It has been so fun seeing my hubby get so into Christmas this year. I think Arabella's excitement is contagious and he definitely caught the bug. : ) He put up all the lights inside and out. These pics don't do it justice. We are in close competition with The Griswalls.
Most of our decorations are hand me downs so they aren't perfectly matched. But to see one of Arabella's friends (who is 4) walk in with wide eyes and say "This is amazing" is enough for me.
I did fall in love with these new colors of pink, purple, blue and green for Christmas. I added some balls to the real pine wreath that was given to us by one of my dear clients. It is so wonderful to smell fresh pine when you walk in the front door.
Arabella and I made several ornaments this year. This ribbon one is one of my favorites. You take some beads and thread it through along with the flat side of the ribbon to make a tree.
I also decided we would have a Christmas tree for Arabella in her playroom made out of only handmade ornaments.
Arabella is rolling out her Salt Dough here. I brought the ingredients outside so she could make as big of a mess as she wanted. You use 1 cup salt, 1 cup flour and 1/2 water. Mix, press out then cut the shapes you want with a cookie cutter. Bake at 300 for 30 minutes.
Of course we had to add some glitter to ours. The glitter didn't stick so well, so we got some glitter glue pins and colored them some more after they cooled down.
We also cut flower petals out of the bottom of egg cartons. I then bought finger paints for Arabella to paint her petals.
Glitter added of course. Then you punch a hole in the bottom and put them on a stand of lights.
This is our centerpiece I made with those new colors I love. I also made these napkins.
You can find these balls at Joann's or Hobby Lobby for only a couple of bucks.
We made this snowman out of our fabric pumpkins that I used in the fall.
This is our Spring Wreath transformed into our Winter Wreath.
We made these Christmas trees out of brown paper bags and fabric.
Yes, that is a tutu on the Christmas tree. : )
I made this little pillow case top for Arabella's birthday and just put a red ribbon on it.
The moment that makes it truly feel like Christmas is when we go to Lamoyne (its an art gallery that transforms into a winter wonderland of Christmas ornaments) with my Dad. We have gone every year to pick out an ornament since I can remember. Here is that precious moment with Arabella and Jojo.
Arabella Angel wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Peaceful New Year!
After 5 years I have learned that hinting about what you want for Christmas doesn't always work. I figured I would write a post for all the ladies out there to just send it on to their significant other. This way it is in black and white what we REALLY want.
I know times are tough so I found all these gifts that are at or under $100. We mainly want to feel loved, thought of and cared for.
These suggestions are in no specific order. They are all equally great!
1. Specialty Jewelry by bluesky design. This jewelry is very special. The quality of the stones are amazing. It isn't expensive but I feel like it is when I wear it. My dear friend makes all of her pieces by hand with love and sells them locally in Tallahassee at Textures. If you aren't local you can shop online here at etsy. You can also find her on facebook at bluesky designs. I know your honey will feel special getting one of these beautiful necklaces or earrings.
2. Christy Baldwin Photography- How can you say you love someone more than wanting to capture a special moment in life together. If your honey is pregnant, you could schedule a pregnancy shoot or get mega points by hiring Christy to photograph your child's birth. Also you could set up a family shoot at a special spot. I know your honey would love this!
She took this photo of Arabella. Christy made her feel so comfortable that she even got a smile out of her. That is huge because Arabella is very shy at first.
3. A Massage- Enough said. Don't we all want and NEED a massage. Well I know the best person in town. Jesse Corry L.M.T. He is so talented and will work out any pain or kink you might have. He specializes in Massage Therapy for Pain Relief. He also has a state of the art massage table for pregnancy. This is the only table like it in town that I know of. You can finally get a proper massage while you are pregnant. And don't be afraid of going to a man for a massage because Jesse will make you feel so comfortable and at ease. He has 12 years of experience so I know he can help you with anything you might need.
You can reach him at (850) 212-4244 or go by his office at 104 West 5th Ave.
This is Arabella her first Christmas. : ) 3 months old
This is Christmas Eve on our way to a party.
This is Arabella calling Santa on her 2nd Christmas. a little over a year old
This is her this year. : ) a little over 2 years old
See if you give your honey one of these wonderful gifts, you just might get an Arabella 9 months later. : ) Arabella was conceived on Christmas. : )
This is the easiest skirt ever! If you are not a skilled sewer as I am- this is the project for you! It really only takes 5 minutes.
First let me tell you about one of the best photographers in Tallahassee. Christy Baldwin took this photo. She is so good will children. Arabella is very shy at first but she warmed right up with Christy. Please check out Christy Baldwin Photography . com for any kind of photography you want but especially children, pregnancy, birth and family shots.
I made this skirt for Arabella's first Ballet. She went to see the Nutcracker and I thought she needed a little bit of toole as a tribute to the tutu.
This is Arabella at the Ballet with Dada. I promise she had a blast even though the picture doesn't look like it. : ) She was so excited to see the Ballerinas and wanted to get up on stage so bad to dance with them. Dream come true for me.
To make the skirt:
Measure your fabric 2 - 3 times longer in width then their size. For instance- Arabella wears a 4T and a yard of fabric is the perfect width for her. I get the length by using one of her skirts that fits right now and doubling that.
Fold your fabric length wise. Right sides facing. Sew the ends.
Pull the fabric inside out like the picture below. You will not have a seem at the bottom.
At the top of the fabric, fold it over twice. Start a seem at the center where you want the bow to be. Sew all the way around leaving a little hole to put the ribbon through. Feed your ribbon through and tie your nice little bow.
Squat is the SUPER move to exercise like Kale is the SUPER food. When you squat you work every muscle in your body from your waiste down. You work your butt (glutes), inner thighs (adductors), outter thighs (abductors), thighs (quads) and calves.
This move is not only a great squating position but a great stretch too. Make sure your back is flat, heels are planted, knees aren't going over the toes and you aren't tucking your bottom. Try to hold for 30 seconds or more.
This is another great squat. Sit back like you are sitting in a chair until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Push through the heels so your knees aren't over working. Try 20 reps.
We use to squat so much more (back in the days when we had to go potty outside). There are studies that show that they didn't have the issues birthing their babies or with weak pelvic floors (i.e. incontinence) like we do now. When we squat, we work the butt muscles that keeps us from tucking under and creating a smaller pelvic area (we wanted a larger pelvic area so we can give birth easier). This also helps tighten the pelvic floor and keep from incontinence. We all don't want that!
Please read this AWESOME article here at Mama Sweat Blog- it explains all of this much more throuroughly.
If you do have knee problems, you can do these two exercises above and below. The one above- sit with your legs in a V then lift your foot about two inches off the ground. This works the top of the leg without having to use the knee. Do 10 on each leg. Combine it with this one below. It works the back of the leg. Lay on your stomach and place the foot at your knee then lift the bent knee about two inches off the ground. Repeat 15 times on each side.
This is another modified squat. Arabella is assisting my client, John. : ) He just celebrated his 89th birthday. Place the ball on your low back. Lean into the ball with your feet slightly out in front of you. Roll down as far as you can on the ball. Having your legs parallel to the ground is ideal. Make sure your knees aren't going over your toes as you squat. Push through your heels. Try for 15-20.
Before you read this, you do need to read (Joy-Who Truly Made Me Healthy) in order to understand why I am so passionate about cleaning out toxins in our life.
First, you may think- oh, what is an aspirin. But studies have shown that as little as three aspirin taken by the mama can effect the hormones in a growing baby. I learned the hard way that every little bit effects our babies.
If I can have a 22 hour labor and a 9 pounder with NO pain meds- not even an aspirin- you can do this!
I decided when I got pregnant with Arabella (9 months after I lost Joy), that I was not going to take any kind of meds unless ABSOLUTELY necessary. I haven't taken ANY meds in four years now. Once you make up your mind, it's not that hard. Also, if you are eating right (Green Smoothies, Raw Garlic and Onion in my recipes), exercising and stretching like you are suppose too, you won't be having the headaches or getting sick. Yes, I have had some headaches (with lack of sleep or not taking care of myself with a newborn or toddler) but they will pass. It felt so good to know that I didn't put ANYTHING in my body while I was pregnant with Arabella that could harm her.
My New Medicine Cabinet:
Hylands Kid's Kit- This is a homeopathic kit with everything you need in case your baby is teething, has a stuffy nose or a booboo. Homeopathic is all natural and derived from plants and flowers. I knew as a new mom I wanted to have something on hand if Arabella needed something. These help the body heal naturally.
Netty Pot- I LOVE my Netty pot! I use it every night. This will flush out a stuffy nose from cold or allergies. Also, it will flush out any germs if you have come in contact with any throughout the day. The key is to make the water very warm and put enough salt (think sea water) in it. This will make a natural flow of water and keep you from feeling like you are drowning.
Peroxide or Salt Water Solution- These two work wonderfully as a antibacterial treatment. Using these helps only kill the bad bacteria in a cut or anything else instead of the antibacterial treatments that kill off both the good and bad bacterial. When you kill off the good bacterial in a cut for instance- you keep the cut from healing properly= a scar.
Natural Cough Drops and Spray- Make sure you find the natural/organic cough drops and spray that are fruit derived and does not have sugar in them. I learned this the hard way. I got Arabella a cough syrup that was organic and natural but it had a ton or organic sugar in it- she flipped out- sugar high and a cold doesn't mix! There are some great ones out there but beware of the sugar. Sugar also exacerbates the problem and causes more congestion and irritation.
No Antibiotics- I don't use any antibiotics unless ABSOLUTELY necessary. I have used any in over 4 years. This is especially important if you are nursing. If your baby isn't sick and the antibiotic kills off her good bacteria it can start a host of issues (i.e. yeast infection and thrush). Yes, it might take you a couple of days longer to get rid of the infection but if it isn't too serious try to hang in there.
I did use an antibiotic ointment on Arabella one time. She got scratched by a cat and it was looking a little too red around the edges so I used the ointment. I am so thankful to have antibiotics when we really need them. I do believe most people over use them.
Fun Band aids- Yes, these aren't organic but a Dora or Woody Band aid does wonders. : )
Again, if you are taking care of yourself- exercising, eating organic whole foods, limiting sugar and getting as much rest as possible (I know- ha ha mamas). This will work for you. You shouldn't get sick that often and your body will be strong enough to fight it off if you prepare it well.
amazed at how I can eat these kinds of foods as long as I limit my sugar and keep working out. Since I have gotten most toxins and pesticides out of my body, I feel like it functions so well. I think since it isn't focusing on getting rid of toxins, it can metabolize food the way it is suppose to. If you are eating non-organic and lots of sugar, your body gets worn down trying to process that and it can't work the way it is suppose to.
I LOVE ranch dressing. This recipe is so good! I use all organic ingredients and raw garlic. I try to sneak in raw garlic this time of year because it can fight off the flu.
1 cup organic sour cream
1 cup organic mayonnaise
1/2 cup organic buttermilk
1 garlic clove
1 stalk organic celery (I use the celery from my garden and use the leaves too)
salt to taste
Blend in blender until smooth.
Here is a preview of my Christmas napkins I made. : )
I read were pouring the dressing makes a good pic. : ) But I think you need a better camera. Maybe Santa?!
We grew all the lettuce and tomatoes in our garden. : )
I also put it in little glass jars with a ribbon around it for Christmas gifts.
I grew up with very limited TV. We didn't have a TV until I was six. Then we could only watch 1 hour a day. I didn't want to be this strict with Arabella because I believe the more you restrict, the more they want it. I am a perfect example because when I went to friends houses, I only wanted to watch TV.
I do think my limited TV at home helped me be very creative. SO (oh, being a parent and finding a balance is SO hard!) I try not to make a big deal about the TV but I try to limit it in a very discrete way. I also try to watch more educational shows. Arabella can speak some Spanish now because of Dora and another Spanish DVD.
All of that being said, I don't want Arabella to miss out on experiences because she is watching TV. When we are traveling on short trips (2-3 hours), I point out fun things along the way to show her what is going on outside the car. We look for cows or horses. Or if there isn't a lot to look at, I bring books. I also bring a bag full of toys and bring a new one out about every 20 minutes to keep her entertained.
All of these pics are from Arabella's train ride to Savannah. It is about a 5 hour car ride from my house and I knew that would be rough. I checked into the train and it is very affordable (in some cases cheaper than gas). There isn't a station in my hometown so we had to drive to Jacksonville. This was perfect. Two hour car ride and then get on a train. Arabella was SOOOO excited. It turned out to be a GREAT way to travel with a child. It is very easy to get on and off. The conductors are very helpful. The seats are very roomy. And you can go to the dinning car for a change. The sound and movement is very soothing for them also. She had a blast!
We also NEVER allow a TV or electronic device if we go to dinner. I think this is very important. Psychologist are very concerned that children now a days aren't developing social skills the way they should with all of the electronic device distractions. What a better way to socialize then over dinner. If you try to suffice them by putting a ipad in their hands- yes they are quiet but they aren't socializing.
We also try to keep the snacks mostly protein so she has a nice and steady mood. Nothing is worse then a child in a car on a sugar rush.
If you don't know about me loosing my first daughter to the toxin, mercury. You should start with my post; Joy- Who Truly Made Me Healthy. This will better explain why I have gone to such extremes with getting rid of toxins in my house.
I started with the things I use most in the bathroom.
We got a cheaper general water filter for the whole house. If you are taking a hot bath or shower and your pores are open, you don't want chlorine and many other toxins soaking into your skin. You can get a very cheap filter just for your bath tube. My Contractor husband bought the filter at Lowes and installed it.
I bought all paraben free (these alter your hormones), aluminum free (this can effect your brain) and chemical free (these can cause allergies) Shampoo, Conditioner, Hairspray, Make-Up, Deodorant, Lotion, Toothpaste and Soap. You have to be very careful with these products because they are not regulated so they can claim whatever they want (i.e. all natural ingredients and still have chemicals in them).
My Favorite Products:
Shampoo, Condition and Lotion- Dessert Essence and Pure Life
Hairspray or Gel- Giovanni
Make-Up- I order all of my products from Saffron Rouge.com. This company makes sure all of the products they sell are legit. I have even seen them remove products when they don't meet their standards. They also have great deals where you can get free samples. : )
Deodorant- Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal
Toothpaste- Jason and Tom's
Soap- I try to buy from a local soap maker. Dr. Bronner's is a wonderful brand too.
You can find these products at your local health food store, Publix in the Greenwise section or online. If you want to look for a different brand, I always look at the last couple of ingredients and make sure they aren't a foreign language. Also, make sure they say Paraben Free because they will use other words to sneak this chemical in.
I am very passionate about using these products because our skin is so porous. We leave these products on all day, year after year. These chemicals will add up (read- How I Rid My Body Of Mercury).
I also got Organic Cotton and Bamboo Towels. Make sure the dyes are natural too. The dyes have formaldehyde in them. Non-organic uses bleach and their are tons of pesticides on regular cotton. Again, you get out of the hot bath and your pores are open and you use a towel.
I use Chlorine Free Pads and Tampons. The reason people were having toxic shock syndom was because of the toxins that their body was absorbing from the regular tampons. We use also recycled tissue paper that is not bleached.
This all might seem a little bit extreme but it does all add up. I have learned the hard way. It feels so good to know that I am doing what is best for me and my family.
Feel free to ask me any question. Even if you change a couple of things, it will make a difference.
The squat is one of the best ways to engage the glute (butt) muscles. It helps lift everything back up to where it is suppose to be. : )
If you don't have any existing knee problems, this is the version that is best. Sit back until your thighs are parallel to the ground. You can put a chair behind you to get the feel for it. Push through your heels so the pressure doesn't go to your knees. Try to repeat 15-20 times. And squeeze those buns!
The Tri-Angle Leg Lift is another move that really works that tush. Lay on your stomach. Place your foot at your knee to make a triangle. Lift your bent knee off the ground about 2 inches. This is a very small motion but it really works that butt. This is a great movement if you do have knee problems and can't do the squat.
The best combo to get the Tightest Tush is to walk or run up hills, take two stairs at a time and do 15-20 reps of both of these exercises. Work up to doing one set (15-20 reps) of the Squats then do 15-20 reps of the Tri-Angle Leg Lifts then repeat the cycle three times.
have been co-sleeping since the night Arabella was born. I cherish these nights of cuddling. I know some people think that it could be dangerous. But unless you are under the influence of something, your mother instinct will wake you up before you role over. Co-sleeping has also been a blessing because when Arabella would wake up, I was right there to nurse her or soothe her. I was told by my mid-wife about how you and the baby hardly wake up if you are right there together because she will just wiggle around a little and then latch on. I don't feel like I had those tireless nights when she was an infant because this exact thing would happen every night.
Don't get me wrong, not every night is a peaceful harmony of cuddling. Some nights she likes to lay ON me. Yes, that is mama some where under Arabella. Weighing 40 + pounds, this can be a little hard to breath. : ) I still wouldn't give it up for anything.
Now Arabella co-sleeps with her babies. : ) She will be such a good mama.
The theory is that you co-sleep with your child until she or he decides to go to their own bed. This usually happens around 3-5 years old. You give them all the security they need until they are independent enough to do it on their own. Most parents that practice this say they have to beg their child to come lay with them because they are so secure on their own.