Monday, September 30, 2013

Brush, Brush, Brush Your Teeth!

What do you look for when shopping for a toothbrush?  Are you loyal to a certain brand?  Do you always buy soft bristled toothbrushes?  Do you look for a certain feature?

I'll be honest, I usually buy what's on sale.  I typically buy soft bristled brushes, but I've never been loyal to any certain brand or style.

I was recently sent a Colgate SlimSoft toothbrush to review and I really fell in love.  Yes, I fell in love with a toothbrush.  The life of a mom is SO exciting!  ;)  The bristles on this brush are SO soft.  I've always had sensitive gums and this brush is so gentle on my gums, but still leaves my teeth feeling squeaky clean.  I love that the bristles are very thin and vary in length because they get into all of the little cracks and crevices between my teeth.  After brushing with the Colgate SlimSoft and some Colgate Total toothpaste, my mouth feels so fresh and so clean-clean.  :)

Here's a little sneak peek of what I got thanks to Influenster!  Carson was excited and got out his toothbrush as well.  :)

Note: I received this product complimentary from Influenster for testing and review purposes.  


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Carson Anthony: 16 Months!

I can't even believe Carson is 16 months!  I feel like his first birthday was literally yesterday!  Let's be honest, I feel like it was just yesterday that I was at the hospital with him!  

What Carson Loves Right Now
-Carson loves to talk up a storm!  He babbles all the time and is adding words to his speech as well!  (SO exciting!)
-Carson loves reading books.  He loves for Mommy and Daddy to read stories to him (he will sit still during the whole story and always helps turn the pages).  He also loves to "read" to himself.  He'll get a book and start babbling away while turning pages.  Really adorable and it makes my teacher heart happy.  :)
-Carson loves anything about basketball.  I can't wait until basketball season to see if he likes watching it on TV!  Whenever we walk around the block he is OBSESSED with pointing out each and every basketball hoop.  He points and yells "ball! ball! ball!"  He also still loves balls including basketballs, beach balls, footballs, spiky sensory balls, etc.  He's not picky at all.
-This month Carson has fallen in love with his crayons!  He will go to my desk and get them out of the drawer and bring them to me!  He loves coloring with them, but also likes just playing with them like little figurines.  He's not as into the normal "big kig" crayons yet, but who would be when you have the adorable toddler crayons that look like animals?!

-Carson loves his belly button!  He is obsessed with pointing it out to people and he also will play with it randomly while playing or getting ready to fall asleep.  Sometimes I have to put him in a onesie just so he'll stop messing with it!  Silly boy.
-Carson's favorite foods are bananas, applesauce (specifically the go-go pouches), and cheese.  If any of those are on his plate, he'll be sure to gobble them up before touching anything else!

Carson also loves glasses!  He will pull our sunglasses off the table (or his) and put them on!  But if WE try to put his sunglasses on to go outside, he rips them off right away.  Mr. Independent!  :)

What I Love Right NowI'm still loving Carson's personality!  He is starting to talk more and often has full "conversations" with himself.  I really wish I had a baby translator!  I'm loving that Carson is so amazed by such little things.  He gets SO excited by the smallest things and it is so fun to watch him take everything in.  I also have been so amazed by his memory.  He is extremely routine oriented and knows his bedtime routine SO well.  He will even go and get his toothbrush out if we try to do something else first.  We read a few of the same stories every night and he loves pointing out things in the books (especially balls).  He remembers which pages are his favorites and sits up right away when we turn to that page.  He also loves getting a reaction out of people lately.  This can go either way and sometimes he cries to get a reaction and sometimes he's silly to get a reaction . 

I also love that Carson is such a helper!  He loves helping me (even when I don't need help).  He also loves putting things "away".  

Some of our Biggest Struggles: This has been a pretty good month (knock on wood)!  Our biggest struggle is probably Carson's picky eating.  He has decided that he does NOT like vegetables anymore.  Thankfully he will gobble up veggie burgers and veggie "chicken" patties/nuggets.  One day he'll chow down on a food and the next day he won't touch it with a 10 foot pole!  He's very particular and I'm hoping it's just a stage.  I feel like I make the same things for him all the time!  I try to offer him new foods but usually he isn't very open to the idea!  

Stealing Mommy's cereal!

Exciting Milestones & Physical ChangesCarson has added 2 new words: "up" and "shoes"!  It's really cute and he says shoes ANY time he sees shoes.  That's a lot when we're out in public.  ;)  When he first started saying it it sounded like "joooz" but now he has the /sh/ sound down.  It baffles me that he can pronounce a somewhat tricky consonant blend, but doesn't even say a ton of his single consonant sounds!  His speech is improving and developing day by day and it's so exciting!  Here are his current words/phrases: "all gone"/"all done", "gone" (always with upturned hands and a shrug), "done", "up", "Mama" (not very often yet), "Dada", "dog", "bird", "book", "ball", "vroom vroom", "duck", "water" (wawa), and "shoes".  I'm so excited to see what he learns next!

Carson has been practicing pointing out his body parts.  As of now he knows head, hair, ears, eyes, nose, mouth, tongue, tummy, belly button, knees, and toes!

Carson also still does a lot of sign language.  The signs he uses on a daily basis are "eat", "milk", and "more".  I wonder what his top priority is?!  :)

Carson loves to wave, blow kisses, give high fives, knock and nod his head.

Things We're Looking Forward ToI'm excited for Carson to add some more words to his vocabulary.  It's been fun to watch him be able to express what he wants.  He gets so happy when he says "up" and he gets picked up!

I'm also looking forward to Carson getting a few more teeth.  He's had his hands in his mouth a lot lately, but I don't feel any that seem like they're going to come through soon.  Here's to hoping!  He still only has 2 lonely teeth on the bottom (but 6 on top)!

I can't wait to do some fun fall activities with Carson this year like the pumpkin patch and Halloween!  I need to find him an adorable costume so if you have any suggestions of places to look, fill me in!


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pizza Sliders [Tasty Tuesday]

If you know me, you know I love anything to do with pizza.  I've made all kinds of variations of pizza - pizza muffins, pizza braid, pizza balls, pizza roll-ups, etc.  I just can't get enough!  When I saw Pizza Sliders on Pinterest, I knew I had to try them!

What You Need...For the sandwiches:
9 slider rolls
3/4 cup pizza sauce
25-30 slices pepperoni (I did 3 per sandwich)
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

...For the topping:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

How to Make
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Separate each roll, then spread a little pizza sauce onto both halves. Place 3 slices of pepperoni and a handful of shredded cheese on each roll. Close rolls and place them close together in a 9x9" baking dish.  I lined my dish with aluminum foil for an easy clean-up!

In a small bowl, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients. Brush evenly over all of the sandwiches, just enough to cover the tops; let sandwiches sit for 10 minutes to absorb the butter and seasonings. 

Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Uncover and cook for 5 additional minutes or until tops are slightly brown and crispy. Serve warm.

You can actually prep these a day ahead of time and keep them in the fridge until they're ready to be baked!  


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Carson's Favorite Toys

I last posted about Carson's favorite things when he was 9 months old.  That was almost 7 months ago!  How does time get away from me?!

I wanted to share Carson's favorite toys at (almost) 16 months!

1. My First Crayola Character Crayons.  These are the "toddler grip" crayons and Carson LOVES them.  I keep them in my desk drawer and Carson loves to go over and pull them out.  Pretty soon I'll probably need to keep them somewhere safer so we don't have crayon colored walls and furniture!

2. Beach Balls.  Carson loves ANY type of ball, but for some reason he LOVES beach balls.  I'm not sure if it's because they're lightweight and big or what, but he loves them.  Cheapest toy ever!

3. Elephant Ball Popper.  I bought this from a online garage sale board a while ago for $6 and it was SO worth it!  Carson loves putting the balls in (and any other small toys that will fit) and watching them pop out.  Fair warning: it's loud!  :)

4. Wooden Puzzles.  Carson has a small collection of puzzles and he loves them!  Our favorites are the Melissa and Doug.  I like the chunky puzzles with knobs because they're easier for him to turn and manipulate the pieces.

5. First Words Books.  I know this isn't necessarily a "toy", but Carson acts like it is!  He is obsessed with going through and finding words he knows.

6. Caterpillar Gear Toy.  This is a toy we bought Carson during our trip to NYC.  He loves spinning the gears, taking them off, and putting them back on.  This toy is very open-ended and you can practice so much: counting, colors, matching, etc.

7. Ride-On Puppy .  Carson got this for his birthday back in May and still loves it just as much!  He doesn't ride on it as much as I would have guessed, but he really likes the shape sorter on the side and also loves to feed the puppy "treats".

8. Ring Stacker.  This is another toy with so many possibilities (which makes me love it)!  Carson loves stacking the rings on and we can also practice colors and sizing.

9. Megabloks.  This is another birthday gift Carson received.  He loves building towers and he also loves knocking down towers built by anyone else!  :)

10. Basketball Hoop.  This was a present from Carson's Grammy and to say he is obsessed may be putting it lightly.  Like I mentioned before, he loves balls.  He figured out the idea of the hoop pretty quickly and now he likes to put anything that will fit through the hoop.  He also loves pointing out ALL of the big kid basketball hoops in our neighborhood when we go for walks.  :)

11. Shape Sorter.  This little guy was a gift Carson got for Christmas (I think?).  In the last month or so he's become quite the pro.  He is now able to pick a shape, find the correct hole himself, and put it in!  It's amazing how quickly they learn.  This is another good toy for teaching multiple concepts.  The one thing I don't like about this toy is that there isn't really a good way to store the shapes.  I always link them together and push it inside the trunk and it works okay.

12. Water Table.  It makes me sad to think that our time with this toy is coming to an end for the season!  Carson loves to splash, pour, dump, and play in this table!  He also uses the tall part in the middle as a basketball hoop (of course)!

13. Sensory Ball.  Carson has a few of these in different sizes and he loves them.  They are light weight, easy to bounce, and very grippy which makes it easy for him to hold!  Honestly, he's not picky about balls....he even likes dog toys.  :)

I'm linking up today:


Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Letters

*Edit: I realized (too late) that Ashley isn't doing her link up today!  Oooops!  Happy Friday the 13th, everyone! :)

Dear Carson,
I love your obsession with books and reading.  It really melts my teacher heart!  The other night you refused to go to bed without Brown Bear, Brown Bear and literally "read" it until you fell asleep.

Dear Summer,
I know a lot of people are annoyed that you're hanging on for dear life and we're getting 90-degree days in September.  Guess what?  I don't hate you and I'm totally okay with it.  Hang on as long as you'd like!  :)

Dear Husband,
I would really like to go on a date soon, but I really don't want to plan it.  Can you plan something fun and surprise me!?

Dear Laundry,
Please put yourself away.  I really don't mind washing you and hanging you to try, but I can't stand putting you away!

I'm linking up today:


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

DIY Sharpie Mug

I've seen the "Sharpie Mug" project floating around Pinterest for a while, but I never had any interest in making it because I have plenty of coffee mugs in my house.  If I add another, I'm going to have to throw an old one away first!  When I was thinking of ideas for handmade gifts for my mom's birthday, this popped up on Pinterest again and I knew it would be perfect!  She drinks coffee every day and loves (LOVES) being Carson's Grammy.  Seriously, she's the proudest.  I love it!  This project was easy peasy and super cheap.  I gave it to her "from Carson" for her birthday with a coffee shop gift card inside!

What You Need
white mug*
Sharpie marker(s)
rubbing alcohol
stickers [optional]

*I heard that the mugs from the Dollar Tree work best for this project, but my store didn't have any plain white mugs.  I found my mug at Target (duh) for $3.49.

How to Make
1. Prep the surface of your mug with a quick coating of rubbing alcohol.  I just swabbed it on with a cotton ball and let it air dry.

2. If using stickers to spell a word/initial/monogram/quote, place your stickers and press firmly onto the mug.

3. Start decorating with your Sharpie marker(s)!  I chose to do a simple "ombre" dot pattern so that my word would stick out.  Use your creativity!
If you choose to cover stickers, I suggest carefully coloring around your stickers first and make sure that you are diligent so that your letters will look nice when the stickers are removed!  I did dots and it was pretty time consuming, but worth it in the end!

4.  If using stickers, now is the time to carefully remove them to reveal your design.  You can use a fine point sharpie to make any necessary touch ups now, too!

5. Stick your mug in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes.  Let your mug cool in the oven to prevent cracks!  Once your mug is somewhat cool, you can move it to the counter to cool completely.

6. Admire your work of art!

**I've read on Pinterest that once baked, these designed mugs are dishwasher safe.  I'm a little skeptical and told my mom to hand wash, or use the dishwasher at her own risk.  :)