Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tiny Feet

This week's photo challenge was all about focus. Since I'm in the process of re-learning and growing again in my photography, this is a good one for me. I took a few minutes before naptime today to work on my focus and I loved this shot I got of Xiomara's little feet. I want to remember every little wrinkle and curve of her feet and I think the focus in this shot does a great job with that!

Quick question for photographers, does the lens you use determine how sharp your focus is? I am using a 18-70 lens right now, and I think that is just the stock lens on the camera. I am really wanting to buy a 50mm and am wondering if that will bring in the focus a bit more?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Natural Makeup Recommendations

I took this picture tonight on my cell phone of my makeup stash. Yeah I realize it's not much. I'm ok with that. When I do wear make-up, I put on my Skin MD moisturizer, then I wear my Estee Lauder Foundation, and just put on some Maybelline eye shadow. I finish with a light line of eye liner and some mascara. Right now, I am completely running low on my foundation. I keep meaning to buy more, but I'm holding off because I really am thinking of buying some natural makeup. I just don't know where to start or what to buy. So, I'm coming to ask those of you who use natural makeup:

*What natural moisturizer do you use?
*What natural foundation do you use?
*Which natural eye shadow do you use?
*Eye liner?

Any tips you can give me, I would appreciate them.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Top 10 Items I Have Reviewed

I've mentioned before that I LOVE to research! I research everything from vaccines, to the best bottles for breastfeeding, to safe cleaning products. While I'll often look on message boards, or for opinions, I tend to gravitate towards blogs as I feel like I can get an honest impression from the mom reviewing the item.

When I am asked to review an item from a company, I put a lot of time, energy, and effort to review the item. I also strive to be completely honest in my posts as I know there are other moms like me who love to research and will google and find my post. I know I have definitely bought items before because of a blog review.

Thus I wanted to do an update of sorts on my top 10 items (in no particular order) that I have reviewed that we still love and use regularily.

1.  Rockin' Green-I use this everytime I go to wash my cloth diapers. It truly works. No stink, no smell, no build up. I love it and highly recommend it!

2. 4moms Cleanwater Infant Tub-I actually can say I'm a bit surprised that I love this tub this much. I'm a bit of a minimalist so to have an extra infant tub around is normally not my style. However, with it's awesome features and Xiomara still being too tiny for the big tub, this is perfect!

3. Little Pim & Boca Beth-I cheated a bit and combined these two (sorry). They are too fantastic not to include them both. The girls not only love them, but also have picked up on so much Spanish using a combination of these. This is a must have staple in our house and works right into our preschool homeschool.

4. Kolcraft Jeep Wrangler Double Stroller-This is perhaps one my favorite items that I have reviewed. The fact that this folds up small enough to easily travel is what has sold me completely on this double stroller. We have taken it many places and it is still in great condition! If you have twins, or two close in age and need a light double umbrella stroller, this stroller is definitely it!

5. DevaCurl-While I vacillate between going completely "poo free" and using DevaCurl's No-Poo, I always come back to DevaCurl. Plus the AnGel is still the absolute best gel ever for not only my hair, but also my two curly headed girls. If you have even a slight curl to your hair, and are wanting to work with your curl, I suggest looking into DevaCurl.

6. Gro Egg-If you would have told me a year ago that this item would be on my top 10 list, I never would have believed you. It seems too simple, yet it works great. Each day at both naptime and bedtime, I only need to look at the girl's egg to see if the room needs adjusting. It has been a huge help in controlling any issues with heating/cooling!

7. Good Nite Lite-By far this is a favorite at our house! Yes it may look a little silly, but this Sun/Moon works. Each night when we tuck the girls into bed we remind them that when the sun is up in the morning they can get up. Without fail, each morning within a minute of the sun turning on, we hear Zoelle's little feet making her way downstairs to us. I love this thing!

8. Aden & Anais Dream Blanket-Before I received this blanket, I knew I was in love with the Aden & Anais swaddle blankets. What I didn't realize is that we would love this blanket so much that we would buy two more so that way both Meridian and Xiomara could have one too! Yep, it's that great!

9. Boogie Wipes-I use these weekly, if not daily! I love, love, love them. I keep some in the diaper bag, my room, the girl's room. I tell friends about them and shh....I use them on myself. This past week, all three of the girls have had terrible colds and I am constantly wiping their noses. Wiping goes much better with a Boogie Wipe!

10. SkinMd Lotion-This is still the only lotion I have ever used on my face that has kept my face feeling and looking hydrated. Plus it has been gentle enough on my sensitive skin not to make it break out. Definitely a plus in my book.

So there you have it! My top 10 items that I have reviewed! I hope it's been helpful to know that items that I reviewed a year ago are still getting much use here and that they work!

Speaking of reviews, I know I have been quiet lately. As I mentioned above, writing a review is a lot of work. From communicating with companies, to testing the product, to posting the review. I felt like my blog and time was being consumed by it (something that I did not want). So I took a little break for awhile. Don't worry though, they are coming back, so stay tuned as I have some great reviews and giveaways to come!

Disclaimer: Besides the initial product (s) given to me for review, I was not given any compensation. I just wanted to write an update on the products I still love and use daily!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Faces of Zoelle

This week's inspiration is photographing kids outside. While it was an absolutely gorgeous week here and we did get outside to play, I did not personally take any pictures. So instead, I want to share a few that I took of Zoelle this week.

Here she is playing the serious model look.

Here she is getting a little silly.

Finally, she goes back to serious, almost to the point of looking sad (don't worry though, she wasn't sad, she was just playing it up for the camera).

I've been shooting completely in manual this week and slowly figuring out my photoshop. I am having a blast! Now a question for the photographers, how do you reign yourselves in from buying lots of fun things for your photography hobby?

Friday, February 18, 2011

I'm An Ugly Mom

Yep, it's true. It may not be on the outside, but I am was definitely today on the inside.

It all started out this morning when I overslept a bit and Chris came in to wake me up so he could go to work. Groan. I knew I shouldn't have skipped my shower last night because now I had to try and take it and watch three girls somehow. First I had to put Xiomara down for her morning nap, feed myself breakfast, make the bed, get the laundry ready to start as soon as I got out of the shower. By the time I was ready to shower, I was a crab and half my day was gone. Then I still had to get lunch for the girls, myself, and get them down for naps on time. Not to mention when naps were done we had to do school. Sigh...I could feel myself getting worked up, crabby, and stressed with all I had to do.

At lunchtime, I sent a tweet about how I was ready for naptime. And I meant it! I was! But looking back, I'm sure my girls were ready too. They knew mama was crabby. It was no fun for them to hear me yell and be short with them. They also didn't deserve it. Oh sure, there may have been some direct disobedience, but I was the one who threw the whole day off and set the tone for them.

I tell you this for two reasons. 1. I'm not perfect, even if I seem like I am. I have my off days. Days in which I am a less than perfect mom! 2. I could have handled this day so much differently.  Even if I still would have slept in, I could have gotten out of bed and gave my worries and stress to God, and then went on to have a fun day.

In the end, the laundry still got done, the house stayed clean, I did get my shower, and school was completed. But it was with an ugly mom and I'm quite positive life would have been a lot smoother and happier with a pretty mom. One with a lot prettier attitude. I only hope that I've learned and that next time, when life doesn't go perfectly as planned, I can stop and choose the right attitude. So I can look back each day, and the girls can look back each day and say "Wow, mom sure was pretty today!" and mean that for both the outside and inside.

Have you ever had an off day? What did you do to make it better, or maybe even worse?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Little Love Bug

So I meant to get this up WAY earlier, but I had a busy day and didn't get it up until now. Hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day. Although we don't need a day to celebrate, as we should be celebrating our love for each other all year long, it still is a special day to celebrate the beauty of love. Whether or not that love be love for a spouse, your children, niece/nephews, friends, or other family. I hope you were able to focus on that love today and to know more than anything that you have a Heavenly Father who loves you with an everlasting love any day of the year.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Feeding Frenzy

This week I've been learning all about lighting while taking pictures. I love what I'm learning and definitely plan on shooting as much with natural light as I can.

Today I got to put my learning into practice when we took the girls to feed the ducks. It was a gorgeous day here. The sun was shining, it was actually quite warm for this time of year, and we got to go outside!! All a HUGE treat for not only me, but also the girls. I shot this picture of Meridian and I am in love. I love her little hat that I forever want to remember. I love how the sun is on the right side of her body casting a gorgeous glow on her. I love the ducks and swans in the background, whom Meridian is so intently feeding and looking at.

Needless to say, I love this picture! By the way, did you notice I am learning how to use my photoshop? I am pretty proud of myself as I have an official watermark for my pictures now. More learning to come. Lots of it. But this slow, small start has been wonderful and I can feel my passion kicking back in full force!

Friday, February 11, 2011

She Dances

On the days she cries,

all we have to do is turn on the music

and she'll dance.

Music is therapy to her.

Her chubby little toddler feet move

and a smile once again appears on her face.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I'm bored with Christianity.

There I said it. Phew.

Now before you go gasping and tsk, tsking, re-read my sentence.

I'm bored with Christianity. Not God.

First let me backtrack a bit. Last night, Chris and I went on a date. It was amazing. I love that man and I love how God has created marriage. We talked about where we are at in life and we dreamt of what God has for us.

I shared with Chris, like I have before that I wonder if this is all God has for me?? I mean to live in the same small town I grew up in? Just being comfortable in our home, raising our three girls? Listening to the same Christian songs? Talking to the same people? I just can't help but wonder if God has more for me, for us?

Sometimes I dream of what God has for us. Is it to stay here living our same life? Is it to give of our selves more, our finances more? Is it to move and be involved in missions?

We didn't come to any decisions, but it was a blast to dream, talk, and pray about it and know that God will continue to guide us and our hearts. We did come to one conclusion: God doesn't want us to be comfortable anymore. Even if it may be scary, we know He wants us to step out of our comfortable Christian world and step out in faith for Him.

*Pictures in this post were from my two missions trips to Brazil & Venezuela 10 and 11 years ago.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

7 Month Smiles

This little girl turns 7 months old tomorrow. Where oh where did the time go again?!?

In celebration of her turning 7 months, and because I had time, and because my theme to work on photography this week is smiles, and mostly because she smiles like this non stop....I took over a dozen pictures of her smiling and this was my favorite!

It just puts a huge smile on my face.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Left, Right, Whatever...

I said I'd never do it. Yet here I am writing on a public blog about it. I may be criticized, I may be unliked for it, but I feel that I cannot stay silent.

"We cannot withold facts for fear of offending, because the importance of the information outweighs people's rights not to be challenged in their beliefs" -Maddy Reid

So what is it??

It is politics.

I once was a staunch Republican. I say once because during the 2008 election I was completely turned off. The Republicans who thought they were right in their beliefs were rude, disrespectful, and often down right slanderous in how they talked about the Democrats.

It may come as a surpise to you though, that just because I once was a Republican, does not mean that I am now a staunch Democrat. No, those Democrats who thought they were right in their beliefs were rude, disrespectful, and often down right slanderous in how they talked about Republicans.

Sad. But not unexpected either. I mean, after all, we are talking about politics here people.

What gets me is when Christians on either side of the battle show disrespect. Right now, because President Obama is in office, I am seeing and hearing comments from the Christian Republicans, be it on Facebook or in real life. On the night of the State of the Union Address, my Facebook feed was filled with negative comments and criticisms of President Obama. It's one thing to disagree with him or his policies, but it totally goes beyond that when you disrespect him. God knew that Obama would be in office. That is no mistake on His part and I'm quite positive Christ would want us to show love and pray, not criticize our president, no matter who it is.

I also want both sides of the story. If you are going to post negatives on Obama, please also post the positives too. Like this article in which Obama talks about His faith. Now I know some of you are scoffing and disagreeing with that article, but I cannot judge Obama. That is not my job as a believer, but God's. It will be interesting to see if my Facebook feed is filled tonight with re-posting of this article. My guess is not. And that makes me sad. As Christians who claim to be Republicans, are you truly representing Christ in your talk and beliefs? Or are you just judging and criticizing that whom God has placed in charge? Same goes for those of you who are Christian Democrats. Ask yourself those same questions and truthfully answer them. I had to do so myself a few years ago, and I didn't like what I found.

I'm not sure where I stand anymore. Politics are messy. Dirty. And everyone does poop. On each other, on their own party.

It's ugly. I'm already dreading the 2012 elections. On both sides. I think from here on out, I plan on looking at the candidate, not the party. I also plan on viewing politics through an unbiased approach. Most of all though, I trust that God has it in His control, no matter which party is in office.

What are your thoughts on politics? Christianity and politics-can they co-exsist? How do you choose your canidate?

*Politcal Image by Freed223 on Photobucket