Behind the Camera and Dreaming

Catch the Moment 365 | 2015 | Week 16

Alright you guys, I promise I will catch up this week! It was moving week over here and I have been seriously MIA. It's been hectic, emotional, dramatic, and exciting all rolled into one. We are in our new house - sort of - enough to stay here at least and it's beautiful. The kids are happy and excited and we are worn out! I am so looking forward to showing you guys what all we've been up to, but I just don't have the time to do it all right now! God is teaching me a lesson in patience and letting go right now and I have to say it. is. hard. However, I am super excited for our future and what He has in store for us on this new journey across town. I hope you all had a fabulous week!

Please link up any photos you took this week and share with everyone else!




Lessons of Faith from a Tomato! #VeggieTalesFun # Weavemade

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Weave Made Media® and DreamWorks, but all my opinions are my own. #weavemade #VeggieTalesfun http://my-disclosur.es/RgFrEH


I don't remember exactly how old I was, but I distinctly remember watching VeggieTales at a youth/church camp of some sort when I was maybe in older elementary/middle school and my younger sister and I singing "oh wheeeerree is my hair brush, oh wheere is my hairbrush, oh where oh where oh wheeeerrree is my hairbrush" and on and on and on. We were hooked. It was just the perfect combination of corny and catchy that just couldn't be resisted. I have no clue how they did it or what the actual lesson of that particular video is, but Larry the Cucumber has been forever engrained in my mind and that is a good thing!

Now that I have two boys of my own, I am very protective of their little hearts and I try really hard to make the television they (well mostly my oldest) watch something I can be proud of them repeating or reenacting on the playground. This doesn't always happen, but when they watch something like VeggieTales, I never have to worry. 


Our first VeggieTales video after we had my son Jonah was of course the VeggieTales musical story of Jonah. At around age two and a half he began to be able to watch the length of a movie and this is one I had no problem showing him. 

Around that same time we had some experiences with shows where he'd get really nervous and ask me to turn them off. This was because the show was reaching the climax and the character was in trouble most of the time. So, when we turned on Jonah, guess what.. he gets swallowed by a whale. We all now the story of Jonah and what's coming but to his little brain this is the scariest thing he's ever watched, but I resisted turning it off when he asked. I realized that if I turn the TV off in the eye of the storm, the heat of the fire, the gut of fish, I'm not letting him see the calm after the storm, the picking up of the pieces, the repentance of a scared follower of Christ. There was a lesson within the lesson he was learning from Jonah. It was a lesson more about facing a fear and over coming it, than the lesson Jonah was being taught by God. 

So, when it comes to reenacting the dramatic scenes of a movie, it's comforting to know that the resolution is one that shows him that God's plan is real. It's funny how a silly looking vegetable can teach such big lessons! Pretty awesome if you ask me!

and this guy? He's a giant reminder named Bob that can double as a pillow during movie time! Jonah was so excited to bring him home! Secretly, I was too.


Find your very own Bob the Tomato character or pillow as Jonah likes to say at Walmart. Also, don't forget to head over to the VeggieTales Facebook page for what's new!

Do your kids watch VeggieTales? Who is their favorite character?

EASY BROCCOLI CHEDDAR CORN MUFFIN | RECIPE

 A while back I posted on Facebook that I thought you could pretty much add anything to jiffy mix and it would work! That's probably not true but it is really simple to take an already great cornbread and add a little something extra to make it even better, more nutritious, more savory, sweeter, whatever you want! I used it to hide one of my favorite veggies that might have gone bad in the fridge if I hadn't.


My 3 year old used to love Broccoli, but over the past 6 months or so, he has become a very picky eater. He'll even taste things that I know he likes and agree he likes them but still not eat them. So, I'm resorting to good old mom trickery and hiding more veggies when I can. We had these for dinner as a side to hamburger steak. I enjoyed it very much.

All you will need is
  • 1 Box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
  • A muffin tin
  • Cooking Spray
  • milk (according to box directions)
  • eggs (according to box direction)
  • 1 cup broccoli chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

RECIPE

  1. Prepare Corn Muffin Mix according to box instructions
  2. Slowly fold in broccoli and then shredded cheese saving some to sprinkle on top, in the pictures I used a small slice of cheese on top but I think it would look nicer with sprinkles you could even add them just before the muffins start to brown.
  3. Cook according to box directions, however, due to the possible added moisture from the broccoli, they may need to go slightly longer. Always do the tooth pick test to make sure it comes out clean!
ENJOY! 


Please tell me the ways you are tricking your kids (or self) into eating more veggies?! 



SUDS BOTTLE WASHER by BOON | PRODUCT REVIEW

We received a SUDS Bottle Washer from boon, inc. to try out and 
I'm here to give you my honest opinion! #blogreview #ABoon4Bottles


It's not too often that I get contacted directly by a company that I admire so much, so I was super excited to try out the SUDS Bottle Washer by Boon, Inc. We have and use a few of their products and I just love how visually appealing they are. Boon describes SUDS like this:
YOU'LL LOVE IT LIKE HAPPY HOUR.So you know those nifty glass-washing thing-a-ma-bobs they use in bar sinks? Same general idea here. Just place your bottle on the pump and press it down—water jets and spinning, scrubbing bristles do the rest. It's faster and more effective than standard washing and works with most bottles and sippy cups—not to mention wine glasses. (Hint, hint.)
SUDS fits right down into your sink basin but if you let the dishes pile up a little in the sink (because that's the reality with littles), you can use it on the counter top! It's pretty simple to use and I have found that because it combines the use of pressured water + scrubbing bristles it gets bottles and sippy cupscleaner in half the time or less than having to use a scrubbing wand. 


We have been using SUDS for about 2-3 weeks and a couple things I have found are with the wider bottles, they typically have a dimple in the bottom, so you have to get the top of the SUDS on one side of the bottle and then the other which is why you can kind of see a little wear in my bristles above. Also, if you do use it on the counter top be careful of your water level because when you pump the soap and water through you create more suds and it will spill onto the counter, so I start with a little less water than I think I need and there is no spillage!

I have also found that rinsing the soap takes less rinses with suds because I'm not putting soap directly into the bottle like I do when I'm only washing one bottle. So, I'm probably saving soap and water by using SUDS. It's definitely a cool contraption that does make bottle and glass washing easier and more efficient in the sink.

SUDS Bottle & Sippy Cup Washer is available in Target stores nationwide and on Target.com.





Catch the Moment 365 | 2015 | Week 14

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Morning Me Time with McCafe at Home.

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser.
The love for coffee and me time are mine alone. #McCaféMyWay #CollectiveBias


Mornings can be quite the enemy around here. Everything moves so fast and it can be quite the battle of wills, but in the midst of the chaos, beginning my mornings with a little me time makes the day that much better. 


Since having baby number two and then going to back to work, we have had some mornings that are just plain awful. Having one child that can't do anything for himself and another that just flat out refuses to anything for himself (or let you do anything for him, for that matter) can get a little trying. However, I have to say that since we all started sleeping through (most of) the night it has gotten oh so. much. better!

In an effort to start my day right, the first thing I do when I get out of bed is head to the Keurig and pop in a McCafé coffee pod. There is just something about getting the coffee in the cup before I start the madness that makes me feel like my day is going to go a little better.


I carry my coffee with me to the shower and sip before I get in and after I get out. Then as I go back and forth getting the kiddos situated I sip some more. I wish I could sit and enjoy a cup all at once, but with two other people to get ready for the day I take what I can get. In addition to a great cup of coffee, there are a few things that are an essential part of my morning routine if I want to make my day better. 

1.  Take the time to put my makeup on at home. So many times I've fallen into putting it on in the parking lot at work and I just don't feel as good about myself on those days. I know this might sound weird, but I actually really enjoying putting my make up on and doing my hair. If my hair winds up in a wet bun, at least I can look pulled together with a little make up! 


2. Listen to something inspiring while getting ready. When I took a trip two weeks ago, I listened to Amy Poehler's "Yes Please" and have been re-listening to it in little increments again this week. It makes me laugh and makes me feel good. I also have a play list I made recently of songs that are uplifting, inspiring, and grounding for me. It's an eclectic collection to say the least!
  • I lived by One Republic
  • Story of My Life by One Direction
  • Thrive by Casting Crowns
  • Broken Together by Casting Crowns
  • Oceans by Hillsong United
  • A life that's Good by the Nashville Cast (Lennon and Maisy - love those girls) 
  • How Can It Be by Lauren Daigle
  • Cups by Anna Kendrick 
I told you. .. eclectic. =) 



3. Focus on the kids. If I have a minute, I do like to sit and focus on the kids. Make the baby laugh, praise the big boy for something good, or if it's not happening just get everybody in the car and talk about our day ahead then. I love the conversations we have in the car. I get to hear Jonah's curious mind, or just listen to him sing to himself. So, much of my morning is focused on getting where we need to be and getting to work in time for this or that. 

Some days the responsibilities seem to wear me thin. I'm spread over the miles that stretch across town and back. Just having a moment to gather my thoughts and remember what's important keeps me in the present and thankful for all God has given me. I hope you have a little time like that for yourself too. 


Before I go, you may have noticed I am having McCafé at home. You can now find it on the shelves at Walmart. In the bag or in the pod! I started off with Premium Roast and it has a nice bold flavor, but when I took the McCafé quiz it described me like this:
You're all about indulgence. Nothing is too rich for your blood. Why not? You deserve it! Your perfect cup of McCafé is brewed with Whole Bean French Roast.
So spot on! I will be trying the French Roast next! Y'all truth is, I like my coffee pretty bold with full flavor. If it's a lighter flavor, I like to mix it up with milk or creamer! With McCafé you have all the choices!


Who do you enjoy your coffee and your me time? Have you tried McCafé


Free to be with all free clear


Something I've learned in motherhood, is to expect the unexpected and to accept the unacceptable. Thanks to all free clear for reminding me of what childhood should be all about! Who knew a laundry detergent could be so inspiring?

muddy kid

I don't know if I've mentioned this, but I am SO happy that Spring is finally here. It rained non-stop for what seems like months. I don't mind the rain SO much if I get a little sunshine in between. What also makes the rain better is when it's warm enough to play in it. Yesterday we had a major downpour, but it was short and past by the time I got home with the kids. So, on the way in the house, Jonah asked if he could splash in the puddle. I said sure because he was wearing his rain boots and I mean... why not? I went in a put Ezra down and came back to the screen door to him splashing away in not just rain water, but a full on MUD puddle. Then he got excited and realized how deep his feet went. He asked me to put my boots on and join him. It was tempting but my husband wasn't home and I didnt think I should leave the baby inside alone for too long or take him out splashing in puddles, but instead I went to grab my camera. That's what I do of course, documenting our days in most real way I know how. Capturing this moment I KNEW would be a good one.

all-free-clear #ad #FreeToBe

Before I knew it, his pants were soaked and so muddy! It surprised him, but I said I guess it doesn't matter now, we are getting straight in the bath anyway. So, he ran and splashed and ran his monster truck through the mud. It was pretty hilarious to watch. I love seeing him so free and happy.

I mean isn't this what being a little boy is all about anyway!?

all-free-clear #ad #FreeToBe

Needless to say, he was a mess and rain boots or not, his socks were soaked. He actually poured water out of his boots taking them off at the back door. My husband pulled up and Jonah got kind of shy like he thought daddy might say something about how muddy he was, but all he said was "how'd you talk mommy into this?" The truth is, he really didn't have to talk me into it, I just thought what's the point in not letting him just be a little boy. I reassured him and encouraged him to show daddy what he had been doing and I continued to snap away until the baby started fussing.

So many times we say, no don't get dirty, you'll track mud in the house or you'll ruin your clothes. I have had to worry about how I would get the tough stuff out of his clothes because he has such sensitive skin. We are a family who all have fair skin and it seems that with that comes more sensitivity issues. I am always careful what I wash the kids clothes, towels and sheets in as I mentioned in an earlier post this week - we use hypoallergenic everything. Jonah's had what I think is some fairly mild eczema on his chest shoulders and neck and Ezra struggled with those new born break outs and now still gets red cheeks as a reaction to other people's clothing. Anyway, I made my husband switch to a gentler detergent for his clothes a few months back and I'm glad we have options like all free clear


all-free-clear #ad #FreeToBe

A few little known facts you might be interested if you have a mud puddle loving boy like me:


  • all free clear is the #1 recommended detergent brand by Dermatologists, Allergists, and Pediatricians for sensitive skin. It's tough on stains yet gentle enough for the whole family. Plus, it's safe for use in standard and HE machines. It rinses clean and has a gentle, hypoallergenic formula.
  •  all® free clear detergent (liquid and mighty pacs), fabric softener and dryer sheets have received the National Eczema Association (NEA) Seal of Acceptance™.
  • Products with the NEA Seal of Acceptance™ are those that avoid certain chemicals, dyes, perfumes and residues that are known to be unsuitable for use by persons with eczema or a sensitive skin condition.  


I guess I wanted to capture these moments, so that he can remember how it felt to just do exactly what he wanted in the moment, no restrictions. I also want to remind other moms to just take Elsa's advice sometimes and let it go! Worry about the laundry later! I want him to remember that he is Free To Be anything he wants to be and right now he's free to be a little boy. I hope he's always a bit of a kid at heart. It's really good for the soul!

all-free-clear #ad #FreeToBe


Please check out all free clear's Facebook page they have the ultimate dirty kid over there that we all know and love! I will definitely be entering these photos into the #allPigpins #sweeps =)

Tell me what you or your kids are #FreeToBe! all free clear is so excited to hear your opinion — please take this one question survey to let them know what you think (it only takes a few seconds)!








Ezra Oliver | 6 Months

About a week ago, Ezra turned 6 months old and these are the happiest of times! There is no denying the happiness of a baby half way to his first birthday. His smile and laugh are bigger than ever, not to mention those squish cheeks and thighs!

Eating

The day before Ezra's half birthday, I nursed him for the last time. It was kind of sad and I miss our special snuggle time, but he's happy that he can gulp down a 6 ounce bottle and be on his way. He no longer sits still for anything! He still eats every 2 to 2.5 hours and has tried a few solid foods. He initially LOVED the banana I gave him, then liked rice cereal, but has decided he doesn't really care for them anymore. We are going to keep trying though. So far he's had rice, banana, and I tried a little applesauce. I hope he's just not ready and not a picky eater! 

Sleeping

He typically goes down for the night around 8 o'clock and sleeps until around 5. He's been a little sick with a cold for the past week, so we are getting wake ups more often. He sleeps well in his crib now and loves his musical owl and his paci. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but he used to wheeze a lot in his sleep and was very loud almost all night. He's grown out of that mostly, but it's funny that I kind of miss being able to listen for him when I wake up during the night. Although I'm sure it's easier for him to breathe not being so stuffy. 

Growing 

You know he is a second child when you miss a well-baby check up and writing this just reminded to reschedule. I think he's about 17+ pounds and I'm sure he's grown in length from out last doctors visit, but maybe I'll update this when we actually go to the appointment! He's wearing mostly 6 month clothes still but can fit in 9 month most of the time too. I think he's squishiest now in his thighs and actually think his belly has slimmed up a bit from a month ago..or he's just gotten longer. He's still very broad around his chest and once he starts crawling will probably tackle his big brother. 

Learning

We haven't heard any attempts at words or even MaMa and DaDa but he sure does talk a lot! His favorite sounds are "hey" and a very high pitched "Aaahh". He can motor boat/spit with his lips which is hilarious. He LOVES to laugh. He can sit up well and only falls when he's reaching... reaching.. He's learned most of the time that he can get to his belly if he starts falling and is okay with that. He still rolls all over the place. Recently, he's started attempting to really get what he wants, even if that means his brother is holding it. He will scoot out of your arms and if he's watching big kids play, his hands and feet are running with them. He's so ready to be a big boy. Slow down little man. Slow down. Being able to run and wrestle isn't that great. ;)


Loving

Toys, big brother, sucking/gnawing on everything, laughing, watching Ari (our dog) do nothing - but it's still funny to Ezra, looking at himself in the mirror, selfies, my phone case (I know, but seriously), making us smile, he loves his grandparents and has started to recognize a difference in people he knows and faces he doesn't recognize. He smiles at everybody, but will quickly let you know when he's uncomfortable. 


Now that he's getting a little bigger and his hair is growing longer, slightly, you can really see his cow lick right in the front there. I'm sure he will grow to loathe it but you will never mistake his baby pictures for anyone else, because it's just so distinctly him.

I could seriously look at his little smile all day! Happy Half Birthday little man! We all love you to pieces!




The Honest Company

Bedtime Routine with Healthy Living Made Simple #SamsClubMag

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. 
All opinions are mine alone. #SamsClubMag #CollectiveBias



I think the most Googled sentence of new parents ever might be "how do I get my baby to sleep" or "why won't my baby sleep" or even "why does this kid hate sleep?!?!". There are obviously lots of variations of that question but at some point or another we all ask that very question because after all sleep is the key to pretty much everything in life. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (as referenced in this month's Healthy Living Mag) "Sleep is vital for health and development".We spend a lot of time as new parents focused on it. Our sleep, their sleep, night sleep, day sleep. Life seems to revolve around this very subject for months and even years after you begin having children. I think even now, with a six month old, it's still the most common question I get "how's the baby sleeping?"

So, I'm here today to tell you, contrary to what some parenting guides will tell you, there is no magic way to get children to sleep. The simple fact is, you try what feels right for you and your family until you find something that works.

Then, when the next baby comes along, start that process over because the number one thing I've learned as a parent of two is that no two babies are the same. What worked for one child, may or may not work for another. There are however a few things I've learned that make actually getting to bed a little better.


Baby Items at Sam's Club!
 Did you know you can get all of these Baby Items at Sam's Club? Check out what I clipped on Polyvore

  1. Go Outside & Play! That may seem strange as it is quite the opposite of sleep, but small children need to be stimulated while they are awake. We all do! They need to go outside, wrestle, go for a walk, a swing, or stroller ride. One of my favorite Pediatricians, Dr. Sears stated in Healthy Living Made Simple Magazine "Here’s a list of some of the fascinating health effects neuroscientists have discovered from a simple walk in nature: decreased heart rate, more relaxed blood pressure, increased happy hormones, decreased stress hormones, mellower moods, stronger immune system, and fewer fearful thoughts." These can be easily translated into good sleep. 
  2. Healthy Eating and a full belly! I have found that I have to make sure my children have had a good, filling dinner or snack before trying to put them to sleep. Going to bed hungry, just causes more problems in our house. It's a battle with my 3 year old to get him to eat something filling at night, so we give him milk as part of our bedtime routine. 
  3. A comfortable place to sleep. Whether your infant is sleeping beside you or in a crib, make sure they are safe and comfortable. Both of my children slept in Rock N Play Sleepers beside my bed until they began rolling to the side. This is what was best for me and them and it helped me get the maximum amount of sleep. Once I transitioned them to their beds, we used comfort items, such as pacifiers (well they used those from the beginning), noise/music players that hang on the side of the crib and a mobile. These items helped their cribs feel more comfortable to them. Most pediatricians still recommend against blankets, pillows, or stuffed toys while sleeping, but as they grow these are great comfort items for toddlers and older kids. 
  4. A healthy clean body. If your child is sick or irritated from a skin issue, their sleep is going to be restless. So, we do everything we possibly can to prevent illness, make them comfortable when they are ill, and reduce skin issues. Here are a few things we do to help as this winter has been really harsh on our babies!
    1. Use hypoallergenic soaps, diapers, lotions, and wipes.
    2. Wash their clothing and sheets in fragrance free detergent.
    3. After bathing them, we lotion them up within 3 minutes of getting out of the bath and treat any bug bites or scratches at that time.
For after bath/bedtime and during the night we keep this little caddie with the baby's things, and big brother uses some of them too after bath. It makes it easier to just grab it and meet his needs right there. We typically keep it in the living room beside the couch. It contains diapers, hypoallergenic wipes (those we go through the most, because both kids use them for everything - good thing I bought an extra 1,000 count box of wipes!), healing ointments, fragrance free lotion, calendula cream, diaper rash cream, and I try to keep a burp cloth and a sleeper for the baby. It helps a lot when we keep it stocked!



5. Create a calm environment. After bath, we do our best to limit any rigorous activities and make that a time for maybe a bedtime show (if we have time - we usually don't) and reading one book. The baby is then taken into a dark quiet room to be rocked or given one last bottle and the toddler lays down in his bed for one book/story to be read to him. 

Now, I'm not saying our routine sticks every night but when it works it works well and we are all happier and better rested! I hope this helped in a small way if you are struggling with bedtime! We all do. If you have a newborn, just know, it does get better! With both of my kids it got much better around 5 months, but we still have an on and off struggle still with a 3 year old and 6 month old. There are some nights we cry, yell, and don't follow our routine, but with an established plan and healthy environment, at least we are striving for a successful night!

Before I go I want to mention that creating this environment doesn't have cost you an arm and a leg and it can be fun to establish what works for your family. I had so much fun wandering the aisles of Sam's Club this weekend, because I am now a card carrying member! You can get so many baby care items at Sam's Club. You can even find organic, fragrance free, and hypoallergenic items that I thought you'd only be able to find at specialty stores. They even carry large premium formula in major brands as well as their own premium formula, diapers, and wipes. We are always out of wipes so I grabbed this box of 1,000 and it was under $18.



What has worked in for your family? Leave a comment so other readers can see your suggestions too!