Tuesday, August 30, 2011

MamaRoo Bouncer Review

It was over a year ago that I reviewed  an item from ThinkGeek. I still use that item each and everyday and as geeky as it may seem, my girls talk about their moon/sun each night before bed! Thus when I was looking into trying out the MamaRoo Bouncer by 4moms I knew exactly where to go to be able to try it.

First thing I noticed when I received it is how easily it was packaged into the box it came in. In fact, so easy that you can save the box and pack it back in when your little one grows out of it.

Secondly, it literally took my husband maybe 5 minutes to set up. Most baby items we've had have taken forever to set up and have crazy hard instructions to follow. Not the MamaRoo. It was simple and easy. Once set up, I was surprised to see it took up much less space than I originally thought it would. Much smaller than the swing we had.

I could go on and on about all the features I love about this swing, but rather than writing it all out, I decided to do a quick video review. Just ignore the fact that my porch floor is dirty and that my kids are crazy, ok? ;)

Buy It!

If you have been thinking about purchasing a MamaRoo Bouncer for yourself or for someone you know who is expecting, make sure you check out ThinkGeek and while you're there check out all the other fun items they have!

*The featured product(s) in this post were provided for me by the company. I was not compensated in any way. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by anyone.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Weekend Pinterest Challenge

I heart pinterest. I could literally spend hours perusing on there. I often pin different projects for myself to do, or especially things I want to do with my kids. However, until yesterday I did not actually do any of those projects. Instead I would pin all these fun projects or ideas and then say to myself that maybe someday I would do them.

That is until Sarah from Emerging Mummy put up the Pinterest challenge which is to pick one thing from your pinterest board and actually complete it. Having that challenge put before me made me have to do it, so I did!

On Saturday, Chris and I spent almost the entire day doing a bedroom makeover. We have been married for 8 years and still had the same $30 clearance bedding set from Target. Two years ago as a black Friday special, we bought another $30 bedding set, this one from Walmart. The problem is that they were about as opposite as you could possibly be, thus requiring us to re-paint and re-do our bedroom. This kept us busy pretty much the whole day and our girls were left on their own to watch movies or play with toys.

Thus at the end of the day, I wanted to make it special for them. So I picked one item from my pinterest board that I have been wanting to do and we did it! We made Sidewalk Paint! My girls absolutely loved it! It was quick, easy, and I had everything on hand in order to do it. I wish I would have taken a picture today of the final product, but let me tell you it showed up much better when dried than these pictures show.

I'm definitely hoping Sarah keeps up doing the Pinterest Challenge because I plan on making this a weekend thing from now on.

How about you-are you on pinterest? If you are, do you ever do any of the projects you pin?

Friday, August 26, 2011

I have my own domain!

Some of you have noticed and told me, others of you probably had no idea, but early this week I decided to buy my own domain instead of being hosted on blogspot. So now I am officially I know my blog name is Jewels & Treasures but that is already taken and I decided to streamline it to jewelsntreasures as that is my Twitter and E-mail so it is all easier to remember.

Part of this reason for purchasing my own domain is that I have had so many issues with blogger and eventually I believe I will switch to wordpress. Another reason is that I want to own my own content and make sure my name is saved in the internet world. I have a few things to switch over here and there on my blog, but probably nothing too noticeable.

So enjoy and have a happy Friday! :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: My breakfast today...mmm!

*Yes I will share the recipe with you, but only if you don't judge me for having pie for breakfast! ;)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Vacation in Paradise

Last week we snuck away for three days to go camping in paradise. Literally. This is our third time camping there. The first time we went was before we had kids and we camped with some friends of ours. The entire weekend was spent in the water on a floaty visiting. It was glorious.

The girls "helping" dad get set up!

Thus a few years later with Zoelle just over a year old, we decided to go back. Of course, camping with a child was a bit different than we figured, but it was fun nonetheless. The last two years we have been unable to go back as we had a newborn each summer. Thus when the opportunity arose to go this year, we jumped at it.

Hanging out in the camper.

If you remember correctly, we sold our camper last year and I have been praying that God would provide us with another one. Well one day while my dad and husband were hanging out, they decided to go look at campers and found one almost identical to the one we sold. Thus with 13 kids (11 still at home), my dad decided to buy it and gave us permission to use it when we want. This daughter was pretty happy about that! :)

Pure joy!

But back to paradise. It was by far one of the best trips we have taken as a family of 5. It included: taking walks, playing at the park, campfires late at night with my husband, watching movies, reading books, swimming in sugar sand beaches, taking naps, trips to "town" for supplies we forgot, visiting a local ice cream/candy shop, singing "Knee Deep" by the Zac Brown Band, hearing Zoelle exclaim, "I love this, I love this SO much!", and much more.

Sliding down the big slide!

I came back refreshed, renewed, and ready to go back to Paradise. ;) But that will have to wait until next year....

I love everything about this picture! :)

Do you go on vacation every year? If so, do you go to the same spot or a new one?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

In which there are still miracles today!

I'm blogging over at our adoption blog today about the miracle that God did in our adoption. Let me post the same disclaimer here, that I posted there:

Let me start by saying that I realize that I have all sorts of people who read this blog, through all different lifestyles and all different beliefs. To some of you, this post may really touch your hearts...and to others, this will be crazy. However, I have a story to tell so that you, my readers, know that God still does miracles today.


So please, come on over and rejoice with me today as the impossible has become possible.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

5 Reasons To Invest In Your Local CSA

Today is Tuesday and in our house Tuesday's are an important and fun day! Each Tuesday we get all ready and head out to pick up our local CSA. What is a CSA you ask? CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. This means that our family actually "owns" a part of a local farm and gets the produce from that farm each week.

Each week we get a box full of this (or variation of this).

Not to mention that we also can attend local harvest events. This is how we got our sweet corn that we recently froze.

Looks amazing right? Oh believe me, it is! So today, I wanted to share with you 5 reasons why you should invest in your local CSA.

1. It forces you to eat your veggies! I'm a bit ashamed to admit this, but if it weren't for the CSA each week, I would not be eating nearly as many vegetables. I love fruits, but will readily admit that it is a bit harder for me to eat veggies. This has really helped me as I paid for it, and I am not one to let my food go to waste. Another plus is that my girls have fallen in love all over again with vegetables. Seeing mom and dad eat them daily makes them want to eat them daily. Win win!

2. It forces you to try different veggies you otherwise would not have eaten. This one is for my husband. He is pretty picky. Yet again, he put his hard earned money toward it and he will not let it go to waste. Thus, we have both tried many vegetables that we normally would not have (kohlrabi, beets, radishes) and we have found that we actually like some (although my husband still hates beets). ;)

3. You are supporting a local farm instead of a nationwide grocer. Since my husband owns two businesses and we value the support of people doing their business locally, I know how important it is to do the same for others.

4. You are getting fresh organic produce and you know exactly what has been used on it! Pretty sure this one explains itself. Buying a share of a CSA guarantees that you will have fresh, organic (if you are buying from a farm that is organic like we are) produce. So often at a grocery store you don't know what kind of chemicals have been used on your produce, or if that broccoli has been sitting out for days. Buying a CSA provides you with the assurance that you can ask any questions to your local farmer about the chemicals (or lack thereof) used on the vegetables.

5. No room for a big garden-no problem! If you are like me and have limited space and time to do a big garden, consider a CSA well worth your investment! You will have a plentiful supply of fresh vegetables all spring and summer long (and even into fall) and if you take advantage of any harvest events your local farm has, you can freeze or can and have produce all winter long as well!

Overall, I have been incredibly impressed each week with our share and I will be very sad to see winter come this year as I am going to miss the variety each week. I'll definitely be looking forward to spring for more reasons than one come next year!

Do you invest in a local CSA? Or do you do your own garden?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

And she's walking!

We have a walker! On July 26, Xiomara took her very first steps! It surprised everyone else but me. To everyone else she is this small, tiny, baby still. I know better! She has been talking for sometime now, crawling like a champ since 6 months, climbing stairs, and standing up all by herself. I knew it would only be a matter of time before she took her first steps.

I'm so proud of her. Watching her walk, now practically run, toward me all proud of herself is so much fun! She is doing more walking than crawling these days.

It again reminds me of how fast time goes. It also makes me a little sad that her birthmom "J" isn't here to see it all take place. Somtimes I just stare at Xiomara and think it just isn't fair for her that her birthmom isn't with her. Then I think how it isn't fair for "J" not to see these first steps. My heart screams with the realization that she should be able to see this; to relish in this mom pride of her daughter taking her first steps.'s hard being an adoptive parent sometimes. Adoption is so beautifully messy and I love every little moment with Xiomara. But I still can't help but wish that "J" was here to enjoy it too. I suppose I will feel that way forever through every major milestone.

But for now, I'll just hold onto Xiomara a little longer and cherish her "firsts" as I know now how fast they really go. All the while I'm going to whisper in her ear to slow down just a little.

When did your little one take his/her first steps?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

To my girls-what I want you to know about love

Hi girls! Today is your dad and I's anniversary. That means that 8 years ago on this day, he and I pledged ourselves to each other forever at our wedding. It was a gorgeous day filled with tears, happiness, and love. I want to talk to you about love today. This letter has been stirring in my mind for the past year. You may not appreciate it now, but I hope as you grow older, you will.

Love is and it isn't like the movies. Oh how I wish I could tell you that every second is like a beautiful romance movie.  But I can't. Instead love is hard work, it will leave you in tears (both happy and sad), and it leaves you more vulnerable to hurt than ever in your life. But love is beautiful like the movies, in that it is a dance. Pulling you closer to your partner and then at times apart, but then back together closer than before.

Love comes at many different times in your life. If at 13 you tell me you are in love, I promise to do my best not to tell you it isn't love or that you don't know what love is. For after all, if you know what love is like at two, you know what it is like as a teenager. It might not look the same at two as it does at 13, and the love you feel at 13 is nothing like the love you feel at 30. But it is still love to you. And if it's important to you, it will be important to me.

That is the thing about love. While it may look a little different at different times in your life, or for different people, it still stays the same. It is selfless. It is giving. It is painful. It is beautiful.

As each of you grow up and journey into love, your dad and I pray that we have been a good example of what love is like in your lives. We pray that the crazy flirting, teasing, tears, and laughter, have shown you what true love is.

It isn't always perfect, but it is our love for each other, and our love for you girls.

And that is what love is.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Freezing Sweet Corn {A How To}

On Saturday, I posted to my Facebook page that I was freezing 20 dozen sweet corn. Yep, you read that right 20 dozen! 240 ears of corn! Yikes, I guess writing that down does make me realize that is a lot! Anyway, many of you had asked how I did it. So I thought I would share in a blog post the process. Unfortunately, I didn't think to grab my camera for the day, so all I have are phone pictures.

First things first, we picked the corn. We dropped the kids off at my parent's, grabbed three of my younger siblings and headed out to a local farm in which we own part of a CSA (community supported agriculture). Love our CSA and I have a blog post coming on that later!

It was lightly raining when we picked and we had to not only pick 20 dozen for us, but also 20 dozen for my family. I thought it would take forever, but was pleasantly surprised to find it went quickly and we were done in about 40 minutes. We left the field muddy, but determined to enjoy our day freezing.

About halfway through shucking the corn.

When we got back to my parents, we got to work right away shucking the corn (just ours, not my parent's). The pile of corn literally filled a whole table! But with all my siblings helping, and even Zoelle at one point, this work went quickly!

A tub full of corn anyone?

Next, we cut the corn off the cob. I wasn't thinking ahead on this part. It took awhile! We only had one electric knife and so I got that while Chris got just a plain knife. If anyone has any quick methods for cutting corn off the cob, send them my way!

Doesn't he look just thrilled?!? :)

Once it was all cut off, we moved to the actual blanching part. My recipe is adapted (just a bit) from one of my dad's relatives. My parents have used this one in the past, and it turns out great!

9 cups of corn
1 cup of water
1 Tablespoon of sugar
1 Teaspoon of salt

Bring ingredients to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Set pan into cold ice water. Do not drain. Fill bags and freeze!

Blanching the corn.

We had two pans going at all times so that way I could get more done at once. I also doubled the recipe so it could go a bit faster.

Cooling down in ice water.

All in all, it took us about 6 hours from start to finish and we got 39 bags of sweet corn that we will definitely be enjoying in the dead of winter to remind us of the sweet days of summer!

Corn all ready for winter enjoyment!

So there you have it! Thank you to my parents and siblings for their help with the corn and with my kids. Couldn't have done it without you! :)