Staying away from Sugary Drinks

I’m definitely not a health nut, but I do try to make sure I’m giving Emerson nutritious foods and starting him off with good eating habits. I let him have a piece of chocolate after dinner occasionally and have even been known to let him have syrup on his waffles in the morning.

I think moderation is a good word for the amount of sweets he’s allowed. One thing I’ve really kept him away from is sugary drinks. He doesn’t drink anything other than water and prince juice and I’d like to keep it that way as long as I can.

As he’s gotten older it’s been harder and harder to keep him away from the ‘good tasting’ drinks. Recently I’ve started giving him fruit infused water and it’s been a big hit in our house. I’ve been using the Twistshake sippy cup which allows me to water and the fruit of my choice to make infused water! It’s so much cheaper than buying flavored water from the store and as an added bonus I know exactly what is going in it!

I’ve been following the Twistshake company for a while, but I thought they only made baby bottles. You can read how the company started here, but basically they created an awesome bottle to help moms avoid the formula clumping up and logging the bottle.  Anyways, after the company reached out to me I discovered they make  way more than just baby bottles. I’ve fallen in love with the toddler sippy cup for a few reasons. 1. It can make infused water (duh!) 2. It doesn’t leak so I can give it to Emerson in his crib and not worry about him waking up covered in water, 3. it doesn’t use a straw piece, which is great because Emerson knows how to open his cups and is always hiding the straw.

Because Twistshake is awesome they have offered a discount to all my followers! If you order you can use to code BUSINESSOFBLONDE30 and you’ll get 30% off your order! Thank you Twistshake for sponsoring my post today.

Cooking with my Toddler

Recently, Emerson has been showing tons of interest in the kitchen and specializing in ‘cooing’ aka cooking. My first instinct as a mom is to keep him away from the kitchen so I can keep him safe. However, my ultimate goal is to raise strong, independent and capable children and letting him help is a great way to give him some ownership.  Our step-stool is the perfect height to get him up to the counter. We let him master climbing up and down on the step-stool with our supervision on the carpet before we moved it into the kitchen. Also, for safety reasons, we keep it folded up when we’re not around to monitor him.

I just love watching him try to copy what I do! It’s like I get a window into his little mind when we’re cooking and I can see him think things through and recall what he’s seen in the past. I know his fine motor skills are improving and he’s gaining the confidence to eventually do things on his own. Some of him favorite tasks to help with are stirring, cutting (with a butter knife) and tasting the food (of course!) He’ll actually get annoyed with me when I try to help him stir anymore! 

There are some additional benefits to having him help me. I have noticed a difference in his eating. Like most toddlers, Emerson will love something one day and hate it the next. The more involved he is with helping with the cooking process the more he is willing to try new foods. It’s also given us an opportunity to have some bonding time, something that has been more difficult with the addition of Eloise. Lastly, I can keep a close eye on him while simultaneously making a meal, instead of trusting him to play with the toys while I cook in a different room. 

It’s definitely not always picture perfect when he helps. Each task takes three times as long and I’m always on edge because there are so many way he can get hurt. We also get our fair share of meltdowns whether it’s because I won’t let him touch a hot pan or because we’re all done and he wants to keep cooking. But overall I love the quality time we get together and really hope he continues to be ‘moms little helper’ as he gets older.

Do your kids help in the kitchen? What’s your favorite meal to make together? Ours is cheesy scrambled eggs!

Favorite Christmas Pajamas

 

One I Two I Three I Four I Five I Six I Seven I Eight I Nine I Ten

Christmas pajamas are a must in my house, so I decided to round up some of my very favorites this year. Now that we have Eloise I really want to get the kids coordinating pajamas each year to wear on Christmas eve. I mean, let’s be real, I’ll probably end up buying them a few pairs of new pjs because they’re so stinking cute!!

The holiday season is always the time of year I’m thankful for the house we have. When we were looking for a house I really wanted a fireplace, but told myself there was no way we could get one within our price range. Then all the stars aligned and God brought us the absolute perfect house, ideal location, in budget, and yes a FIREPLACE! We even have a beautiful mantel to hang all of our stockings from. I can’t wait to light a fire and snuggle my babies all season long.

Does your family have any traditions that involve pajamas?? Comment and let me know!

 

Favorite Shops Started by MOMS

Happy Wednesday everyone! I thought I’d do something a little different today and round up some of my favorite shops. Want to know the best part of the post today? Every shop I’ve listed was started by a mom to help support her family. Recently, I’ve become passionate about shopping small and helping out other moms or businesses that are local. I love knowing exactly where my money is going and who it’s supporting!

I’ve rounded up some of my favorite baby/mama shops and they were all started by moms.

Declan + Crew

Declan+ Crew is known for their ‘posing for the mamarazzi’ shirts, but everything they have is amazing. In a closet full of shirts I always find myself reaching for their stuff.

Sincere Elephant 

Started by a teacher, turned stay-at-home-mom, turned work-at-home-mom they have my all time favorite nursing cover! I have this buffalo check print which is perfect for fall/ winter. They also have the cutest banana bibs ever!

Freshly Picked

I’ve been in love with this company since I first saw them on Shark Tank! I will admit I was skeptical about the price tag on their leather moccasins, but now I’m obsessed. We have one pair for Eloise, plus we used them as shoes for Emerson when he was first learning to walk and got compliments on them all the time. Since they have a super thin sole they are ideal for new walkers!

Fawn Design 

My all time favorite diaper bag company. Started by a mom who couldn’t find what she was looking for so she made it. Faux leather bags that can be worn as shoulder bags or as backpacks.

Little Poppy Co

Started by not one, but two mamas. Little Poppy Co is an awesome subscription service for girl moms. You get three bows in the mail each month and they are so adorable! I haven’t signed up yet, but once Eloise is a little older I know this is going to be amazing.

Mom Hacks: Diaper Bag Edition

Happy Tuesday! Today I’m sharing my favorite hacks for making your diaper bag lighter and easier to navigate. I used a huge tote-style bag with Emerson and felt like I was always diving through my bag to find what I needed. After a few modifications I finally have a system I love.

Diaper Bag I Pouches I Sophie the Giraffe I Nursing Cover

Backpacks are everything. I have two favorites, my Jujube Be Right Back and my Fawn Design. I have been using my Fawn bag more regularly since it can be either a backpack or a shoulder bag. PS you don’t have to wear the backpack as low as I do. I gave up keeping the straps tight since Nick always needs to loosen them.

Find items that work double (or triple duty.) Less is best and finding items that do more than one job is key. My favorite item is my Sincerely Elephant nursing/ car seat/ high chair and shopping cart cover. It’s lightweight and cuts down on the amount I have to lug around.

Multi-use  Cover I Carseat 

Separate by child. I have two separate pouches within my diaper bag. They both have a pair of socks, change of clothes, diapers and wipes. It makes it so easy if I need to change just one kid, or when I drop them off at Sunday school I can send them with just their little pouch.

Wipes Pouch I Diaper Pouch 

 

There you have it, how to pack the perfect diaper bag! What are your must-haves?

Encouraging Language in Your Toddler

I’ve never considered myself to be the parent obsessed with milestones. However, after our 18 month check up my doctor suggested taking Emerson to a speech therapist. I was scared and almost embarrassed. I blamed myself for not reading to him enough and was afraid we might discover a bigger problem. Before spending lots of money for a private speech therapist I decided to do a little research and see if there was something I could do from home to encourage his language skills. I am happy to report that it’s been a few months since that 18 month check up and even though he’s still not at the ‘average’ language level for his age we’ve seen significant progress and he’s even starting to say a few words. If you’re concerned about language, but it’s too soon for you to go to a speech therapist here are a few things you can try at home:

Get some books. I would recommend The Speech Teacher’s Handbook to anyone wanting to encourage language in his or her child. It had helpful information on milestones, and made me feel so much better about where Emerson was in his development. Since implementing the strategies in the book I’ve seen a big improvement and he’s starting saying words like ‘more’ ‘hat’ and ‘ball.’ You can get a copy of The Speech Teacher’s Handbook here on amazon!

Teach your child sign language.  didn’t want to be that pretentious parent always bragging about her baby who knew sign language, but it became necessary for us to be able to communicate. He picked up sign language so easily and it’s helped him be able to communicate with us what he wants.

Don’t compare child to other kids. It’s been difficult for me to see friends with children much younger than Emerson with a much larger vocabulary. I just keep reminding myself that children develop at different speeds and he’s so young there is plenty of time to catch up.

Determine if there could possibly be a hearing problem. Sometimes your child can have trouble hearing and if they can’t hear you they definitely can’t copy your language. If you think your child is having trouble hearing, talk to your doctor to discuss next steps.

Make time to read together or listen to audio books in the car. My pediatrician had me start listening to children’s audio books in the car in addition to reading together during the day. This helps Emerson hear small easy to copy words and get comfortable with the way they sound.

Invest in some flashcards. Flash cards are a great way to teach your child different objects. I’ll set out two or three pictures of different objects and ask Emerson to point to the table or the fork. Eventually I’m hoping he’ll be able to say the words, but for now I’m happy to see he’s able to understand the name of objects.

Get your child socalized. This is probably a strong factor in why Emerson has been a little behind on his language. He doesn’t spend much time with other children so he doesn’t get to hear them talk or use their words. We’ve started taking him around other children as much as we can. Most public libraries have a story time or toddler program that’s free. The park is a great place to meet other kids, as well as gymnastics, swim, or sports teams.

I’ve also been encouraged by a number of parents I’ve talked to who had late bloomers when it comes to language. It seems to me it’s more common to have a child early or late than actually hitting every milestone on time.

Road trip with the Babies

We got the unfortunate news that Nick’s grandfather passed away last week. Since flights to Idaho were super expensive we decided to drive there. After surviving over 16 hours in the car each way I feel pretty confident in my ability to road trip with two under two. Here are a few tips if you find yourself in a similar situation.

  1. Take a big car- If you own a van I wouldn’t recommend renting a car, but if you have a tiny Honda Civic, like me, rent something larger. We ended up with a Minivan and it was heaven. We fit luggage for three adults and two babies, two pack-n-plays, and tons of snacks. It made the entire trip much more comfortable.
  2. Plan your route and stops ahead- We drove a longer route, but it had more cities to stop in throughout the drive. Before we started we looked at a map and picked four cities about three hours apart from one another to be our stops. We ended up skipping some and adding others, but starting with a plan is always a good idea.
  3. Stop at kid friendly places- I like to choose something I’m familiar with so I know the kids will have things to eat. We stopped at chick-fil-a three times on our trip because they have a great kids play area for the babies.
  4. Have a special car bag- I didn’t want to bring everything I needed for the trip in my diaper bag because there was no way it would all fit. I have a separate bag with extra diapers, wipes, three extra outfits, nail clippers, lotion, diaper cream, and other odds and ends. After every stop I would replenish my diaper bag with the goodies from the separate bag.
  5. Nurse as you go- Okay this is super dangerous, but sometimes Eloise would need a little extra nursing session so I would just lean over her carseat and nurse her. This was way easier than stopping constantly just so she could get a little snack. Obviously, I only did this when we were in the middle of nowhere, I would never do that on a busy road.
  6. Drive during naps or bed time- On the way home we left really early. It was perfect because for the first four hours the babies were sleeping. We were doing such a long trip that the babies were going to have to be awake. If you have a 6 hour drive or less try to plan it really early, really late, or during nap.
  7. SNACKS- When in doubt pack lots of snacks. I kept Emerson happy by giving him snack after snack.

Of course I couldn’t end the post without a cute picture of Emerson running around Boise. What are your favorite road trip tips? Even though we survived, I’m not sure if we’ll be making a drive like that anytime soon. Sixteen hours is a long time.

4 Easy Ways to Restore Your Soul

Motherhood is not easy. The early years can be especially tiring and isolating. As a stay-at-home Mom I live this weird oximoron where I’m never alone, yet always lonely. I’ve gone through periods that have been exhausting and overwhelming. Sometimes, in those hard weeks I start to go a little crazy, I lose my temper quicker than normal and pick fights with Nick. I’ve recently discovered, the best way to combat my bad moods is to make time for myself.

I’m not talking about a weekend getaway, with two little babies that’s definitely off the table. It’s more about finding small amounts of time throughout the day where I can be alone and restore my spirit. Sometimes I feel guilty doing something for me instead of doing dishes or washing the sheets, but ultimately if I don’t take care of me I can’t take care of everyone else. Here are some of my favorite ways to spend my time alone.

Read- I’ve always loved reading. Having kids makes it increasingly difficult, but setting a goal to read three pages a day is manageable. I like to read at night after both kids have gone to bed. It really helps me unwind and prepare for the next day. Right now I’m reading a book about Danish parenting and I really love it.

Listen to Podcasts- This is especially helpful on days when the kids don’t cooperate and I get no time to actually be alone. I will turn them on and listen while Eloise has tummy time. I also listen to them when I’m driving and the kids have fallen asleep. It really helps stimulate my brain, and I need that right now. Some of my favorite are The Dave Ramsey Show, The Robcast, Pod Save America, The Dollop, and Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations.

Take a Bath- When I was pregnant with Eloise I would put Emerson to sleep around 8:00 and take a bath every single night. I would use that time to be alone with my thoughts, or I’d take my laptop in and watch netflix.

Go to your favorite store/coffee shop- I’m trying to implement this in my house right now. Nick has committed to watching the kids for two hours a week so I can truly get away. Today was my first time leaving the house by myself and it was SO WEIRD. I didn’t really know what to do, but I sat at Starbucks for a while then walked through Home Goods. I know as the weeks go by I’ll get more comfortable being alone.

What are your favorite things to do when you get some alone time? Comment and give me more ideas!!

I’m a bad blogger

Okay… I’m worse that a bad blogger.

I’ve been seriously neglecting The Business of Blonde, but I really want to change that.
We’ve finally gotten into a little bit of a routine and I feel like I have a tiny bit of time to fully devote to this blog. I really want this to be a place where you can come to get encouragement and an honest look at motherhood.
What type of posts are you interested in seeing? I would love a little insight on why you’re visiting my page and what you’re looking for.
Right now my goal is to post once a week, I really think anything more than that would be too much.
A little update on life in AZ. Eloise is a sweetheart and has been such an amazing addition to our little family. I’m still contributing to North Phoenix Moms Blog, and have been writing about two posts a month for them.
I also just signed up with Dot Dot Smile so I sell children’s clothing, I have a Facebook page Here if you’re interested in the sweetest dresses and leggings around.

I think that’s all for tonight, but make sure you check back Monday for a new post!

Get To Know Me

Happy Sunday everyone!
I typically don’t blog on the weekends, but decided since this is a special post it could have a special day. Recently I found a really awesome group on Facebook called the Sensible mama Cha-O-Rama. It’s a super supportive mom group and one of the members suggested we do a little get to know me post! Most of the other moms are youtubers, but I decided to stick to what I know and write mine in a blog post! Thank you Nicole for suggesting this and thinking up the questions!

  1. What is your age? 
    I turned 24 a couple months ago
  2. How many children do you have and how old are they? 
    I have two babies. Emerson, my son,  is 18 months old and Eloise will be two weeks old on Wednesday.
  3. Would you like to have more children? 
    I would love more children, but not sure if I will have more. Nick and I have talked about potentially adopting or fostering kids in the future. Right now the plan is to enjoy the kids we do have, and pray about the future.
  4. If married, for how long? 
    Nick and I are celebrating four years in November! Honestly I can’t believe it, sometimes it feels like no time and sometimes it feels like it’s been 25 years. You can read more about us here.
  5. Where do you live? 
    We live in Phoenix, AZ. I was born in San Diego, but my family moved to Arizona when I was in jr. high. I definitely miss the beach, but I prefer the cost of living here in Arizona.
  6. Are you a SAHM, WAHM or do you work outside the home? 
    I consider myself a stay at home mom and left my corporate job when I had Emerson. However, I do still work a little bit. I teach dance on Saturdays during the school year at a local youth theater. I also sometimes choreograph musicals for youth theaters, schools and summer camps.
  7. What are your favorite mommy product brands and why?
    I could write a whole post on just mommy products, but I’ll try to keep it simple. My favorite diaper bags are ju-ju-be because you can wash them and they’re super high quality. I love water wipes because I’m not putting chemicals all over my kids, I love Aden and Anais swaddle blankets because they’re light weight and very soft. I love love love shopping at Carters for clothing because I think it’s adorable and I can always find good deals at the outlet.
  8. What are some of your hobbies? 
    Blogging, teaching dance, planning parties and decorating my house. With two kids under two years old I don’t get much time to myself so the idea of hobbies is kind of abstract right now.
  9. Is there anything you wish you could tell your pre-mom or new mom self? 
    Just that you get used to it. The lack of sleep becomes normal and eventually you don’t get scared every time you have to drive your child somewhere. People will always have an opinion, but if you listen to your mommy instinct you won’t regret it.
  10. What is your least favorite chore? 
    Taking out the trash. Especially when it’s 115 degrees outside. No thank you.

 

Well that’s it for the ‘get to know me’ Thanks so much for reading! If you want to watch all the other awesome mom’s  you can find the playlist with all their videos right here 🙂