We were gifted a Hello Highlights subscription by Ellie’s grandpa and we love them! We got our first one when Ellie was 4 months old and I would read them to her and show her the pictures.
As Ellie gets older she now is enjoying them more and more, she will flip through them herself as the pictures are bright and engaging. She will also sit with me and we will point out images, it’s the most adorable thing watching her learn what different things are. She will point at animal like ducks and say “quack” or at different things naming them as she points “apple”, “puppy”, “eyes”, “noes” and so on.
We both enjoy the stories, songs and tips that come in these books. They have little notes helping with the tunes of the songs or with suggestions for different activities that can be done with the pages.
A great thing about these books is each month there is a different theme, clothes, food, animals and these books help with learning new words and identifying different things. The pictures are so engaging too, Ellie sometimes will be over books quickly if there aren’t enough images but these books will keep her attention for a long time in comparison to most.
Ellie has a few of these all over the house, she even has some in the car to read on trips. She knows where they are and will grab for them often to look through or bring to us to read through and do the tasks with her.
Another great features about the Hello Highlights is that they seem almost indestructible. When Ellie was younger she’d try chewing on board books fraying some of the corners or she’d rip out some of the peekaboo flaps in her peekaboo books. However her hello fresh books look as new as the day we opened them, she hasn’t been able to chew one apart or rip one yet!! And luckily for us this book destroying faze seems to be coming to an end, so isn’t an issue anymore. Though I knew this was a completely normal faze, it was just nice having something that almost seems indestructible to not worry about her getting a hold of.
I was gifted the new Urban Decay Stay Naked The Fix Powder Foundation by Influenster. When I first opened it I fell in love with the packaging, I know it’ll look great in my makeup bag or on my vanity and yes I’m one of those people who care about package not just the product when spending $39 on a powder foundation.
The formula it’s self is great, applies smoothly and leaves my face feeling soft and looking flawless when applied on top of my foundation. My only remark would be that some people may not find this full coverage, if you’re someone with perfect skin or only ever get a few blemish you would most likely use this product alone and consider it full coverage.
I personally have rosacea and just this powder alone didn’t help mute it. I think it might work well for someone with acne to reduces the redness whilst still looking very natural. However I like my full coverage to be FULL coverage, this powder did work well for me though. I always wear foundation and powder, that for me is normal. So perhaps it’s just the coverage I’ve become used to seeing.
I do feel with this product I could wear a less heavy foundation and still get that coverage I am looking for, which is great! It layered nicely which not all powders do, I will definitely keep this in my rotation. I am personally really interested to see how it will do for me in summer, I think I’ll be able to achieve the full coverage look I like but with less product so that my makeup doesn’t feel or look too heavy.
What’s your favorite powder foundation for layering? Have you tried the Urban Decay Stay Naked The Fox Powder Foundation?
If you like reviewing products, having somewhere to search recommendations or want the chance to receive free products you should check out Influenster!! Here’s my referral link www.influenster.com/r/1414238
My daughter and I have been going to story time since she was close to 4 months. We had tried a few different locations that hosted story time in our area and found the one that suited us best. Some others locations had been to crowded or weren’t at times that worked for us, Ellie NEEDS her midday nap and mama needs a happy Ellie.
I could tell she loved story time from the first time we went! In the beginning she would just baby watch and I could tell she was just raring to join in. I had posted many videos on my Instagram of Ellie sitting, on all fours, crawling and standing and had many moms messaging asking how I had been encouraging her to hit these milestones early.
Firstly this was not my doing she is a very independent baby when it comes to everything. I do feel a couple things did help to motivator her though. There’s also a few things to remember when it comes to milestones, firstly all babes are so unique and though your child may hit milestones earlier or later this won’t effect them in future, don’t worry they will still get into a good college! Enjoy each step for what it is, soon they will be running around and you won’t get a break! I miss the days of sitting on the floor and playing, now I’m running all over stopping my little girl from playing with things she shouldn’t be or from getting hurt.
I would definitely say if your looking to help motivate your little one go to story time or any outing that puts your baby round their peers. My daughter would see babies at story time and her friends at play dates moving in ways she hasn’t yet and I can see her watching and trying to figure out how to do it herself. I really think seeing other little people like herself doing these things makes her realize she can too!
I would say try a few story times out! They don’t cost, many library’s offer them so it’s easy to find one that works for you and importantly your little.
Story time I also think is great for moms, being a SAHM or even a working mum can be isolating. It’s nice to have others to talk to who understand what you’re going through with raising a baby and able to share in the highs and lows. It’s great to be able to share advise and tips, even if really we’re all just winging it and trying to do our best!
Where are some places you like to take your little to socialize and get out of the house? Swimming? Gymnastics? Music classes?
I feel like a night time skincare routine is so important but while there isn’t a one-size-fits-all routine, I definitely think there are some steps everyone should follow. Here is the steps I follow for my night time skincare routine and a few tips
It’s definitely best to get into an eye cream when you are young as a preventative step. The skin round our eyes is thin and can be tell tale sign of aging, I personally got into adding eye cream regularly into my routine a little later then I probably should have so am also working to try reverse the dark circles I’ve accumulated from late nights in college to late nights as a mom. My go to eye cream is Orgins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream to Brighten and Depuff, which I go into more detail about in my blog post – my first voxbox.
If you like to indulge in a little self care and find yourself with the time, applying a face mask once or twice a week can be a great additional step. I’d do this after cleansing and before the rest of my routine. You have different mask types for combating different skin care needs. Here’s a link to my blog about my favorite face masks – Face Mask Favorites
Skin care is so important for fighting age and for a base to makeup. Lots of makeup professionals will tell you if you have the extra money to put it into skincare before the makeup products themselves. A great base is going to allow you to apply lots of different makeup products and they will look better on a great canvas rather then buying expensive makeup products in hopes it’ll hide problem areas on your skin.
Don’t forget to drink water, its something our bodies need and can make such a difference to our skin and health. This is something I have to remind myself often.
What are some skin care products you swear by? Do you have any tips, tricks or things you do differently for your night Time skin care routine?
With Ellie’s allergies I like adjusting recipes so they’re safe for her, if you want to know more about Ellie’s allergies here’s a link to a post I did about her allergy story so far – Ellie’s Allergy journey
Let me start by saying the recipes I post about are allergy friendly not allergy safe. So many people have different allergies to different foods and what’s safe for one person may not be for the next but hopefully this recipe can be adjusted to work for you!!
For pancakes we usually only need to worry about an egg replacement, though sometimes I’ll use a dairy free milk depending on what we have in our fridge.
The simplest thing I’ve found for replacing egg in pancake recipes is apple sauce. You use 1/4 cup apples sauce in place of 1 egg. This works for home made recipes and in conjunction with store bought mixes, we just have to check ourselves that the store bought mix is egg free. Sometimes I also add a dash of baking powder when using apple sauce to replace eggs in recipes, to help the recipe rise when making baked goods.
Do you or your child have allergy’s? If you happen to know any tricks for egg free backing or have any go to recipes let me know!
We visit family often and when traveling before we had Ellie, we seemed to have a lot for just Cameron, the dogs, and I. We would have our clothes, things needed for showering and getting ready each day and the dog’s food, treats, bed, pen, harnesses, and leashes.
This seemed to take up a lot of the room in the car, once Ellie arrived the next time we were planning to travel we knew we would also have Ellie’s car seat. We also had to have room for Ellie’s diaper bag, clothes, pack and play, and a few favorite toys too of course.
Our suitcase had always been full before with everything for Cameron and I but I knew I could condense my makeup and shower items, to make room for Ellie’s clothes. Rather than packing another smaller suitcase which would mean we would have more to lug in and out of the car.
Firstly I condensed my hair products, I knew I needed shampoo, conditioner. I’d usually just take my regular size hairspray, dry shampoo and styling products as there was room for these. I knew the first move to condense these would be using travel size products. This alone made a huge difference clearing up space in our luggage.
Secondly, I condensed a makeup bag with shower and skincare items again using travel size products when I could. The Ulta or Sephora favorite boxes are great for getting these without having to buy each individual product separately, which helps save’s money. I personally like the Ulta boxes for skincare and bath travel sizes as they’re reasonably priced and often on great sales.
Wash Bag 1. It cosmetics Cleanser 2. It cosmetics eye cream 3. It cosmetics lotion 4.Mario Badescu toner 5. Lano multi-balm 6. Soap & Glory shower gel 7. Hempz moisturizer 8. Body Shop body butter 9. Razor 10. Wax strips 11. Cotton rounds 12. Hair Clips
My last thing to condense and also the hardest was my makeup. I love makeup and find it can be hard to pick favorites or to leave favorites behind in favor of sample sizes to save room.
Once I had condensed my make bag this then became my five-minute mum makeup bag. I will be discussing this in my next blog post, my five-minute makeup, and tips and tricks to make your routine faster. For anyone trying to optimize their time or for someone in a hurry, like me as a SAHM.
What’s are your must haves when traveling? Do you have any tips or product suggestions for traveling lighter or packing more efficiently?
In true stereotypical style, I love tea! My favorite is a typical breakfast tea, how it seems most Americans I know have a coffee to start their day right. I need my tea in the morning to start mine. I also love teas for natural remedies before taking medicines, it’s great to see if something as simple as tea can help.
I love peppermint and ginger for when I’m feeling queasy, ginger tea was a lifesaver during my first trimester. I also had raspberry leaf tea that I started taking on my due date as this some people swear by to induce labor.
Once we had Ellie there were points of times I was worried about my milk production and would drink mothers milk tea. I’m not sure if it was the tea itself or the extra fluid I was having due to drinking more tea but this definitely helped my supply!
I also am someone who doesn’t love the taste of water so I drink hot and iced teas to help with fluid intake. In the winter months when I want a warm drink throughout the day but don’t want to drink caffeine all day long or have too many sugary hot cocoas, YUM! I will drink fruit teas, my favorite are raspberry, mixed berry, blueberry, and peach to name a few.
My husband and I also enjoy sleepy time tea some evenings if we’ve been finding it hard to fall asleep. I felt this was a great help when transitioning Ellie into her room as I was finding it hard to fall asleep with not having her right there beside me.
I also know once breastfeeding is coming to an end I will drink more peppermint tea to help dry up my supply. This is a natural way to help and hopefully, this will help me avoid engorgement.
In all transparency, I do have coffee from time to time at home and 99.9% of the time when I’m out. If I find myself at Starbucks or one of the many coffee shops here in Seattle, I will order a specialty coffee, I find hot teas are usually disappointing from coffee shops. I will in summer order ice teas out, which I love! But can never make quite as delicious at home, I’m probably in denial about the amount of sugar I have to add.
Do you have any teas you swear by for natural remedies or that you just love the taste off? Or are you more of a coffee drinker?
Recently I was talking to a friend about tea sets, our girls were playing with them at a play place and it just reminded me of all the tea party’s I had as a little girl and it brought back such great memories.
Ellie recently has become obsessed with tea sets! She was playing with them at friend’s houses when I first considered getting her one. Then when we went to a play place she was loving playing pretend with the cups, saucers, and teapots there.
So I thought it would make a great gift for her for Christmas. When searching I found the most beautiful set at Pottery Barn. So I ordered it online for my husband to pick up at University Village in Seattle. They had a few designs but this was my favorite and I thought Ellie would love it!
She loves to pretend to pour tea, she will hand out cups and saucers and pour tea for everyone!!
I love that the set is tin, it’s sturdy but also beautiful and came with a lovely carry case that makes cleaning up easy. This also means Ellie always knows where her tea set is when she’s ready to play with it again.
I personally choose Ellie’s toys thinking about longevity, she’s very strong and at the time we were going to gift her the tea sets she was going to be 18 months. So I wanted to make sure it would last not only the test of time but the test of Ellie too!
Did you love tea sets when you were little? Have you brought one for your little’s yet or plan too?
As a new-ish mum, I spent a lot of time looking up places I could take Ellie for us to get out of the house and in order for us to socialize. I wanted Ellie to be around her peers, I wanted her to interact, socialize and learn skills such as sharing (she is young and we are still working on this always). These skills I feel she wouldn’t be able to learn very well if we stayed home all the time.
I also wanted to get out and socialize for my sanity! When Ellie was first born I was learning the ropes in my new role as a mum and the days seemed to fly by. With getting the hang of breastfeeding, soothing and rocking her for naps, changing her, bathing her and encouraging tummy time the first few weeks went by easily. It was when Ellie started dropping naps and having longer wake windows that I found it harder to keep her entertained.
At home, she had many toys we had brought or been gifted by family and friends, but she would seem bored at times. This was starting to take its toll and make the day drag on. Before when she would nap I could tidy and nap myself, they say to always nap when your baby does and I sure did love napping back when I could. All these things meant by the time I had gotten myself and Ellie together for the day my husband was home and the evenings we spent together as a family so he could get his Ellie time.
Now I was needing to find things to fill my time, as a stay at home mum I was looking for free (not including fuel to get to and from) to inexpensive things I could do with Ellie.
The first thing I had tried with Ellie was Story Time and I talk more about that and the benefits of going in my blog post – Story Time. This is also the first place I met good mum friends that I know I will be friends with until we are all old and gray!
After having tried Story Time the next play place we tried was baby gymnastics. Many of the local gymnastic centers in our area have free baby gym times, this is half an hour to an hour of open play for babies 4 months until walking. We had gone to the baby gymnastic closes to where we lived and loved it! Once Ellie was walking we were sad to no longer have this in our weekly routine. They do have open plays a few days a week which is $10 for 2 hrs, this is very reasonable for every now and again. Personally, for $10 a week I wouldn’t go weekly to the same place, I would try different places weekly at this price point, especially in the winter. I feel this would become a stagnant place with Ellie not enjoying herself and appreciating her time there if we were to go weekly.
We have visited a few mall open play areas, However with these being smaller if it’s a busy time these places quickly become overrun with older children so we don’t stop often. I also don’t find myself at malls often recently, though this can be a great place to mall stroll if the weather isn’t great.
We’ve also been to a hand full of designated play places, these are places that have sections for different ages usually a crawler section, toddler section and then a “big” kid play area. The ones in our area range from $6-$12, or the ones we’ve visited anyway, they have all also had punch cards were after attending so many times you get a free play. These cards are great as when the weather isn’t great if you find yourself visiting these places often you will most likely be able to take advantage of these passes, honestly we are yet to!
Our favorite play place we had visited is a children’s museum, we went recently for one of Ellie’s friends birthdays and everyone had a blast! We visited KidsQuest in Bellevue, Wa. There were many rooms and areas with different themes and they even had an area for 0-3 which seems like it is great if you had to younger kids close in age to not have to worry about anyone escaping.
There was a playshop, farm animals, toy trains, building blocks, atrium climber and a water playroom which seemed to be everyone’s favorite! Museums can get expensive if you pay per visit and go a couple of times it’ll add up. However most places like this over a membership, these usually are the cost if you were to go a handful of times. I enjoy memberships knowing if I was to go a minimum of every two months I wouldn’t lose out on any money and if we go more then its a bargain! With so much interactive play and so much to do in the time we were there we weren’t able to do everything before we had to leave for nap time. We will be going back!
Do you have a favorite play place in your area? If you’re in Washington state and have any other suggestions leave them in the comments were always looking for new places to explore!
My current hair favorites that help me take care of my hair, style and tame it. If you were to usually see me in my day to day as a SAHM you would see my hair thrown up in a bun. However, when I leave the house even if it’s just to go to the shop I’ll do my hair as this always makes me feel a little more put together. If I have the time my favorite way to style my hair is to curling it, tight curls, loose curls, and beach waves. If I don’t have time to curl my hair I will brush it out and straighten it, my natural hair is somewhere in the unknown between straight and curl that can’t be left unstyled without looking like a lion’s main.
Once I’ve washed my hair and it’s still damp (towel dried), I then take into consideration what I have planned for the next few days. Where I will be going and what I will be doing and then I can know what products I’ll need. If we have plans to go anywhere or do anything where I think I’ll be taking lots of pictures, then I know I want my style to last and my hair to look as full of body for as long as possible. If this is the case then I will reach for a Thickening Lotion and Anti Gravity Spray, My current favorites are by Kevin Murphy. I always use an oil after blowing drying and heat styling and will often use one on my damp hair before styling too. Recently I’ve been enjoying Redken’s Diamond Oil Blow Dry, I brought this in a travel size to try out I love the formula and scent but find this product to be a little pricey as its very comparable to less expensive alternatives.
I also enjoy Living Proof styling products when I’m not using my Kevin Murphy ones on my damp hair, recently I’m loving Living Proof T.B.D multi-tasking styler. If I don’t have plans or know I’ll just be running errands I reach for my less expensive styling products, I love Not Your Mothers All Eyes On Me spray. I find it comparable to it’s a ten but the price point means I feel less guilty using it if I end up not going anywhere and it smells amazing.
Once I’ve run my product of choice through my hair I then blow it out. If I’m just staying in for the night or not styling my hair further I will run a little more of my redkin oil through the ends to finish up.
If I plan to heat style my hair I’ll use Not Your Mothers All Eyes On Me 10-in-1 Hair Perfector, I feel it is important to use a heat protector and this is one of the many functions of this spray. My current daily hair spray is Not Your Mothers She’s a Tease Volumizing Hairspray, If I’m curling my hair I will often spray each section before curling which can use quite a bit of product. This price of this spray and functionality gets the job done!
If I want my hair to last rather then using too much of the Not Your Mother’s hair spray, I will use Joico’s Power Spray Fast-Dry Finishing Spray. A little of this product does a lot meaning you get a great long-lasting hold without getting crispy hair!
Once I’m done styling my hair, whether I’m throwing it up in a bun, straightening or curling it, I always finish off my style with Joico’s JoiFix Medium Finishing Spray. This finishing spray sets your look in place for the day and also helps with the look of frizz, I will spray this spray and if I have any flyaways brush my hair out or run my fingers over my hair and its as if they’re gone!
Then the final touch, if I have a special event or just want to feel and look like I’m glowing, is to use Kevin Murphy’s Shimmer Shine repairing hair shine mist. This mist gives a great glow to your hair and my husband always compliments the smell, I think he thinks I’m wearing a different perfume!
What are your favorite hair products? I get through dry shampoo and hair spray pretty often so I am always looking to try new ones! What’s your favorite hair oil if you use one? I think I’ll be switching up my redkin… one once I’m through it.
Trigger warning I do mention bodily fluid and blood though I will not be posting pictures in reference to these incidents.
Since Ellie was born she had very runny stools several times a day, as first time parents we didn’t think much of this until around 3 months old she started having diarrhea upwards of 10 times a day. This would cause the worst diaper rashes and we also started finding blood in her stools. Along with these symptoms she had gotten a lot of eczema around the same time, as well as cradle cap, excessive spit up and throwing up on occasion. which we hadn’t realized yet correlated with the foods I had been eating and her exposure through breastfeeding.
We went to her pediatrician who suggested a dairy or soy allergy and also referred us to GI (gastroenteritis). I cut dairy and soy out of my diet and she still wasn’t improving so I decided to go top 8 free whilst we waited to get in to see the GI doctor. Top 8 includes Milk, Eggs, peanuts, Tree nuts (such as almonds, cashews and walnuts), Fish, Shellfish, soy and wheat.
We found this surprisingly easy to do, it wasn’t the tastiest or cheapest diet but we saw a little improvement with Ellie so kept it up until we got in to see the GI. He told us that sometimes babies have chronic diarrhea until they’re toddlers so this didn’t concern him but the blood in her stool was cause for concern but we had noticed was becoming less and less the long we stayed top 8 free. He suggested we slowly every two weeks add something back into our diet and see if anything got worse again.
Trial and error was the suggestion.
We followed the advice slowly adding things back into our diet but by the time we got to this point Ellie’s pediatrician had suggested adding solids into her diet. We decided to try give her avocado as this seamed like a good choice for a first food, after one taste she refused it and developed a few hives. The next morning her eczema on her face had flared up, we assumed this was down to the acidity and maybe the avocado not being ripe enough.
As she seemed to not enjoy this we moved on to banana the next time we tried solids, again Ellie refused to eat this and raspberried it down her face. Then her face, neck and chest were covered with hives. We rushed her to the walk in clinic nearest to us as it looked awful. They said to give Benadryl and gave us a referral to an allergist as it seemed to be an allergic reaction.
We put trying foods on hold for Ellie and we stopped our top 8 free diet as at this point we felt she was most likely allergic to bananas which I had been eating daily, when her reactions had been worse. I cut bananas and avocado out of my diet as she seemed to have a smaller reaction to the avocados too. We got in quickly to see a pediatric allergist.
The evening before going we made Carbonara for dinner, traditionally with fresh eggs. After dinner I breastfed Ellie and she vomited a few times, which was concerning, other then vomiting though she seemed fine. In the morning she had diarrhea again and quite a bit of visible blood in her stool again, we were pretty sure egg was the culprit. We brought up all the foods we thought could be bothering Ellie to the allergist and they did a scratch test.
The scratch test was positive to egg, with the results for egg showing such a large reaction that they think if she was to directly eat egg it could result in an anaphylactic reaction. Though there is no way to know for sure without reaction. We were prescribed epipen jrs(epinephrine) and told to avoid eggs and products that had egg in them.
We were also told to introduce peanut products into her diet and to have her have them three times a week. Now that she was diagnosed with food allergies they said she was more susceptible to others.
With the scratch test the can only check for a finite amount of allergies. So they ask what things you think your child might be allergic to and also check for top 8.
Once we cut the foods she was allergic too out of her diet within a few weeks her eczema was clear, she stopped spitting up and she was down from pooping upwards of ten times a day to only going once or twice a day. This lasted a few months.
About three months later her eczema returned, as did the lose stools. I suspected peanuts, we had been advised as she was susceptible to allergies to add peanut products into her diet three times a week. She had been eating them fine it seemed for 3 months but then after she would eat them she would get a rash on her face and her other symptoms would also be exacerbated.
We cut out the peanuts and made another appointment to go back to the allergist. Between booking the appointment and going back to the allergist Ellie also had an allergic reaction to sesame seed. This was her worse reaction from exposure yet. We had given her humus and her face, neck, chest, tummy, arms, hands, legs and anywhere on her body she touch was being covered in hives.
They decide this time to do a blood test to see the ige level of her allergy to egg and other foods we suspected. Again with pulling blood you have a finite amount of tests you can do as you only draw so much blood at a time.
Ellie’s results came back with high positives to egg whites, egg yokes, sesame and low positives to peanut and tree nuts. They also decided to do another scratch test and had me bring in the foods we suspected she was allergic too. They wanted to mash the fresh foods and test with those, as her banana and avocados test had come back negative before and they had mentioned that sometimes this is due to that they’re testing with essence and not a fresh sample so it’s not always as clear a result.
At the allergist she was diagnosed with allergies to egg white, egg yolk, sesame, banana, kiwi, avocado and low allergy levels to tree nuts and peanuts. They say reaction always trumps testing, and we new with how Ellie was after banana, avocado and kiwi that there was an allergy and testing with the fresh components confirmed this.
With the low level to tree nuts and peanuts they suggest reintroduction a different tree nuts one at a time, starting with cashew her lowest allergy level positive on her blood test. Straight away her eczema flared up and her stools were lose and her toshy had a rash and hives from contact with the stool, though we had changed her immediately. Again reaction trumps test results and so we held back on reintroducing these to her diet.
Ellie has now been free from all her allergies including peanuts and tree nuts now for a year. Her stools are normal for a toddler, she goes day between pooping which is her normal and her eczema is completely gone.
It’s been surprisingly easy after the first few months to navigate the diet changes but it’s now second nature what we can and can’t eat and checking packaging. The only thing is eating out is difficult, sometimes its easier/safer to stay in and make a nice meal. Luckily Cameron’s a great cook! This is easier then going out and having to ask a hundred questions and believe that they have got the information right.
Do you have any allergies in your family? There are some great community pages on Facebook if you’re ever looking for recipes or solidarity!
Ellie only takes one nap a day now, usually around 12.30pm from any when from 30 minutes upwards to a few hours. This is when I can have “me time” my me time now consists of quick showers, laundry, prepping dinner or picking up after hurricane Ellie.
Ellie’s sleeps in her day bed for naps, so every now and then I’ll nap with her. She’s been teething which has lead to some rough nights meaning this mama needs a nap too!! When I’m not napping with Ellie she’s sure to have picked out a “baby” as she calls her bears and soft animals, to keep her company.