too heavy, soft, stretchy, and is a great quality blanket. I know that it will last us for years to come! Not only do we love it, but Zoelle (who is currently using it) loves it too. I'll let her explain to you why she likes it:

Well there you have it! She loves it and looks completely adorable in it too! My only wish (and obviously Zoelle's too) is that Meridian had one too!

*Please note I have since learned that it is pronounce Anay. I never knew quite how to pronounce that so forgive my pronunciation on my video! :)

Buy It!

Want one of these incredible Aden + Anais dream blankets? Head on over to their site to buy one today. You won't regret it!

*The featured product(s) in this post were provided to me free of charge by the manufacturer or pr company representing the company. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by anyone.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Boogie Wipes Review & Giveaway

When I first heard of Boogie Wipes I was pretty convinced that they were a gimic created by a couple of moms who were just hoping to make a buck (hey I strive for honesty here on my blog).  However, after hearing about them working super well on little ones noses, I decided to give them a try.

Of course, the week I got my Boogie Wipes in the mail, it just so happened that both of my girls got stuffy little noses. Now typically my girls have never minded blowing their noses with Kleenex (well Meridian can't blow her nose, but Zoelle can). Anyway, I brought out the Boogie Wipes and immediately, Zoelle was taken with the packaging.

Me, I was taken with how soft they were! I seriously never would have thought that these would be better than a regular kleenex, but somehow they are. The saline in them dissolves the boogies and the Vitamin E, Aloe and Chamomile moisturize their little noses.

My take on it: Mindee and Julie knew just what they were doing and they have at least one new follower in me! Oh and Zoelle told me that she loves them. The only problem is, we can't stop her from using them all the time. She is constantly coming up with some excuse as to why she needs a Boogie Wipe!

Buy It!
Go to Boogie Wipes and purchase them directly from them. Or check out their store locator of where to find them near you. Not only do they have 30-count packs, they also have individually wrapped wipes which are perfect to stick into your diaper bag or purse.

Win It!

Boogie Wipes have generously offered one of my readers (2) packs of 30-count wipes (fresh, grape or menthol – combination varies). May I just say, I have a slight obsession with the grape smell-yum!

Mandatory Entry:

Go visit Boogie Wipes, look around and come back and tell me one other thing about them that I didn't mention in my review. Please do me the favor of making sure you leave your e-mail address in the comment if it is not visible on your profile. (1 entry)

Extra Entries: 

1. Follow me on google friend connect and leave a comment telling me you are. (1 entry)
2. Follow me on Twitter and leave a comment telling me you are along with your Twitter ID. (1 entry)
3. Follow Boogie Wipes on Twitter and leave a comment telling me you are along with your Twitter ID. (1 entry)
4. Friend Boogie Wipes on Facebook and leave a comment telling me you are friends. (1 entry)
5. Join the Boogie Bunch and leave a comment telling me you did. (1 entry)

That's It!

Winner will be chosen at random from Winner has 24 hours from being contacted to respond, or else a new winner will be chosen.

Contest ends Sunday, February 28, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. CST!

*Winner-#10-Kathleen, congrats!!

*The featured product(s) in this post were provided to me free of charge by the manufacturer or pr company representing the company. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by anyone.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

You what?!?

For those of you who know me, my post Bittersweet Goodbye was no shock to you. However, I'm guessing there are quite a few of you who sat at your computers with your mouths wide open, shaking your head back and forth, all while mumbling, "Two years, 8 months, and 8 days!?! But, but, but, that is almost 3 years! 3 years! That is way too long to nurse a child!". Yep go ahead and admit it, you were shocked, grossed out, disgusted, etc. Nothing will phase me as I think I've heard it all in my almost 3 years of nursing. Besides, I used to sit right where you all sit. I once staunchly declared that I would only nurse until a year and anything after that was too old. I eat my words ladies and gentlemen. I also judged others who nursed past two years in the same way that I have been judged (huh interesting biblical aspect there, isn't it?).

I can't even begin to tell you how many times people asked me when I was going to wean. Starting pretty much right after she was born. Some told me I should stop when she could ask for it. For Zoelle that was at 9 months, which in my opinion was too young to wean. Around a year old was when I started really getting the looks or people asking me if I was almost done. When I got pregnant, people assumed that surely I would quit nursing because it wasn't safe to nurse while pregnant (not true people, it is more than safe to nurse through a healthy pregnancy). Then shortly before I had Meridian, many told me I must stop or else Zoelle would never wean, or the new baby wouldn't get enough food, or that she was just plain ole' too old to still be nursing.

What exactly is extended breast feeding and why do it? Kellymom has some awesome information about what it exactly is and why do it, but being that most of you won't click on that link, I thought I would summarize here so you can see it for yourself.

*Nursing toddlers benefit NUTRITIONALLY
*Nursing toddlers are SICK LESS OFTEN
*Nursing toddlers have FEWER ALLERGIES
*Nursing toddlers are SMART
*Nursing toddlers are WELL ADJUSTED SOCIALLY
*Nursing a toddler is NORMAL
*MOTHERS also benefit from nursing past infancy

If you didn't do extended breastfeeding or didn't breastfeed at all, please don't be offended by that information. It's just that: information that you can take or leave. If you want to know specifics, please read the information given.

Not only all of that but The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that "Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child... Increased duration of breastfeeding confers significant health and developmental benefits for the child and the mother... There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer." (AAP 2005)

For me I simply did it for Zoelle. She is smart, very smart. She was also more than capable of following her own instincts and gradually weaning when she felt emotionally and physically ready. Did I love it the whole time? No way! I wanted to quit many times, but she just wasn't ready so I followed her lead. In case your wondering, I'll do the same for Meridian (although I have my doubts that we will make it much past one year). So there you have it. I did it for her and I have provided you with the information to do with as you please.

Want to learn more? Please see these great resources!

There's No Such Thing As Extended Breastfeeding

A Natural Age of Weaning

Continuing Breastfeeding Beyone The First Year

Breastfeeding Guide & Tips

What are the benefits of breastfeeding my toddler?

Already nursing a toddler and need some extended support? Check out Breastfeeding Beyond Infancy it has many wonderful articles to encourage and support you in your extended breastfeeding journey.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Ecostore USA Review & Giveaway

For some time now I have been on the look out for natural cleaning products for my home. I have two little girls who I cherish immensely and I want the best and the healthiest things for them in all areas. I have managed to change my lifestyle in many areas to make it not only healthier for them, but also me. However, one area I have struggled to change is in the area of cleaning products. I just could not find a natural cleaning product that I felt did as good of a job as those that are filled with chemicals and nasty for you. Thus when I found Ecostore USA I was super excited and could not wait to try their products. I received the Cream Cleanser and the Citrus Spray Cleaner to review.

This weekend is the first chance I have gotten to try out them out as I have been putting off cleaning my house for...umm...let's just say a while.

I was super excited to try out the Cream Cleanser as it stated on the website that it worked wonders on stainless steel. I hate the smell and the chemicals that I know are in my stainless steel wipes, so even though this was a bit more work, I was willing to try it in order to avoid that. The result: it was good, not as good as I thought as it would be as it still left streaks, but overall I would definitely use it again. An added bonus was that it cleaned my glass stovetop beautifully!

The Citrus Spray Cleaner I used in my bathroom to clean my sink and the area on the outside of the toilet. Again, I have previously been using homemade wipes that have some scary chemicals in them. This stuff was awesome and definitely worked just as well as my homemade wipes!

Buy It!

Go to Ecostore USA and buy various items from them (they have other products then just cleaning items). Also, their prices are awesome!

Win It!

Ecostore USA has generously offered one of my readers a $25 gift card to use on their site.

Mandatory Entry:

Go to Ecostore USA, look around, then come back here and comment on what you would spend your $25 gift card on if you won. (1 entry) Please do me the favor of making sure you leave your e-mail address in the comment if it is not visible on your profile.

Extra Enteries:

1. Follow me on google friend connect and leave a comment telling me you are. (1 entry)
2. Follow me on Twitter and leave a comment telling me you are along with your Twitter ID. (1 entry)
3. Follow Ecostore USA on Twitter and leave a comment telling me you are along with your Twitter ID.     (1 entry)
3. Tweet about this giveaway making sure you mention @jewelsntreasure and @ecostoreusa (1 entry)
4. Become a Ecostore Usa fan on facebook and leave me a comment telling me you are along with your First name and last initial. (1 entry)
5. Sign up for the Ecostore USA newsletter and leave me a comment telling me you did. (1 entry)

That's It!

Winner will be chosen at random from   Winner has 24 hours from being contacted to respond, or else a new winner will be chosen.

Contest ends Monday, February 22, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. CST!

*Congrats to #27-Jess - hope you get everything you want and enjoy! :)

*The featured product(s) in this post were provided to me free of charge by the manufacturer or pr company representing the company. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by anyone.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My First Kiss Ever!

Note: The following was written a few years ago by my handsome hubby for our local newspaper. I thought it appropriate to post for Valentine's Day. Enjoy!

I met my wife when we were both seventeen. One must understand that I completely and wholly love my wife with all my heart but this meeting was definitely NOT love at first sight! The feeling from her was mutual. You see, I met her while I was chasing another girl whom did not want anything to do with me so my eyes were somewhat blurred to my future wife’s beauty, so to speak.

Within the year I realized that maybe I was wrong in my choice of women. I steadily grew to admire this girl who was to become my wife. Amazing how time can have that affect on a guy. Sadly, she, like the other girl, didn’t want anything to do with the husky high-school kid who talked about nothing but hunting and wore sweatshirts with wolves crying to the moon on them. What’s not to like?

We are now living proof that persistence pays off! She finally agreed, through a series of events, to see me as more than a friend. This took place about four months after I turned eighteen.

Our first “date” happened another three weeks later which happened to coincide with her eighteenth birthday. Due to my gentlemanly nature, kissing this girl never even crossed my mind. Okay, okay, that last sentence was a complete and utter lie and I confess that I may have thought about kissing her once or twice.

This young woman, as it turns out, has been my first, last, and only girlfriend. She had had several prospects before I came on the scene but nothing serious and no kissing was in her past either. That is what makes our marriage extra special to us.

My wife and I are very strong Christians and we decided early on in our dating that we would not get physically intimate with each other until our wedding day. This intimacy included kissing. We are in agreement that physical intimacy is a gift that you give to your spouse after marriage.

My wife and I dated exactly 479 bliss-filled days before I got down on one knee. Our engagement then lasted another 144 wonderful days. That is a grand-total of 623 days of NO KISSING!

Like I explained earlier, we firmly felt that kissing would compromise our beliefs. Not that kissing before marriage is necessarily wrong, we simply felt that the act of kissing could open the doors to who-knows-what could happen and get us into a situation that we didn’t want to be in.

On the ninth day of August, 2003, just before two-o’clock in the afternoon, I laid a big kiss on my bride. Her first kiss. My first kiss. Our first kiss. . . EVER!

We are so happy that we waited until our wedding day to kiss. We look back on our dating days and see just how much we were able to get to know each other without ever having to get physical. We would like to encourage everybody out there to challenge yourselves and wait until your wedding day to kiss your love. You won’t regret it if you do!

By the way, I quit wearing the wolf shirts because they were attracting too many women and I only have eyes for my wife!

*Happy Valentine's Day to my handsome hubby. I love you more now than I ever have and I look forward to the many more years of togetherness...just don't dig out any wolf shirts!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Bittersweet Goodbye

Dear little big Zoelle,

I'm writing this letter with tears streaming down my face. I don't want to write it. I knew eventually I would have to, but I never really thought the day would come. This is your weaning letter.

For 2 years 8 months and 8 days, you have nursed. In fact the very first time you ever missed a day nursing was when your baby sister was born and I was in the hopsital. You had just turned two the day before and it killed me leaving you knowing you would be wondering where your na-nas went. Since then, you have skipped out on nursing here or there.

Before you were even conceived it was my desire to nurse you. I heard all sorts of nursing horror stories throughout my pregnancy with you. For whatever reason, I never let nursing worry me while I was pregnant. Thus you and I don't have a horror story, we have a beautiful story of an incredible nursing relationship.

It all started the minute I pushed you into this world. You came with three little holes in your heart, but I was still determined to at least get to nurse you before they whisked you away for numerous tests. Amazingly enough, they let me. You started on my right side. Which is funny because I now realize you have favored that side all along. They only let you nurse for a tiny amount of time and only on that side. In that time though, you figured out the most perfect latch. I did not get to hold you or try to nurse you until 24 hours later and I am convinced that it was because of that first nursing session, that you were able to latch right back on again later.

The first few days were filled with engorgement, but I never had sore nipples, and I had no pain while you nursed. Sure it felt strange to have you on my breast drinking breast milk, but it didn't hurt, and for that I was grateful! In our two years of nursing, I did get plugged ducts. At one point, I am pretty sure I developed Mastitis, but I pushed through it by doing my research, as I always do.

It is because of that research that I ended up nursing you as long as I did. At first my goal was just like everyone else. Just get through the first six months. I told myself I would re-evaluate at that point and try to make it to a year. One year later, our nursing relationship was going so well, I decided why not try for 18 months of nursing? At 18 months, I had done enough research to know that I wanted to let you wean on your own timing. It was sometime in the months before your sister was born that I started doing the "don't ask, don't refuse" way of nursing. I have pretty much exclusively done that since. Thus bringing us up to you no longer asking. At the age of two I asked you if you were ready to wean and you declared with tears in your eyes that you were not ready and that you needed to nurse. Today you tell me you haven't weaned yet, but sweetie, I am pretty sure you have. It's been over two weeks since you last asked and you don't seem to even mind.

I have so many incredible memories together. I will never forget you hungrily gulping my breastmilk in those first few days. Nor will I forget my milk spraying all over your face and hair. I remember so many times lovingly playing with your hair (the little you had) and in my head I kept saying, I never wanted to forget that moment. The moment of looking down and seeing you sleeping, drinking on your na-nas. I still love the fact that when you are tired, sad, scared, you come to me and play with my hair. Some of my favorite memories are of when you first learned to smile and you would latch on, look up at me and smile and latch back on. That cycle would repeat and repeat over and over again. You soon grew so big that you were curious to your world around you and if daddy was in the room, you would try to turn and look at him while nursing. That hurt! However, you were a very good little girl when it came to nursing and teeth. I think you bit me a few times, but that was it. You knew that if you continued to bite, I would not continue to nurse! I also remember around 9 months of age, your daddy bringing you down to me and you looking at me and screaming "Nurse!" when up to that point you hadn't said that. At a year, I had a professional photographer take nursing pictures of us because I did not want to forget what that was like. I do not regret those pictures, they are some of my most treasured memories.

My only regret with nursing is how our relationship changed when your sister was born. For that I am truly sorry. I'm sure alot of it was because I was overwhelmed with two little girls. I was tired from giving birth. I also all of a sudden no longer saw you as my baby. You grew up overnight in my eyes. In yours, you were still a baby in need of the warm milk from your mama. I often got frustrated and didn't want to nurse you. I wish I wouldn't have. I wish I would have cherished you just a bit longer. I miss our snuggle times in the morning because even though we have special snuggle time, it just isn't the same because you don't snuggle into me as deeply, or for as long.

You are growing up honey. I love it, but I hate it. That is why I title this as bitersweet goodbye. I am happy in a way to no longer be tandem nursing.  I am happy to have you just wake up in the morning and eat breakfast, and not have to nurse. I'm proud to see you grow up, see the choices you are going to make. However, I am so sad. I know the first step to goodbye was the second you had solids, but this seems so final. It truly is goodbye. I am almost panicky thinking of you never nursing again sweetheart. I've actually had this written for a few weeks, but haven't had the heart to click on publish post because once I do, it is final. I'm sad. On the otherhand, I couldn't be more pleased to how it all happened and that it was a painless weaning process.

So goodbye to sweet breastfeeding, but hello to more incredible moments with you to come!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: She's Cute!

Z.Daisy Binkie Bungee Review & Giveaway

Zoelle never took a pacifier. We tried every single kind out there. In fact a close friend of mine always laughed at my stash of pacifiers that I had. When I had Meridian, I debated back and forth whether or not to give her one, but eventually decided to go ahead and give her one. I brought out the ziploc bag full of pacifiers that I had with Zoelle and started trying to get Meridian to take one. She took to them, but doesn't prefer one over the other. That is really nice as we can use any of them to help soothe her. However, one problem I had was that I could not find a pacifier clip that would fit all of my pacifiers. That is until I found Z.Daisy. They make something called the Binkie Bungee which is a universal pacifier clip that attaches to all types of pacifiers by using a simple slip knot. This has been perfect for us as we use all different types of pacifiers for Meridian.

Some things that I love about it include that they are high quality and have many cute designs. Another thing that I love about them is that they make Eco-friendly and Organic Binkie Bungees. Which is something that I appreciate as I try to raise my girls as natural as possible. The only thing I didn't love is that everywhere Meridian crawled, the pacifier would drag with her on the ground. I think I may need to clip it higher on her shirt to avoid this.

Buy It!

Go to Binkie Bungee and buy one directly from them. Or check out where to buy one near you.

Win It!

Z.Daisy has generously offered to send a Binkie Bungee of your choice to one of my readers.

Mandatory Entry:

Go to Z.Daisy and then come back and tell me in a comment which of the 10 fabric designs you would choose. Make sure you leave your e-mail address in your comment if it is not visible on your profile.

Extra Entries:

1. Follow me on google friend connect and leave a comment telling me you are.
2. Follow Z.Daisy on Twitter and leave a comment telling me you are.
3. Follow me on Twitter and leave a comment telling me you are.

That's It!

Making it easy for both you and I! Winner will be chosen at random from

Contest ends Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at noon CST!


#2-Andrea! Enjoy! Hope it helps keep that paci away from the dog!

*The featured product(s) in this post were provided to me free of charge by the manufacturer or pr company representing the company. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by anyone.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Tiny Hands

Tiny hands fists closed tight
Tiny dreams held inside
Tiny hands how they’ve grown
Like the babe I used to know

Call me a sap, but while watching Baby Signing Times with my girls and listening to this song, I started to cry.

Sometimes I stare at these tiny hands and just wonder how they ever got so big. Seriously. What happened to my tiny babies? How in the world do I have a 2.5 year old? Or an 8 month old?

Then I start almost hyperventillating thinking about how fast time goes and how I just want it to stop. For one day I want to be able to do nothing but sit and watch them and enjoy them. Which then makes me wonder to myself if I have taken enough time to enjoy them. Sometimes at the end of the day when the girls are sleeping, I realize I didn't. I worried too much. I was crabby way too often. Or I did "my" stuff instead of playing with them.

It is my goal, my desire to take each day and enjoy the little things such as my little ones hands because I truly didn't realize how fast they would grow.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Skin MD Review & Giveaway

I have dry skin. It doesn't help that it is winter here and I live in a state which is extremely dry and cold. I also have extremely sensitive skin. I always have to be super careful with any products that I try, for fear of breaking out.

Thus when I started hearing rumblings of Skin MD Shielding Lotion in the blogging world, I was curious but very hesitant. Nevertheless, I decided to give it a try.

The day my bottle of Skin MD Shielding Lotion came in the mail, my face had about had it with winter. It was so dry, red, and flaky. I had tried everything on it; moisturizers, vaseline, natural ointments, and even lansinoh. None of it worked. I actually went into trying Skin MD Shielding Lotion pretty skeptical. Sure I had read the reviews, but I certainly didn't believe them. That is until within days of using the lotion, my face was clear! I wish I would have taken a picture of my face before and after. There is a HUGE difference! I will for sure be buying this lotion from now on.

Buy It!

Head on over to the Skin MD and order a bottle for yourself. I know I'll be buying another bottle as soon as mine is gone.

Win It!

Skin MD has generously offered to send a 4 oz. bottle of Skin MD Shielding Lotion to one of my readers.

Mandatory Entry:

Go check out Skin MD Natural and then come back and tell me in a comment something new you learned. Make sure you leave your e-mail address in your comment if it is not visible on your profile.

Extra Entry:

Follow me on google friend connect and leave a comment saying you are.

That's It!

Making it easy for both you and I! Winner will be chosen at random from
Contest ends Friday, February 12, 2010 at noon CST!


#6-Charity! You are the winner and have been contacted! Enjoy! :)

*The featured product(s) in this post were provided to me free of charge by the manufacturer or pr company representing the company. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by anyone.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: There's A Mouse In The House






*Note: I do realize this isn't exactly wordless, but it is adorable!