Friday, April 29, 2011

She dreams...

And I smile...

As I listen to her describe in great detail how one day she is going to have two white babies and two brown babies.

And I smile...

As she tells me she will move with her husband and babies into this home (but that daddy needs to build another room on for them).

And I smile...

As she tell me of her desire to become a midwife one day.

But most of all I listen as she tells me the dreams that God has whispered onto her heart. Because really, all this little blonde, curly haired, blue eyed girl needs is someone to encourage her with a smile and a prayer because her dreams are important to her. Thus they become important to me.

She dreams..and I smile, but most of all I listen. Because I wholeheartedly love her.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How To Be God's Little Princess {Book Review}

I typically am not a princess type mom with my girls, but when I saw the book How To Be God's Little Prinecss by Sheila Walsh, I figured this was something that I could encourage in my girls.

I was under the impression that this book was for a younger age than it is. I would say the ideal age of this book would be 8 on up to pre-teen. However, I do think it lays some good ground work on manners, being respectful, being helpful towards others, and even a fun one of how to make the perfect pink cookie. We are reading this to Zoelle and while she doesn't understand it all, I do think she is listening and perhaps internalizing some of it for the future. I plan to keep it in our collection of books and when she is older allow her to read it again.

If you have a pre-teen or older child who loves all things princess and you want to encourage her in a Godly way, I do believe this is the book for you.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from I was not obligated to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter 2011 {In Pictures}

I don't consider myself a big holiday type of person. I really only decorate my house for Christmas and even that is pretty minimal. While I love Christmas for the warm, cozy, magical feeling surrounding it, I adore Easter for the tradition in it.

We start out each Easter dyeing eggs. This tradition has become somewhat of a "let's get this over with" type of thing because the kids are into everything. However this year with Zoelle being a year older, I felt it went smoothly. Unfortunately Xiomara slept through the whole thing, so it was just the bigger girls. They loved it and outside of Meridian trying to dump the water out, eat the egg, color everything; it went great! :)

The other highlight is hunting for Easter eggs! This is the first year Zoelle truly was into it and it was fun to see her chase around looking for an egg with a surprise in it. Even Meridian got in on the excitement.

Do you celebrate Easter? Also, how do you dye your Easter eggs? I love the bright colors of the kits, but not the chemicals in it so I'm looking for ideas for next year!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Go Green-Cloth Diaper! {Happy Earth Day}

Today is Earth Day and in celebration of that, I am doing my first ever post on cloth diapering! I've mentioned it a time or two in a post, but I've never outright devoted a whole post to cloth diapers.

As I mentioned in my blog party post, I never dreamed I would cloth diaper my girls. During my pregnancy with Zoelle, my sister talked about cloth diapering quite a bit and asked if I had ever considered using them on my unborn baby. I think at that point I really thought she was a hippie and had gone all out! Cloth diapers? way! There was a reason someone brilliant created disposables and I intended to use them! She even gave me an article on how disposables could possibly harm reproductivity for the child in the future, but I ignored her. Fast forward seven months and my precious little baby girl Zoelle was having blowout diapers on every diaper!! I was absolutely sick of changing not only a diaper, but her clothes as well. I had several friends online who cloth diapered and really encouraged me to give them a try. At this point, I was becoming more open to the idea so I hesitantly approached Chris. I'm not going to lie, he was not thrilled but gave me the ok as long as I didn't spend a ton of money.

Zoelle at 8 months in a Goodmama

If I remember correctly, I started out with a few sample packs of several different types of cloth diapers. I have tried pockets, AIO's, prefolds, fitteds, and one hybrid diaper. I quickly learned that cloth diapering can be addictive. Yes you read that correctly. Until you've ever tried it I don't think you'll believe me, but it is so much fun to try all these different types of diapers and the most beautiful designs as well. Don't even get me started on wool! I've always said that if I could, I would cloth diaper exclusively with fitteds and wool.

My cloth diaper stash then (and I actually don't think this was all of it)!

For us, we chose to stick with mainly AIO's. We have a dozen Bum Genius Organic Diapers. I bought those for Zoelle and almost 3 years later, they are still holding up quite well. For Xiomara, I have a dozen Bum Genius All-in-Ones. I don't use the organics on Xiomara because she is so tiny and I like the fit of the regular all-in-one better on her. When I first started out cloth diapering, Goodmama Fitteds were the rage and I got pretty sucked in. At one point I had probably at least 2 dozen Goodmamas. Now I have paired my stash of Goodmamas down to about a dozen. We mainly use those in the summer, coverless under dresses. I do have a few random pocket diapers, and a Bum Genius Flip.

While I originally started out cloth diapering because I was sick of disposables, it quickly changed for me to a variety of reasons. One of the main reasons was I was disgusted with how much of our trash was diapers. I cannot even begin to imagine the amount of trash we would make now with two in diapers had I not been cloth diapering today. I really feel as a Christian that part of my job is to honor the beauty of what God has given us here on Earth. With cloth diapering, I feel like I am taking a small step to do that.

How do you "go green"? Do you celebrate Earth Day in a special way?

*Tips on cloth diapering to come in a future post!*

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

One Month

To my bigger girls,

Today and yesterday marked one month left of you two being just three and one. I can hardly believe it! Your dad and I were just talking that in so many ways it seems like we were just in the hospital yesterday giving birth to each of you.

That is how fast time goes.

So with one month left until your birthday girls, I plan on capturing each moment with my three year old Zoelle and my one year old Meridian.

Let's make some memories to last a lifetime this month, ok girls? Because before I know it, you will be two and four!

Monday, April 18, 2011

It's A Party! A Blog Party!!

What better way to start a Monday than with a party! I'm attending a blog party hosted by The Peaceful Houswife! I've heard about blog parties over the years, but this is the very first time I am officially joining one. And I'm pretty excited about it (a little nervous too if I'm honest).

Seriously though, one learns so much from reading. If it wasn't for reading other blogs I would not know about half of how I parent today. I've formed some amazing friendships and I'm really hoping that by being part of this blog party I can gain more friends and learn a little along the way! :)

While you are here don't forget to check out my giveaway for Mommy Bootcamp. Currently there are no entrants and it ends this Friday. From what I know of Sarah, I know this will be a natural parenting approach to discipline.

Ok, now without further adieu, here is a bit more about me in question and answer form:

1. How many children do you have, and how old are they?

I have three little girls. Zoelle is 3, Meridian is 1, and Xiomara is 9 months.

2. Do you have a partner, or are you a single parent?

Chris is my partner going on 8 years this summer! I could not do parenting without him! He is a perfect balance to me.

3. What are your “hot button” parenting issues?

I'm pretty passionate about car seat safety. Specifically extended rear facing. I also am a big breastfeeding advocate (i.e. extended breastfeeding). I'm not sure if it's a hot button issue or not, but as an adoptive mama, I am a pretty big adoption advocate.

4. Have you made any parenting choices that you didn’t think you would make before you were a parent, i.e. cloth diapering a child when you had previously thought it was disgusting?

The big one for me is definitely cloth diapering. In fact, my sister specifically asked me when I was pregnant with Zoelle if I had ever thought of cloth diapering and I told her gross and no way! Ha! 7 months later, I was cloth diapering. I would also say I never thought I would tandem nurse, or let my children self wean. I didn't think it was wrong for others to do so, I just never thought I would be that mom.

5. Is there one book or person in particular that’s heavily influenced your parenting choices?

Yes! Love and Logic Parenting completely opened my eyes to a different way of parenting that I had ever been exposed to. I would also say that Stephanie at Metropolitan Mama's post on 7 Reasons We Don't Spank was the best article I have ever read on spanking. And she did it all in a non-confrontational, or "I'm better than you" tone.

6. If you had to describe each of your children using only one word, what word would you use?

Zoelle: Spirited
Meridian: Mischievious
Xiomara: Happy

7. Is there one parenting decision that you regret more than others and wish you could change?

Unfortunately, yes. :( After Meridian was born I treated Zoelle as if she was much older than the barely two year old she was. Since she could communicate VERY well, I often treated her like a three or four year old. This put WAY too much expectation on her and she often got in trouble for things she should not have. I would give anything to go back and change how I treated her. Since I can't go back though, I chose to apologize to her, and move on.

8. Is there an area of your parenting you wish you were better at?

Zoelle and I tend to be VERY similar so we often butt heads. I wish I had more patience and didn't sometimes raise my voice with her. I'm working really hard to stop that.

9. Now for the fun questions – is there one particular food or type of food that you could eat every day?

Yes! I would say Annie's Cheddar Bunnies, or any breads.

10. Vanilla ice cream or chocolate?

I don't really like ice cream (gasp)! If I had to choose though, I would pick chocolate as long as it was melted as I like melted chocolate ice cream (weird I know)! Or is Vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce an option?!? :)

11. What’s your guilty pleasure?

Reading! I love it!!

12. If you could be part of any television show, which show would it be?

Because it looks kind of silly and fun, The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. But as hubby reminds me, being that I am not single or that I don't drink, it probably wouldn't be silly or fun! ;) If I cooked more, I think Hell's Kitchen would be amazing to be on. So I think my final pick would be Ellen as I think she is absolutely hilarious and she gives some pretty awesome gifts to those who go on her show! And I don't know about you, but I love gifts! :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Hapari Swimwear Giveaway! {Closed}

I need a little bit of summer in my life! With the threat of snow over the next few days of up to 4 inches, I had to have a bit of summer now to give me hope for the coming days.

For me summer means countless hours outside and in a swimsuit. When I wear a swimsuit I want to look good! Thus enter Hapari and their women's swimwear. I've looked and looked over the years for swimwear that is both modest and still stylish, and I have yet to find anything as cute as Hapari.

I'm quite certain that my days in a bikini are over with, so a tankini it is! Although Hapari does also sell bikinis, I have to work my body back that way so I can wear one of their adorable bikinis.

Win it!

Hapari has generously offered one of my readers a $96 giftcard to use on the swimwear of their choice.

Mandatory Entry:

First follow me via Google Friend Connect (must be a public follower). Next you must create a blog post, tweet, or facebook status with one of the links below:

Then come back and leave a comment with a link to your post. 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. You may receive two additional entries by doing 2 additional links to the Hapari Links. Once on Facebook and once on Twitter. Come back and post your link (s) below. (2 entries)

2. Subscribe via e-mail to my blog. (2 entries)

3. Follow me on Twitter and leave a comment telling me you are along with your Twitter ID. (1 entry)

4. Follow Hapari on Twitter and leave a comment telling me you are along with your Twitter ID. (1 entry)

5. Tweet the following Tweet then come back and leave me the link to your tweet (1 tweet/entry per day):

#win an @hapari swimsuit from @jewelsntreasure
  #giveaway #summer

6. Become a fan/like of Jewels & Treasures on facebook and leave me a comment telling me you are along with your first name and last initial. (1 entry)

7. Become a fan/like of Hapari on facebook and leave me a comment telling me you are along with your first name and last initial. (1 entry)

8. Grab my blog button and post it on your blog and leave me a link letting me know where it is at. (3 entries)

9. Follow me via Networked Blogs. (1 entry)
That's It!
Winner will be chosen at random from Winner has 48 hours from being contacted to respond, or else a new winner will be chosen.

Contest ends Friday, April 29, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. CST

Congrats to Carrie, comment #22!! Hope you get tons of use our of whatever swimsuit you choose! :)

*Hapari is providing me with a giftcard for hosting this giveaway.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I love her {On being an auntie}

Sigh....I love this little girl. Seriously. Outside of my three girls, this girl has captured my heart. For those new around here, she is my niece India. She was born on the exact same day that we adopted Xiomara. I cried buckets of tears over not being able to see her right away. My only sliver of relief was the thought of knowing I had a whole lifetime with her. So as the completely enamored auntie, let me tell you a bit about her.

She is funny! She definitely has quite a bit of her mommy in her funny little personality. I've been able to watch her the last two afternoons while my sister worked, and I could not stop laughing. It reminds me of being with my own sister. :)

She is smart! India doesn't want to miss a thing. Every little noise or movement made, she would get this adorable look on her face as if to figure out what exactly was going on.

She has to be the easiest baby I have ever watched! And I've watched a lot. While she is VERY busy and moves non-stop, she never cries. She always has a smile on her face and she is easily entertained. Oh, and did I mention she is beautiful?

India girl, I love you! I hope you always know how much your Auntie Nessa loves you and would do anything for you. I can't wait to see the amazing things God is going to do in your life because you truly are an incredible little girl.

Monday, April 11, 2011

A sweet weekend

This weekend:

*The snow finally melted
*We cleaned up our yard in preparation for summer
*We played on our swingset
*We went on a walk to the park
*We drove around looking for our dream house
*We had lots of time to talk while driving
*It rained
*So we rented Tangled, popped popcorn, and had a family movie night.

It was a sweet weekend. One that I will cherish forever.

What did you do this past weekend?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Mommy Bootcamp Giveaway {Closed}

Summer is almost here and for some of you, that brings a bit of fear over what you will do with your children without the structure of school. Or perhaps you just have young children and you feel overwhelmed with how to get them to obey you in your day to day life.

You are at the end of your rope and are looking for help. If this is you, let me introduce to you my friend Sarah who has created a new six week program called Mommy Bootcamp.

In six weeks, she will help you turn your household into a calm, organized, and happy place. Starting April 25th Sarah is offering a live webinar, followed up with question and answers, and a workbook time. Sarah's heart is to help young moms as she has been there herself and knows what you are going through.

Her goal: "I want all moms to have a calm and happy household and all kids to have parents who are crazy about them, not crazy because of them!"

Buy It!

If you know you are stressed and need help when it comes to your kids, make sure you head over to Sarah's Website and buy her Mommy Bootcamp! I guarantee it will be well worth the investment for not only your kids, but also for you! By using the code JEWELS you can receive $99 off. The coupon is valid until Friday night at midnight. If you wanted to sign up and you end up winning, Sarah will refund your money.

Win It!

Sarah has generously offered one of my readers a chance to win a free spot in Mommy Bootcamp.

Mandatory Entry:

Follow me via Google Friend Connect (must be a public follower) and visit Sarah's Mommy Bootcamp and tell me why you think you need this. 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. Subscribe via e-mail to my blog. (2 entries)

2. Follow me on Twitter and leave a comment telling me you are along with your Twitter ID. (1 entry)

3. Follow Sarah on Twitter and leave a comment telling me you are along with your Twitter ID. (1 entry)

4. Tweet the following Tweet then come back and leave me the link to your tweet (1 tweet/entry per day):

#win an #parenting class from @jewelsntreasure @srthacker

5. Become a fan/like of Jewels & Treasures on facebook and leave me a comment telling me you are along with your first name and last initial. (1 entry)

6. Become a fan/like of Sarah on facebook and leave me a comment telling me you are along with your first name and last initial. (1 entry)

7. Grab my blog button and post it on your blog and leave me a link letting me know where it is at. (3 entries)

8. Follow me via Networked Blogs. (1 entry)

That's It!

Winner will be chosen at random from Winner has 48 hours from being contacted to respond, or else a new winner will be chosen.

Contest ends Friday, April 22, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. CST

Congrats to #1: Rhyan-Hope it helps you immensely in this next step of your life! :)

*I received no compensation for this post. I am promoting it because I know Sarah and believe that what she teaches is something we all (including myself) could use!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

5 Tips For Tandem Breastfeeding Or Breastfeeding While Pregnant

I promised you all I would follow up with a post on my tips and advice on Tandem Breastfeeding. Some of the biggest questions I get asked about are questions on breastfeeding while pregnant and breastfeeding two children. These few tips hopefully cover answers to my most frequently asked questions.

Tip #1: If you find yourself pregnant, and wanting to not only breastfeed through that pregnancy, but to also tandem nurse when the new baby is born, go buy Adventures in Tandem Breastfeeding. Now!! Everything you ever wanted to know about breastfeeding while pregnant and breastfeeding while tandem nursing, is in this book. I highly recommend it!

Tip #2: In the beginning, feed your newborn first, and then your toddler. This is to ensure they are getting enough at the breast. However, also make sure they are getting enough of the hindmilk that is the good fat content at the end of a breast feeding session. For me, this has involved letting Xiomara nurse first, then Meridian, and then letting Xiomara drain my breasts one more time to make sure she has gotten the fatty milk.

Tip #3: Use your toddler to help with engorgement. If they are willing, offer the breast when you become engorged. If you are anything like me and hate pumping, this will be a life saver. I tend to get very engorged when my milk comes in and I remember after Meridian was born having Zoelle nursing still was the best thing ever. No engorgement!

Tip #4: Don't be afraid to set up rules. This applies to both nursing in a pregnancy and tandem nursing. There were times in my pregnancy with Meridian, that Zoelle while nursing would literally just make my skin crawl. I hated having her nurse because my nipples would burn. This stage didn't last long, but during that time I would set up limits for her to only nurse for so long, or sometimes I would tell her no. It is also perfectly fine to set limits and say no at times to tandem nursing. Just make sure you do so in a loving, gentle way. For example, lately Meridian is wanting to nurse everytime we go somewhere. She loudly will declare "I want to nurse!", while shoving her hand down the front of my shirt. I have lovingly reminded her that mama has made the rule that we only nurse at home unless we are gone for the whole day. The other new thing that Meridian has been doing lately is screaming "I just want to nurse other side!" after just being on the other side, and the other side, etc. We could go all day doing this, so I set a limit and tell her we nurse for just a minute and then mama is done until before bed, after nap, etc. It has greatly helped keep me enjoying tandem nursing to set some limits.

Tip #5: Take good care of yourself. As mamas it is so easy to push aside our needs in lieu of taking care of our children. There is nothing wrong with that, but you also need to be taking good care of yourself. Drink LOTS of water, eat right, and take a break one night every week or fews weeks to do something by yourself, for yourself. A great guide to eating properly can be found in the book Eat Well, Lose Weight, While Breastfeeding: The Complete Nutrition Book For Nursing Mothers.

So there you go. I hope I helped you even a little bit wherever you are on your journey to nursing while pregant or to tandem nursing! If you have any other questions, feel free to leave them in the comments of this post, or e-mail me if you are not comfortable with your question being seen by others.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Photoshare Saturday {Roses}

So I've always been a bit obsessed with roses. From the time I was just a little girl, I would plan and pick out my roses to plant in my garden each year.

While we were dating, Chris would get me roses each month on the day we began dating. For our wedding, my bouquet was made up of each color of rose he had ever gotten me. It was beautiful!

The other day, he surprised me with the roses pictured in this post. I don't often get roses anymore because I am too frugal and to be honest, most of the time I'd rather that money be spent somewhere else. This was a huge treat and quite the surprise. So today I focused on the beauty in a simple rose for my Photoshare Saturday post.

What is your favorite flower? Do you also have a favorite color of rose? Mine is hot pink.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Regret Free Parenting by Catherine Hickem {Book Review}

I don't think there is any mother out there who at some point doesn't question whether or not she is parenting the right way. Am I doing a good job? Should I discipline this way? Or discipline that way? Catherine Hickem in her book Regret Free Parenting shares seven principles in order for moms to confidently raise their children.

My very first impression with this book is based off of how this author relates to her children and them with her. Her two adult children both speak very highly of her and that in and of itself is impressive.

One of the greatest things she talks about is becoming intentional in our parenting. If we fail to do so, we fail to have our children arrive where our hearts truly desired. Then we become filled with regret, doubt, and self-condemnation, all things God never intended us to live with.

This book for me can be summed up in one sentence. It's this sentence in her book that caused me to stop, pause, spend a lot of time in prayer, and then change the way I was parenting. The sentence is this:

"No one, and I mean no one, has the power you do."

Ouch, yet so, so, very true. This book is a great reminder for all of us moms to become intentional parents today.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from  I was not obligated to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.