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It’s Time For Back to School Shopping!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Famous Footwear. All opinions are 100% mine.

It's Back to School Season and that means one thing — shopping! Chances are, if you're doing Back to School shopping for yourself or your kids, you're going to need shoes.

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You need to check out Famous Footwear, where you can take care of all of your footwear needs in one place. Not only do they have hundreds of brand name shoes and just as many if not more styles, but they have great prices, too. They also make shoe shopping so easy — either come in to the store and get something or shop from your house and order all of your shoes online! They have so many options, it doesn't really get any easier! 

Right now, there's even MORE reasons to head into Famous Footwear! Check out their Back to School promotion — 15% off AND a Buy One, Get One Half Off sale! So not only can you get all of your shoe shopping done in one place, you can save money, too! 

We all know that nowadays kids need a lot more than they used to to go back to school. Clothes, shoes, and lots of school supplies. Who doesn't want a coupon to help make their shopping a little easier on their wallet? 

Hurry up and print this coupon to be used between 8/2 and 8/18 — JUST in time for going back to school. Get all your shoe shopping done and save some money. BOGO + 15% off Famous Footwear Coupon

Be sure to also check out Famous Footwear's free Rewards Program. If you're already a member or sign up to become a member, that 15% off discount becomes a 20% off discount! Plus, it offers great benefits like 1 point for every $1 you spend (in stores or online), earn up to $100 certificates per year with the points, and lots of other great discounts and perks. There's no reason NOT to sign up! 

Hurry! Go to Famous Footwear and save money on your Back to School Shopping! 

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We’ve Moved!

And by that, I don’t mean bought a house or anything crazy like that!

I mean, our blog has moved!

Head on over to Daisiey, Naturally which will be our new home from now on! All of our content has moved over so everything is still the same, just a brand new name!

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Easy Homemade Pickles.

I specifically chose to grow pickling cucumbers in my garden this year for one reason. I wanted to learn to make my own pickles!

We grew regular cucumbers last year and they didn’t do particularly well. We got a few, maybe, but not an over abundance.

But this year? Our garden is doing amazing. And over this past weekend we had our first harvest of cucumbers. There were 7 cucumbers “ready.” By ready, you want them to be about 2 inches around and no longer than 4 or 5 inches. Any bigger, and they will become seedy and a little bitter — not the best for homemade pickles. So we picked our 7 pickles and brought them inside and rinsed them with water. That’s all the “cleaning” they need — but you do need to make sure you clean them, if not your pickles are more likely to go bad quicker.

In order to give credit where credit’s due — I searched ALL over the internet for “pickling” recipes, but ultimately ended up following the one that I found on this blog.

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What You REALLY Need For Baby.

Preparing for my 2nd baby has been a MILLION times easier than our 1st. (Not to mention — this pregnancy has been easier on me, Thank God! Even WITH an active toddler!)

Today’s media make babies out to be more like accessories. When you get pregnant they immediately convince you that you need to start BUYING things.  While you’re pregnant, they tell you buy your prenatals from day 1 (which you should — take your vitamins). Then they start pushing maternity clothing on you. And creams, lotions, and other “products” for all of your stretch marks and other “ailments” you may acquire while pregnant.

I have a few of those creams. I don’t even use them. I don’t have any stretch marks (from pregnancy, anyways).

Then you need stuff for the BABY. Clothes, diapers, bath products, cribs/bassinets/cradles, swings/bouncers, bottles/pacifiers and the list goes ON AND ON. Get a wipe warmer, they say — it’s “nicer” for baby. Get a Diaper Genie — it’s a “necessity.”

Umm, you don’t really need most of that stuff.

I’m actually downsizing for baby #2. Will i pull out the cradle? Yes. Will baby sleep in it? Maybe. Will baby probably sleep in my bed? Yep.

Do i have a bouncy seat and a swing? Yes. Will i use them this time? Probably. Only because I fully intend on still spending 1 on 1 time with my toddler, who will be 20 months when baby is born and is an INCREDIBLY attached child. And I don’t want that to end.

I actually purchased this item here:

A Fisher Price Rock & Play, after seeing more than just a few “2nd Time Mamas” online with them. I think it’ll be a nice portable way to have a pair of 2nd “arms” when baby is sleeping, so I can spend time with my toddler playing, learning, and being together.

But ALL of those items that “entertain” baby? HOLD your baby. They are only little for SUCH a short time!

I’m even downsizing our “bath” products. For my baby shower, I got a TON of stuff. Mostly Johnson & Johnson … I still have PILES of it left that I haven’t used. I’m currently looking for a more natural option, and planning on returning the piles of unopened stuff to be able to purchase a better option to use on both the kids. Any leftover money from that stuff will go towards nursing bras, etc.

And don’t even get me started on bottles, pacifiers, etc. People run out and buy tons of this stuff. I don’t even plan on pulling this stuff out to have around. This stuff on makes using formula easier. Doesn’t it sound tempting — make a bottle of formula! Then shove a pacifier in baby’s mouth! You will barely have to do anything! This will be one of the top things on my list of things NOT to do for the hospital/other people. DO NOT GIVE BOTTLES OR PACIFIERS. If baby needs to eat, or to be comforted — GIVE TO MAMA.

All you REALLY need when you have a baby is diapers (whether you use cloth or disposable), a place for baby to sleep (my arms and my bed work well for that) and to feed baby — that’s what breast is for. If you have those things, you’re pretty much all set. (And obviously baby needs some clothing, too. But seriously — get some onesies, nightgowns, and sleepers. All of those crazy outfits? More of a pain in the butt than anything!)

 

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We’re Goin’ A Roadtrippin’.

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of PA Tourism for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I've lived on the East Coast — New England area to be more specific — for all of my 30 years. I love to take trips and have been up and down the Coast a few times. But one of the places that I've never spent any time in happens to be pretty close. Pennsylvania. 

So when planning our latest trip, we decided Pennsylvania would be the place to go! And what better way to plan our trip there than to use visitPA.com's Roadtrip-a-Matic? 

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Roadtrip-a-Matic makes planning a roadtrip so easy! It takes care of so many of the biggest headaches of planning a trip. It helps you find things to do, places to stay, and even gives you lots of different ideas for kinds of roadtrips. It pretty much makes planning a trip easy — it does all of the work for you — all you have to do is the packing!

Maybe it's just because of our growing family, but we found the "Kidsylvania" trip to be the most fun looking and appealing to our family. There are stops in places like zoos and museums, and even adds a little learning into the mix with stops like Independance Hall and the Liberty Bell. 

If you want to take a great roadtrip, you should check out the pa-roadtrips website and take a look at the Roadtrip-a-Matic! Have you been looking for the perfect roadtrip lately? This will definitely help you plan the ENTIRE thing without any of the stress or headache!

Make sure to leave me a comment and let me know what you think of the Roadtrip-a-Matic and where you'll be taking your next roadtrip to! 

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Whitney Farms Makes Organic Gardening Easy!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Whitney Farms for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

 

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It's no secret — in my household we really love our gardening. In fact, we spent an entire day planting our garden full of a variety of vegetables that we plan on using all summer long in our meals. But one thing that we'd really like to do differently this year is make our garden all organic. If we're going to farm our own produce, why not grow the best for my family? Whitney Farms® is making it possible for us to do so this year! 

The best way to start is with organic soil and organic plant food. Whitney Farms products have lots of benefits for your garden. There's low to no dust and it's very easy to apply. It contains beneficial microbes and has specifically designed protein-based blends that will provide whatever kind of plants you will be growing with what they need to not only survive — but thrive! 

109103_1.jpg (6 documents, 6 total pages)  In our garden we'll be growing everything from a few varieties of tomatoes, to cucumbers, beans, peas, squash, zucchini, and more! Whitney Farms Tomato and Vegetable Food are going to be perfect! 

Eating organic really is what's best for you and your family. There's no need now to use other brands that contain chemicals and pesticides and other harmful things on your family's food. Conventional plant foods are no longer necessary with these great new products available for your very own gardens. And right now, check out  Whitney Farms® for a great offer — a $3 coupon! 

Our garden -- a work in progress.

 

 

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Feeding a (Sometimes) Picky Toddler.

Everywhere that I write online (Facebook, Twitter, blog, and elsewhere…) I notice there’s always a lot of chatter about feeding babies & toddlers. Some are picky, some eat everything. Some parents breastfed and some fed only formula — and of course some did both. Some started their tiny ones on cereal at 4 months, some started with purees (store bought OR homemade) at 6 months, some did baby led weaning, and others did a mix of a few.

This isn’t a post about the right or wrong ways to feed a baby or toddler — or even a post about how I did it and why.

But anyways — does it matter how exactly you did it, and will the way you chose to feed your child lead to a particularly picky kid, or one who will eat everything?

While searching around the Internet I came upon this article about Feeding the Picky Eater. I find it to be a great, well written article that is very reassuring to moms on why their toddler may eat one thing one day and not eat anything the next day.

Nowadays people are so quick (especially doctors) to jump to conclusions that there’s something wrong with the child. From day ONE — there’s always something WRONG. See a specialist. They didn’t gain enough weight. They gained TOO much weight. BLAH BLAH BLAH, I’ve heard it all. And now that my not so small anymore baby is a 16 month old toddler — I  don’t want to hear all of that “maybe there’s something wrong with them” talk. They aren’t saying enough words early enough, they started walking too late, they aren’t eating well enough — there must be something WRONG! Because you know — it’s not like every baby is different or anything, right? Staying on the “picky eater” subject — just because my kid likes strawberries and grapes, but won’t touch broccoli or chicken doesn’t mean he has “issues” (for instance, sensory issues and others that I know more than one or two moms worried about because they’re pediatrician brought it up).

My kiddo eats pretty well. He loves things like yogurt and eats both yogurt and drinks kefir on a daily basis. He drinks cow’s milk and almond milk (but isn’t fond of coconut milk). He likes water — and I’m sure would jump on the chance to drink juice if given — but I don’t give it to him, so he doesn’t drink it. But I do make him fresh juice from the juicer — and he’ll actually prefer a cup of “greener” juice rather than sweeter, fruitier juices.

He likes strawberries, grapes, and bananas and eats them often. Sometimes he likes oranges — but they have to be fresh, I’ve tried to give him canned mandarin oranges and he refuses them. He’ll eat up cheese any way he can get it — string cheese, sliced cheese, cubed cheese — he loves them all. He likes “snacks” like Teddy Grahams, eats whole wheat crackers and anything else crunchy. He’ll eat peanut butter sandwiches (we just intro’d peanut butter around 15 months) and if I’m feeling super adventurous I’ll even let him have a little Nutella.

But when it comes to dinner, there can be battles. I can cut up chicken and he’ll chew it and then spit it out. Most vegetables he’ll refuse, unless I mix them into a cheese sauce and pair with some fun macaroni (we love “Wacky Mac” vegetable macaroni shapes). Sometimes he’ll eat pork chops, sometimes not. But I prefer NOT to battle my child with dinner. If all else fails, pull out a cup of yogurt, cut up some fruit, a piece of cheese, and he’ll eat it ALL. As long as he’s eating — he’s fine.  Our newest addition to his diet has been adding in dried fruits. They’re sweet and chewy, so they’re fun. I bought a big bag of mixed “jumbo” raisins and he eats them daily.

Whether your little one prefers chicken, cheese, fruits… you find a way to make sure they’re healthy. And maybe they don’t love spinach like you do, maybe they would rather have applesauce 3 times a day, maybe they have been eating with a spoon since 12 months, or maybe they’re 15 months and only throw their utensils…

Every kid is different. Why can’t people just accept that?

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Gardening & Backyard’ing.

Our newest project around here lately includes lots of work out in both our front and backyard.

The front is relatively easy… I wish I had some before pictures to post — and if it wasn’t POURING outside right now, I’d go out and take some. We’ve recently done some easy things — like removing 2 HUGE bushes from in front of our house, including a rhododendron that was as tall as the house and covered such a large portion of the house that you didn’t even know there was house behind it. That area is extremely empty right now, maybe a little too empty. So I’ve been brainstorming on what I could put over there that isn’t going to need a ton of maintenance and won’t cost us a lot of money to put in.

I think we’ve decided on a wooden bench, a bird bath, and a few bird feeders. I love putting out bird feeders and then watching all the birds — cardinals, blue jays, sparrows, varieties of wood peckers… That’s a relatively easy project that we should be able to complete. Along with the possibility of adding a few flowers (marigolds, maybe) around our mailbox, and a hanging pot from the well in the front yard. Add to that a few rose bushes that just need to be planted, and a few of my lillies that need to go in the ground and we’re good to go.

It’s the backyard that causes the most trouble.

We’ve recently cleaned off the back deck which is looking nice now with our patio furniture and grill — and since have added a toddler picnic table, which is pretty darn cute. Next to the deck — a sandbox that we built. We were able to build it and fill it with sand cheaper than it costs to pick up one of those $40 plastic sandboxes (you know the ones — those darn turtle sandboxes they sell everywhere).

The biggest current project out there is the removal of trees and bushes. We took down a HUGE pine tree ourselves (what can I say? My husband likes chainsaws) and next are the bushes that line our fence along the entire backyard. We’re going to use that idea to stack wood to burn through the winter, and then put in a chicken coop (and yes, chickens!). That’s a project that may or may not be done by the end of the summer — we’ll see.

But the project that WILL be done is the trash that’s lined along the backside of the house. An old grill, some very LARGE old cardboard boxes… we need a dump run ASAP. Once that’s all cleaned up, it’ll be great.

And of course, our ongoing always-fun project of the summer — our garden.

Our 8 foot by 8 foot raised garden bed — prepped — before planting. And the bushes behind it that will be coming down!

We did end up planting the entire garden over this past weekend. We planted 2 types of tomatoes, zucchini, squash, eggplant, beans, sweet peas, pickling cucumbers, basil, and parsley. We had so many plants, some of them had to be planted in 5 gallon buckets along side. We also have strawberry plants in pots in the front of the house.

Will be posting updates as we make more progress in the yard — and as the garden starts growing and hopefully yielding lots of produce!

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Great blog with thoughts on labor & induction. I was given Pitocin during my first delivery because my water had broken and I was making ZERO progress. I’m not sure I’d agree to it again.

Doula Momma

There is a difference between elective induction and medical induction. Elective induction of labor is defined as the initiation of labor in a pregnant individual who has no medical indications for induction. Reasons for medical induction include: fetal distress, pre-eclampsia, uterine infection, premature rupture of membranes and other situations where the health of the mother or baby are compromised by continuing the pregnancy. One in five pregnancies are induced in the U.S. with some hospitals reporting induction rates as high as 50%. The medical induction group appears to be in the minority, however, since the 1999 Green Journal review reported that as many as 3 out of 4 labor inductions were performed without an indicated risk. (I cannot link the article and it is 10 years old but I would be willing to bet the stats aren’t any better now as induction rates have increased). In short that means that…

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Socialpunk: An Excerpt.

I’m currently taking part in reading a new book, “Socialpunk” by Monica Leonelle. This blog post is part of a 3 part series, one in which I’ll review the book, another will bring you a short interview with Monica herself, and this one — an actual excerpt from the book! So stay with us to find out more about “Socialpunk” and Monica! 

Excerpt #1: Prologue

After playing God for six years with the world he created, he couldn’t control any of his subjects, none at all. Over the years, he had watched them evolve and become the sum of their own choices rather than the sum of his; and for that, he regretted ever giving them life.

A small, blinking red light from just inside his eyelid reminded him of the news they sent him earlier that morning. The company had cancelled his funding and would shut down his project within three months. According to them, the project cost too much and took up too much space, and the inconclusive results couldn’t be published reputably, now or in the future.

Six years of his work, tens of thousands of lives at stake—and he could do nothing to save any of it. He bowed his head, letting his chin rest on the rim of his breakfast smoothie. The smoothie reeked of powder—crushed pills—but he supposed he had better get used to it. He wouldn’t be able to afford the luxury of real food after they canned him.

He closed his eyes and called up the camera view of one of his favorites, number 3281. She fascinated him; he couldn’t deny it. When he had designed her, her pre-teen rebelliousness lit fire in her eyes. A survivor, he’d thought. He’d meant for her to have it all—to grow up, to get married to the love of her life, and to have a beautiful family of her own someday.

But he had only given her sadness so far. Instead of creating a strict father, he had given her an abusive one. Instead of creating a loving boyfriend, he had given her a friend who could never love her. And instead of creating a strong, proud mother, he had given her a meek one, who watched the whole thing unfold and did nothing about it.

He looked at his last and final creation sitting in the chair across from him—his own son, not awakened yet. The law forbade him to have any children of his own, so this boy would substitute.

But he had done the unthinkable with this creation—he had bestowed on it his own thoughts, emotions, and decision-making processes. He’d given the boy his own mind, his own physical characteristics, his own wants and desires.

He had never done so with any of the others because of the dangers of investing too heavily in any one of his subjects. But who could he kid? He had not stayed objective thus far, watching some of his subjects more closely than others, wishing for the happiness of some at the expense of others. He had become an abomination, a monster of his own doing, who had created subjects only to watch them suffer.

He couldn’t forgive himself; not now, not ever. His eyes lingered on the vial that sat next to his breakfast smoothie, that he’d stowed away for the day when they destroyed all his work, his entire world. He would save it, tuck it away for now, for as long as he could protect them. When things spun out of his control, he would drink it and end himself the way he had ended them.

In the ancient stories, gods frequently gave their sons as gifts. Now, he would give his son as a gift to her, number 3281. So she could be happy in her last months on earth, before they destroyed her with the rest of them.

 

Make sure to check back here for the upcoming interview and review! 

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