Mess-free toddler painting… yes, really!

Norman loves this painting activity because it is quite loud and fun… But it isn’t messy!

First you need a can (I usually use an old formula can but you could use a coffee can or whatever you have available).

Place some paint in the can along with several marbles. Add your paper cut to the right size.

Last, give the can to your baby or toddler to roll, kick and shake! The more action the better.

We’ve done a variety of colors in the past, but this week I cut out hearts and put them in the can with red, pink, white and purple paint to create Valentines. I think they turned out super cute!




Exploring my One Little Word – Mindful(ness)


As I’ve been exploring my word for the year in the Ali Edwards workshop, I’ve struggled to put into words what mindfulness means to me.

Last weekend we were able to go to the beach for the first time with our son and watching him and my husband I thought to myself, “This is what I want. to just focus on these moments and to feel at peace.” It was such a wonderful, relaxing day and it was so much fun, too! I’m hoping to carry that feeling through the year. Ali encourages us to make our words visible so I’ve printed out this photo and placed it above my desk where I work each day.

7ThingsMindfulMy aunt has graciously subscribed me to Mindful Magazine for the year and I can’t wait to explore it as I continue my OLW journey. Their tagline is “taking time for what matters.” How perfect is that? I found the graphic at the left on their Facebook page and I think that it is so helpful in understanding mindfulness. Number 1 is easy when you have a little one. Watching him learn and discover everyday reminds you of the wonder around you like nothing else can. Number 2 and number 5 are big areas of struggle that I will be working on this year!

Making banana pancakes… yum.

IMG_3060In case you are wondering, yes I am listening to Jack Johnson right now… Is there any other way to write a post about banana pancakes? I think not!

After seeing several recipes for banana pancakes on Pinterest, I decided to whip up some of my own for the little guy. I used a buckwheat pancake mix and followed the directions on the back of the bag. I made one modification to help use up the baby food purees that the little man now refuses to eat, though. Instead of just water I added the pureed sweet potatoes that he now hates. They turned out great!

I tried two variations as well. In the first I put a little bit of batter in the pan, added a banana slice and then put a bit more batter over the bananaIMG_3063. In the second, I just dipped the banana slice into the batter and put it in the pan. The second method made much smaller pancakes and it made them harder to flip. In the future I will definitely stick with option 1!

What was the verdict? The little guy ate the majority of one of the larger pancakes this morning so I’d call it a success! I also liked that these were a little more healthy than a waffle or traditional pancake.

Recipe Rating: Weelicious Broccoli Cheese Patties

IMG_3044If Norman could type, I’d make him post this review himself but alas he isn’t quite able to do so yet. Baby bear is at the stage where he isn’t as into purees as he used to be but he also can’t always have what I’m having either. Since he only has two teeth we have to be somewhat selective on our food choices for him. Enter my Pinterest “Toddler Food” board and Weelicious.

IMG_3046These patties looked simple enough and contained ingredients I already had around the kitchen (score). You can see the delicious patties to the left. Yummy. If I had it to do over I would make them a little smaller and flatter but overall they turned out well.

I taste tested them and thought they tasted pretty darn good! The true test of course was to see if baby enjoyed them… YES! He devoured two patties at dinner and another two for lunch the next day. A resounding success! My overall Pinterest project rating for this recipe is 4 out of 5 pins!

This one is about poop (and why I cloth diaper)

Our friend rocking a cloth diaper! Photo courtesy of Caitlin.
Our friend rocking a cloth diaper! Photo courtesy of Caitlin.

If the title hasn’t scared you away, read on for more about our cloth diaper adventures! Before my son was born hubby and I discussed cloth diapering and he was firmly against it. During those early newborn days when we were going through a million diapers a day (ok, maybe only half a million) I mentioned it again. Our son HATED to be even the slightest bit wet or dirty and it seemed like a good option since we were going through so many diapers a day! After much discussion, I told him he’d never have to wash them or clean the dreaded poop and he relented. I happily logged on to the interwebs to get some fluff for my boy.

After some research I decided to try prefolds and covers since they were an inexpensive way to get started. I ordered from Kelly’s Closet because they have a rewards program and I thought it would be nice to get those diaper dollars back so we could buy even more fluff. Well, they sent a free pocket diaper with my order and I soon discovered that I vastly preferred that style to the prefold and cover system. I still have my Flip diapers but they aren’t my go-to system these days. We love our pocket diapers and the flexibility they offer to stuff with various materials to keep our heavy wetter dry and happy.

Norman rocking a cloth diaper while investigating a Pinterest Sensory Board project.
Norman rocking a cloth diaper while investigating a Pinterest Sensory Board project.

I know what you are thinking… isn’t cloth diapering gross? What the heck do you do with the poop? I’m here to tell you that as a mom I’ve had many, many gross things happen. Poop happens and yes, it can be gross. Which is why at the top of my Christmas list was the Bumkins Cloth Diaper sprayer. My husband questioned whether I could truly want a diaper sprayer for Christmas and I assured him I did! Now I can just spray the diaper gently into the toilet and voila, no poop. No dunking and swishing (that was truly gross). The soiled diaper goes into wet bag until laundry day and life is good again!

Do you have more questions about cloth? I’d love to hear them in the comments!

Mommy’s little helper – the ultimate under-eye concealer!


I’ve very loyal. I’m also very traditional. So breaking routine and trying new products — especially on my face — is a big deal for me! Enter ipsy.

If you don’t know ipsy, it’s a more budget-friendly version of Birchbox. For $10 a month, you get five beauty products to try, which are catered to your profile (ie: I get products appropriate for my fair skin).

I don’t love every product, but a few have become must-have essentials in my daily routine. My latest fav is this under-eye concealer by “it cosmetics.” The sample I received is “neutral medium” and is just perfect for my porcelain haven’t-slept-in-five-years complexion.

It’s a liquid in a tube that you warm between your fingers until it’s a tad more fluid. Then, you can use just a smidge on a Sunday or A WHOLE BOAT LOAD on a Monday morning (like I did an hour ago). You layer as needed and it never gets cakey. It also doesn’t budge all day. My little sample is .11 fl.oz. and I’ve barely put a dent in it over the past two months – so I’m guessing the full-size tube would last well beyond your normal concealer investment.

I don’t rave about products often, but this one is worth my blah blahs. I’m so fair my under-eye area is borderline blue on some days — even when well rested — so the fact that this makes me look like I just got back from a (kid-free) vacation is EPIC. I’ll spare you my Monday morning mom eyes, but some great before and after shots are on the product’s page. Check it out!

Salt you, sinuses!


It’s that time of year again — when I walk slowly down the cold and allergy aisle at Target and reluctantly find the nasal rinse box. I’ve been here before, you see. But I despise the entire process. And avoid it at all costs — despite recommendations from my doctor, my allergist, my handsome hubby and even Dr. Oz!

The hubs likes to call me “train wreck,” but I prefer “a mess up, from the neck up” as my issues are fairly localized between nasty allergies and unpredictable migraines. And they land me back in this exact spot almost annually.

This winter has been especially brutal. Our weather in Charlotte has been fluctuating almost weekly, which makes my sinuses inflame to the point of inducing a migraine. “Normal” people would pop some Ibuprofen or Aleve and move on with their lives, but I’m allergic to the entire NSAID family (more on that another time). I have a great migraine prescription that knocks them out for most of the day, but with only nine pills allowed each month, I’ve begun looking for alternatives. Again. So I’m back buying a saline nasal rinse. Again.

Nasal rinses come in many forms — from this simple plastic bottle to a blue neti pot to a pulsating water-shooting device. I’ve tried the first two, and much prefer the bottle to the neti pot, which makes me picture a genie magically appearing inside my nose (RIP Robin Williams).

The process isn’t hard. You add warm water and one packet of the nasal rinse salt stuff, which dissolves immediately. You jam the device into one nostril, squeeze or pour, and wait for the solution to come out the other nostril. This cleans your sinuses (and causes some really attractive coughing, drooling, choking, etc. – if you’re me). Lean. Over. Your. Sink. 

Each year, I try it — feel better for a few days — and then toss the little bottle aside. It’s not pleasant. It’s messy. And I dread it every day. I enjoy tossing the little bottle aside. But this year — things will be different! I will continue the rinse cycle for all 50 packets that came with it. I WILL. I’ll keep my little headache log and let you all know if it’s worth the whole ordeal or not. Let’s hope it is!!!

Latest update: purchased at noon. Used at 1 p.m. — haven’t had a headache since, which is monumental as I’ve had one almost non-stop since Thursday night. Happy New Year to me.