Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Do You Jamberry?

I'll be honest, when I first saw something about Jamberry Nail Wraps, I was intrigued.  Intrigued enough to purchase?  I'm not so sure.  The Jamberry consultants claim the wraps are "simple to apply and remove", "last for weeks", "dry immediately after application", etc.  WELL, as a mom to an infant and toddler, "dry immediately after application" sounded  very appealing to me.  I checked out the Jamberry website and spent longer than I'd like to admit checking out all of the amazing design choices.  Did you know you can get wraps to support your favorite sports team?  If you aren't into flashy patterns, they have solid color wraps and even a classic french manicure wrap!

If you haven't heard of Jamberry, here's a brief description:
Jamberry Nail wraps are the newest trend in nail fashion and offer over 350 styles! They're beyond easy to apply and last 2-3 weeks on fingers and 4-6 weeks on toes.

* No fumes, chemicals, or mess
* No drying time, chipping or smearing
* Simple, do-it-yourself application

Jamberry Nail wraps are a super thin piece of vinyl covering that can be applied directly to the nail to achieve a look not found anywhere else. The wrap is heat and pressure activated to create a waterproof bond to your nail. No chips, scuffs, or smudges for the entire life of your Jamberry manicure or pedicure!

When I went to pick out a wrap, I had such a hard time deciding.  I think what made my decision so hard was knowing that my nails could be this way for 2 weeks or more!  I decided to go with "Carmen Ombre".  It's definitely more exciting than my normal go-to pink polish, but still subtle enough that it will look fine for every day wear.  (I can imagine becoming a true Jamberry addict and changing my wraps much more frequently, though!)

Here's a look at my nails on Day 1.  The wraps were super easy to apply!  (See below for application instructions.)

Applying Your Jamberry Nail Wraps:

My Jamberry wraps got tons of comments and compliments from friends and even strangers!  I was skeptical about Jamberry's claims that the wraps will last so long, but they really did!  Here's a look at my wraps after 2 whole weeks.  Remember, this is 2 weeks of taking care of a newborn and a toddler, using cleaning products, and not being gentle with my nails.  The ONLY reason I was ready to remove the wraps is because my nail beds were exposed from normal growth.  Everything else still looked great!

Once I was ready to remove the wraps, I was a little nervous.  There are so many different methods you can use.  The method I found on Jamberry's website said to soak your nails in nailpolish remover.  I wasn't interested in soaking my fingers in straight acetone (which is all that I had) so I filled my sink up with some warm water and a splash of my acetone.  I only had to soak my nails for a few seconds before gently lifting the wrap up and peeling it off.  I only had some residual adhesive on a few nails and that was easily removed with my nail polish remover.  Another great thing about these wraps is that they do not damage your nails AT ALL (unlike gel/shellac manicures)!

If you're interested in trying out some wraps (which you totally should), you can shop here.

Check out my friend's Jamberry Instagram or Facebook to see all the latest tips, trends, and deals!

Just to give you an idea, here's a look I did with regular polish and Jamberry as an accent nail.  Obviously the polish just didn't last!

*I received this product complimentary for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are honest and my own.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Father's Day Recap {Gift Ideas}

I know it's a little late, but I finally have a minute to sit down for a little Father's Day recap!  I wanted to share some gift ideas.  These can be used for any special event really - birthdays, Christmas, etc.  They aren't just for Father's Day!

When Carson was just about a month old, I started one of our first traditions.  (I love traditions!)  I bought these wooden letters and snapped some photos for a Father's Day gift.  I put the photos in a 3-slot frame and they get replaced each year with a newer version.  Nick loves seeing how the photos turn out and it's fun (and super hectic) being the photographer.  I can only imagine what our photo session will be like next year when Mason is 1 and Carson is 3.  Oh boy!

Father's Day 2012 (Carson: 1 month)

Father's Day 2013 (Carson: 13 months)

Father's Day 2014 (Mason 2 months, Carson 25 months)
 I also like to do a "handmade" craft/art project for most holidays.  In the past we hadn't done anything for Father's Day so I decided to start yet another tradition.  You can't have too many traditions, right?!  I found an extra scrapbook I had laying around and made a little cover sheet:

Next I made a craft with each of the boys.  I browsed Pinterest for some inspiration (obviously) and found some cute ideas.  Carson loves wearing Daddy's shoes.  He'll put them on, laugh, and say "too big!"  When I saw this idea I knew it was perfect for him.  

Here's a close-up of the poem in case you want to copy!  I just traced one of Nick's shoes and put Carson's foot print inside.  Then we did a little photo shoot of Carson wearing Daddy's shoes.  Nick thought it was adorable!

For Mason I needed something simple and something with a foot print.  He still has his hands clenched shut a lot of the time so hand prints are pretty much out of the question!  I found this cute bee foot print idea and made it go along with Father's Day:

Each year we'll add a page or two to Nick's book and it will be a fun keepsake to look through.  Carson already loves looking through and we only have 2 pages!  Eventually I think the boys will do crafts together but for now, I wanted to do a page for each of them.

We also made a grandpa craft this year.  My dad loves fishing so I thought this was perfect for him!  I envisioned it turning out a little cuter, but I think you can still tell that it's a fishing pole with a fish.  Maybe?

I also got Nick a couple small gifts I knew he would enjoy.  Here are some links in case you need husband gift ideas!



Thursday, June 12, 2014

Diaper Bag First Aid Kit

As a mom, I always like to be prepared.  Being prepared means keeping a stocked diaper bag.  One of the things I never thought to put in my diaper bag was a little first aid kit.  Don't ask me how this slipped my mind, especially as a mom to a super active toddler!  I recently put together a mini first aid kit and I wanted to share just what I put in there!

Here's the lowdown:
Neosporin To Go .  This lovely product was given to me complimentary from Influenster in my TLC Vox Box!  I had never seen it before, but it's genius.  It's a spray so if you're out and about with dirty hands, there's no need to touch your child's wound...just spray the neosporin on and you're good to go!  Thanks to @Influenster, I'm #NeoReady!

Alcohol Wipes.  If your child gets a scraped knee when you're out, chances are, you may not be able to get to a bathroom to thoroughly clean the scrape.  These alcohol wipes hardly take up any space and they'll quickly disinfect the cut until you can get home and clean it with soap and water.

Bandages.  This is probably pretty self explanatory.  I suggest finding a character that your child loves to help cheer them up while they're in pain.  I always buy the assorted size box too so that you can cover any size of cut/scrape!

Tweezers.  Great for getting out splinters and tons of other uses....including emergency brow shaping!  ;)

Disposable Gloves.  Once again, great for when you aren't able to wash up before bandaging your child.  Make sure to get latex free if anyone has an allergy!  Helpful hint: I also use these when applying self tanning lotion!  :)

Instant Cold Pack.  I had no clue these even existed!  They're so cool and super helpful for little ones' boo boos!

Hand Sanitizer .  Clean up before and after!  I like the kind that I can just hook to my diaper bag for every day sanitizing!

You can customize your kit for your own needs.  You might want to add heavier duty things like gauze and medical tape.  You might even want to take some benadryl.  I wanted to keep mine very small since my diaper bag is already packed full with two kiddos in diapers.  You can also keep a bigger kit in your car!


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

Whenever I pick a dessert recipe, I tend to lean towards chocolate.  You can't go wrong with chocolate!  Every now and then, I'll crave something without chocolate. Crazy, right?  These snickerdoodle cupcakes are perfect for a non-chocolate dessert that still has PLENTY of sweetness!  These were one of two flavors of cupcakes I made for Carson's second birthday party!

What You Need for the CUPCAKES:
1-2/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 large egg (I use Egg Beaters)
1/4 cup plain yogurt
3/4 cup milk (I used Lactaid)
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

How to Make the CUPCAKES:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.  (Note: This recipe makes about 12-14 cupcakes.)
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, use your whisk attachment to mix your melted butter and 1 cup of the sugar.  Whisk in egg, yogurt, milk, and vanilla extract until combined.
  4. Slowly mix in your dry ingredients a little at a time until no lumps remain.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and cinnamon.  Set aside.
  6. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of batter into each muffin cup.  Top each with 1 tsp. of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  (It seems like a lot, but don't worry!)  Top with another heaping tablesppon of batter.  Your wells should be about 3/4 full.  Top each cupcake with another teaspoon of the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  7. Bake for 19-21 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cupcake.  Cool completely before frosting.
What You Need for the FROSTING:
1 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
3-4 Tbsp. milk (I used Lactaid)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

How to Make the FROSTING:
  1. Beat butter until light and fluffy.  Add sugar a half cup at a time until completely incorporated.  
  2. Add up to 4 tablespoons of milk if the frosting gets too thick.
  3. Add vanilla and cinnamon, beating just until combined.
  4. Pipe your buttercream onto your cupcakes!
*Note: I had tons of leftover frosting.  I'm not sure if a half batch of the frosting would cover your cupcakes, but I used my leftover frosting to eat with graham crackers - delicious!

I got fancy with my frosting this time and I'm not going to lie, I was pretty proud.  :)

Original recipe can be found here.


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Carson's 2nd Birthday Party

If you haven't seen what we did for Carson's first birthday, check it out here.  We did a whale theme last year since he wasn't really "into" anything yet.  This year he is into so many different things it was hard to choose!

I didn't do much outside because it was supposed to rain that day.  I stuck a balloon on the mailbox and made this quick DIY sign for one of our garden hooks.  I really wanted to do duct tape train tracks on the sidewalk but the tape wouldn't stick.  It was a total Pinterest fail.  How sad!

Here's a few of the banners I made.  The photo banner is a picture of Carson every month from months 13-23.  Scroll down to see a college of the photos!

Here's another DIY sign I made using a cardboard cake base and streamers.

I decorated the mantel with a Carson banner and some of Carson's photos.

6 months - 12 months - 18 months
I love our invitations!  The Etsy seller was so easy to work with!

I decided not to buy a cake this year for two reasons: 1.) I didn't know how many people were coming for sure and 2.) it saved a lot of money!  I made homemade cupcakes instead and I think it was a success!

These snickerdoodle cupcakes are the  I'll be sharing the recipe very soon!

Since I didn't have a super fancy cake like last year, I decided to dress up my cupcakes with some homemade toppers!  These Oreo cupcakes were pretty good, too.  They had a hidden Oreo in the bottom!

I stole this food train idea from Pinterest.  The Thomas toy was actually a hand me down from some cousins and it worked perfectly!

Beverage station!  I made strawberry lemonade by making strawberry ice cubes and everyone seemed to enjoy it!  The ice cubes are super simple: puree strawberry, pour into ice cube tray, freeze!  I added a little extra sugar and water to my strawberry puree.

My mother-in-law bought this little name train for Carson about a year ago and it was perfect for the party!

The birthday boy!  I love his birthday shirt because he can wear it again and even pass it on to his brother.  I loved having a custom "Carson" shirt for his first birthday but didn't think it was necessary this year.
I found this favor idea on Pinterest and though it was super cute!  (Seriously, how would we ever throw a party without Pinterest these days?!)  The bandanas are from Hobby Lobby and the hats and whistles are from Amazon.  You can also find everything through Oriental Trading but I wanted fast shipping so I went with Amazon!  Plus, Amazon was cheaper!
{whistles}  {hats}

Here's a closer look at the pictures I included on the banner:

Here's a look at the thank you notes I used.  I used a photo card last year and it was a big hit so I wanted to do it again!  I took the photo myself and ordered the card through Walmart!


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Carson Anthony: 24 Months!

I can't believe my BABY is TWO.  The one who made me Mom.  The boy who loves me unconditionally.  The one who brings so much joy to my heart every single day.  

We had Carson's 2 year well visit on May 21st.  He weighed in at 28lbs 6oz (56%) and was 33.5" tall (41%).  The doctor said she's almost positive Carson is taller than that but he kept scrunching up when they tried to measure him.  He thought he was hilarious.  :)  The doctor said that Carson's speech already meets the 3 year goals because he is speaking in 4-5 word sentences.  It's crazy to think just 6 months ago I was concerned about his speech and considering calling early intervention!  Carson won't go back to the doctor for another well visit until he's 3 so she gave us some goals for this coming year.  

Carson's Goals for the Year
-Jumping with both feet off the ground simultaneously (he's SO close but usually gets on tip-toes or only one foot leaves the ground)
-Broad jumps by 3 years (jumping over an object)
-Balance on one foot for about 3 seconds by 3 years
-Draw a circle
*The doctor said since his speech is exceeding expectations we could practice colors and shapes.  Carson knows those so she said to practice letters.  He knows those too so we are now working on letters and reinforcing everything else.  I love that his brain is such a little sponge!

What Carson Loves Right Now
-Carson still loves balls and balloons.  Nick popped a balloon over a month ago and Carson STILL talks about it.  "Yeh-yo boon-uh pop it, Daddy!"  I have a big baggie of balloons that are left over from parties and whenever I need Carson to be entertained for a while I can get one out and blow it up.  He has so much fun!  Everyone always jokes about how many balls he has.  We have a basket for balls upstairs and downstairs.  He even takes balls to bed sometimes.  He's totally obsessed!  His favorite is most definitely basketball.  Nick recently installed a hoop in our driveway and Carson is totally obsessed!  He also has been known to take balls on our walks and shoot hoops at random peoples' houses in our neighborhood, haha!

-Carson loves giving kisses.  He LOVES kissing his little brother and he's getting much better about gentle kisses.  :)  He also learned how to give butterfly kisses and eskimo kisses and he does that a lot, too.  It's super adorable.

-Carson loves reading.  Obviously as a former teacher I already have a TON of books but I love adding to Carson's collection!  He takes books to bed for nap and bedtime and we read books throughout the day.  We also keep a stash of books in the car and diaper bag.  I love that he'll request books over electronic games and TV.  (Not to say we never watch TV or play with electronic toys because we totally do!)

-Carson also loves being outside!  The weather has been great lately and we've been out taking walks, riding his trike, playing with the water table, and so many other fun things.  It's going to be such a fun summer!

-Carson loves vehicles!  He loves watching out of our windows to see the "mail man truck", trash truck, ice cream truck, etc.  We took him to a "Touch a Truck" event the Friday before his birthday and he was in HEAVEN!  We saw tractors, fire trucks, a helicopter, police cars, an RV, a school bus, and so much more.  He still talks about it weeks later!

-Carson is getting much more opinionated about his favorite foods.  One day he'll love chicken and the next day he won't touch it!  You can almost always get him to eat any type of fruit, peanut butter sandwiches, yogurt, and mac and cheese.  He's not a huge fan of veggies but seems to really like broccoli and corn.  He can now get up into his booster seat all on his own and buckle the straps.  Doe she even need me anymore?!  ;)

What I Love Right NowI think my favorite thing about this age is that Carson can totally have a conversation with me.  It's so much fun!  I love hearing what's on his mind and it's also fun to hear him chattering away to himself in the backseat or in his room during nap.  He loves making us laugh and he is constantly narrating his life.  Here's an example of what you might here in our playroom.  "Uh oh, Carson fall down!  I'm ok.  Play basketball!  Kiss baby Mason!"  I love it, it cracks me up.  He also is great with his manners and almost always says please ("peeez") and thank you.  Although he has gotten a bit confused and combined thank you and your welcome so he'll say "Thank you, welcome!"  Silly boy!

Some of our Biggest Struggles: With Carson talking so much, he says no to a lot!  He also gets very upset anytime we have to come inside.  A lot of times I have to redirect and remind him that there are fun things inside too!  He throws tantrums about silly things like not being able to take a water cup to bed or having to put his toothbrush away.  It's SO hard for me not to laugh because it really is quite silly.  Usually the tantrums don't last long (thankfully) and redirection works most of the time.

Exciting Milestones & Physical ChangesCarson had his 2 year check up (stats at the beginning of the post).  He also got his 10th hair cut before turning 2!  Not only was it his 10th haircut, it was his first BIG BOY haircut!  I almost cried but at least hair grows back, right?  Plus, I was starting to feel bad that he was getting so hot and sweaty with his shaggy mop.  I think it's about time I learn how to cut little boys' hair!

-Carson also has started using the potty more!  We aren't actively potty training him yet, but he has started to ask for diaper changes and tell us before he has to go (or sometimes during).  He has gone #2 on the potty 3 times now and he asked to go each of those times!  We usually put him on before baths and we've started putting him on before nap/bed time too now.  A few times he has woken up from nap dry and we'll stick him right on the potty.  He's doing great but like I said, we aren't officially training yet, just letting him take the lead.  We were totally surprised with it so we weren't prepared and ended up giving him mini Oreos for his "prize".  I think I need to search around for a sticker chart or something a little healthier.  :)     

Here are some more of Carson's favorites at 2 years:
Books: One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish ("fish book"), Thomas and the School Trip, Goodnight Thomas, Baby Beluga, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, I Love You More, Guess How Much I Love You, Owl Babies, Tractor Peekaboo, Colors Peekaboo, What Can Pinky Hear?
TV Shows: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Super Why, The Goodnight Show ("Nina and Star")
Toys: puzzles, cars/trucks, train table, bubbles, blocks (mega bloks), Cozy Truck, basketball hoop, water table.

Things We're Looking Forward ToThese past 2 years have FLOWN by.  I can't wait to see my baby boy explore, grow, develop, and learn in these coming years.  I hope time slows down a bit because I just want to soak it all up!  I also can't wait to see the bond he develops with his new little brother!