Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pardon our dust...

...MommieJoys is in the process of being "remodeled!"

Check back soon to see our new look.
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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Diaper Cakes

Pretty Princess Diaper Cake

Natural Giraffe Diaper Cake

Aren't diaper cakes so fun and simple to make!?  These are two I've made for friends baby showers.  Just something fun to remember.  *smiles*

Have you ever tried your hand at making a diaper cake?  Other than the price of diapers this is really an inexpensive way to make quite a useful and impressive gift!  Once you get all the diapers rolled and rubber banded, things going quickly.

Check out this link for some instructions...

Happy baking!

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

10 Natural Helps for Families During Cold Season

So, the nasty sickie bug that hit us a month ago decided to reappear over the weekend.  Darn little bug.  Won't you just die?  Several people I know are having a hard time getting rid of this nasty breed of bug!

Some stuff to think about.  (Unless this list is all "No, duh!" to you more experienced Mommies.  *smiles*)

  • Using a humidifier in your child's room at night can make a huge difference.  If I forget to fill ours up or plug it in, my daughter's nose in the morning is all crusty inside and out!
  • Keep hand sanitizer easily accessible and make sure there is a full bottle of soap at each sink.  Can't clean those hands too much!
  • Instead of a hand towel, use paper towels to dry hands.  While this isn't the most "green" option, it cuts down on the places bacteria or "sickie bugs" can fester.
  • Try some natural sanitizer wipes such as those from Seventh Generation.  Having sanitizer wipes handy to clean up messes - after craft time or during potty training - also helps kill a few of those buggies.
  • Limit sugar intake!  Your immune system is lowered for several hours after having sugar.  This includes fruit sugar.  Also, sugar allows bacteria and yeast to grow in your body.
  • Eat plenty of hot soups and drink lots of water!
  • Diaper wipes work great to clean up a snotty nose!  Also helps from getting that snoz red and chaffed.
  • Open the windows and let the fresh air blow through the house.  A bit of sunshine could be helpful to you too!

Since there are so many options out there from prescription drugs to Grandma's home remedies, I decided to share some of our family's favorites.**   Just something else for you to research, but if you're interested in "natural" cough and cold help - here ya go!

  • Standard Process Congaplex** - Available online from Amazon and from many health care providers, Standard Process has incredible all-natural, mostly organic vitamin supplements.  Congaplex is our "go-to" supplement whenever we are sick.  (Or when we've been around sick people!)  It is for short term use, to boost the immune system.  There is a chewable form available for kids, or if they're like my daughter, they can swallow or chew the adult capsule!  **Please seek help from a professional, call the company or do extensive research before giving this supplement to a child.  
Standard Process Congaplex 150 C

  • X-clear Kids drops (And adults - in a spray form!) - Gentle enough to use a few times a day.  Saline drops with Xylitol and grapefruit seed extract.  Available online from Amazon or at many health-food and vitamin shops.

 Xlear - Kids-Xlear Nasal Spray, .75 fl oz liquid

  • Hyland's C-Plus Cold Tablets - Helps with the symptoms of "little" colds and runny noses.  All-natural and homeopathic!  Available online at Amazon and often at your local grocery store or pharmacy!
Hylands Homeopathic, C-plus Cold Tablets, 125 Tab 
  • Hyland's Cold 'n Cough 4 Kids and Hyland's Nighttime Cold 'n Cough 4 Kids - Why use chemical based cough syrups for your kids?  Hyland's all-natural, homeopathic products work just as well - even better perhaps!  Wal-Mart now carries many Hylands products as does Target, CVS and Wal-Greens!
Hylands Cold N Cough 4 KidsHylands Night Time Cold N Cough 4 Kids
  • Hyland's Earache Drops - Another Hyland's product that I keep in my doctor bag.  Great to carry with you on a plane too, just in case.  Helps relieve pressure caused by head-colds - oh yeah, helps with pain too!  Available online at Amazon or often at your local grocery or pharmacy.
Hylands Childrens Earache

  • Vick's VapoRub - Merely rub a tad of this on the bottom of your child's feet at bedtime and cover those little piggies with socks!  Available online at Amazon and nearly any grocery store or pharmacy!  (And yes, I realize this technically isn't a "natural" product!)
Vicks VapoRub Topical Ointment
  • Nordic Naturals Children's DHA and Nordic Naturals Arctic Cod Liver Oil - My toddler has used both the children's and adult fish oils from Nordic Naturals.  Great for the brain, immune system, bowels, joints, etc!  An over-all GREAT thing to add to your daily supplement routine.  Even medical doctors are beginning to prescribe fish oil. 
Childrens DHA 250 mg Strawberry Flavor By Nordic NaturalsArctic Cod Liver Oil (lemon) 180 softgels
  • Primadophilus Children - The good bacteria for your stomach.  Remember when you took those antibiotics and your doctor said to eat plenty of yogurt?  (I'll lay aside the fact that most yogurts are high in SUGAR completely defeating the purpose!)  Well, probiotics are what the doc wanted you to get from that yogurt.  It helps restore the "flora and fauna" of your guy, and kill off the yeast/bacteria in there!
Primadophilus Children by Nature's Way 5 Ounces

**I am not a licensed health care professional.  These are products I personally recommend based on experiences with my family.  As always, it is best to check with you health care provider before starting any new supplement or medical regimen.  Please, always do your own research before swallowing any kind of medication or supplement, natural or otherwise.

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Pottery Barn Kids Chair - Goodwill Find

So, we were shopping at Goodwill - as is our weekly habit - and this Pottery Barn Kids chair was comfortably sitting back by the book section.  With a nifty $3.99 sticker tag it quickly became -  MINE!  Er, uhm, my daughter's.  *winks*

Although there were faded spots and some ink marks, the thought of DYE popped into my head.  Since I'd never tackled dying anything, a $4 risk was worth taking.

Initially, I machine washed the cover.  Instead of drying it, I chose to soak the cover overnight in a tub full of Oxi-Clean.  (Dye Free Oxi-Clean is one of my favorite laundry tools!)

The Oxi-Clean really did help brighten up the cover, but the ink stains were still quite visible, and the fading was still...faded.  

Turning to the dye I could find during a grocery trip to Wal-Mart - I chose Rit Petal Pink.  Timidly, I followed the directions on the bottle to dye the chair cover in my washing machine!  And guess what?  It worked quite well.

In truth, the color came out a bit more along the lines of Pepto Bismol than I expected.  My goal was to stick closer to the original pale pink - but hey, for a first try, it turned out great!  (Now to find the time to re-stuff the arm cushions!)
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Courageous DVD Winner!

And the winner* of the Focus on the Family sponsored Courageous DVD giveaway is...*drum roll*

#21 - Diana Bradford Hatch

Congratulations, Diana!

*If I do not hear from the winner within 48 hours of when I send the winning email, a new winner will be chosen.

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

10 Great Kids Books

Here are some of our family's favorite kid books.  Most of these I read as a child, and am now reading to my own daughter!  Naturally, there are more books we love, so this list is not exhaustive.  

Happy reading AND memory making!

The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn
Kissing Hand (Paperback with CD)

Socks for Supper, by Jack Kent


The Moon Shines Down, by Margaret Wise Brown
The Moon Shines Down

The Story About Ping, by Marjorie Flack
The Story About Ping [Paperback] by Marjorie Flack
Katy No-Pockets, by Emmy Payne

Katy No-Pocket   [KATY NO-PCKT] [Hardcover]

Little Toot, by Hardie Gramatky

Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey

Blueberries for Sal

Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel, by Virginia Lee Burton

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel (text only) by V. Lee Burton

Make Way for Ducklings, by Robert McCloskey

Make Way For Ducklings

The Box With Red Wheels, by Maud and Miska Petersham

The Box with Red Wheels

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Review - Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough

Since going gluten free nearly a year ago, real baking has kinda, well, not happened in our home.  But for Valentine's Day, I wanted my daughter to experience cut-out cookies.  Even though Mommy and daughter wouldn't eat any, there's always Daddy!

We turned to the pre-made Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough.  At Christmas I saw a sweet TV commercial of a mom and little girl baking cut-out cookies with the Pillsbury Sugar Cookie dough.  Images of simple, quick fun danced in my head as we opened up the plastic roll of dough.

Straight out of the fridge, it was solid and cold.  (My rolling pin is still packed, SOMEwhere, so we had to use plastic cups!)  Quickly, the dough began to thaw, but we got a full pan cut out and into our pre-heated oven.  I put the other half of the dough back into the fridge to harden again.  5 minutes into cook time, we clicked on the oven light to take a quick peek.  Uhm...the cookies were HUGE!  That pan of cookies swelled up, blending into each other.  *sigh*  The cute, pressed Valentine's designs were barely recognizable.

We got the dough back out of the fridge and hoped for better results.  This time, I took pictures!  For pan #2, I used 4 cookies, and on pan #3 only 2.  Maybe this way they'd at least keep their shape.  Nope.

Just in the oven.

5 minutes into baking.

Final product, complete with toddler's icing!
 Well, these aren't exactly beautiful cut-out cookies!  But I don't think Daddy will mind.  Truthfully, we had a blast - so we did get the fun part.  But Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough for cut-out cookies gets a huge "thumbs down" from me.

On a positive note, the dough makes a super yummy cobbler topping if you're in a rush!  Mix your berries or fruit with some sugar and a hint of lemon juice.  Thickly, roll out the cookie dough.  Spread that a'top your berries.  Then, just sprinkle on some coarse sugar and you've got a fast and simple dessert!  Don't forget to bake it at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or so.  You may need to cover with foil after the cookie has browned and cook a bit longer, to help your fruit finish softening.  Enjoy!

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Review - Gluten Free Favorites

When starting out on the gluten free path, it can be overwhelming.  Overwhelming AND expensive actually.  Baking those sweet treats and pasta are often the most difficult to give up.  (What DO you eat for breakfast other than scrambled eggs when you're gluten/dairy free, anyway?  *shrugs*)

Most local grocery stores and finally, even Wal-Mart, are carrying large amounts of gluten free products.  The only thing I'm not thrilled about with nearly all gluten free products is that wheat is replaced primarily by corn with rice as a close second.  "What's corn good for?" Our nutritionist will ask you, "Nothing, other than to make cows fat."  *smiles*

So even though these items are tasty, we still have to eat them in moderation.  Funny, at first all I could think was, "FINALLY, there's SOMETHING I can actually EAT that's not meat or vegetables!"

Well, here are some my personal favorites.  Hopefully this list can save you from a headache when you're out shopping.  And save you a few dollars too!  Oh, and don't forget to check the mark-down section of your grocery store.  Often it's tucked away in a corner on a shelf or tables.  Frequently, you'll find gluten free or organic products at a great price buried there!
  • Udi's Chocolate Muffins - They freeze well!  Perfect for that chocolate fix.  Can be found at Amazon or your local store. 

Udi's Gluten Free Double Chocolate Muffins (1 Case)

  • Udi's Oatmeal Raisin Cookies - They also freeze well.  Taste like the "real" thing!  Certainly a comfort food.  Can be found at Amazon or your local store.

  • Rudi's Multi-grain Bread - This tastes the most like "real bread."  Soft.  Toasts well.  Found online or at your local store.

Rudi's Multigrain Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread

  • Hodgson Mill Pancake and Waffle Mix - We sweeten these with Agave and fresh blueberries!  Top with maple syrup and yum!  Can be found on Amazon or your local store.

Hodgson Mills, Mix, Pancake / Waffle, Gf, 8/16 Oz

  • Hodgson Mill Apple Cinnamon Muffins - We sweeten with Agave.  These do not save for very long and tend to be a bit "heavy."  Can be found on Amazon or your local store.  

  • Bob's Red Mill Corn Bread Mix - Even if you're not GF, you will LOVE this corn bread.  It's better than any other box mix - amazing.  Can be found on Amazon or your local store.

  • Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta - This pasta is the BEST GF pasta we've tried.  (We've tried Tinkyada's other varieties as well, they're great!)  It cooks well - even if you over cook, it's just fine.  Taste is marvelous.  Can be found on Amazon or at your local store.

Tinkyada Brown Rice Elbow Pasta -- 16 oz
  • Annie's Mac and Cheese -  If you're ok with including dairy in your diet Annie's will satisfy that quick mac 'n cheese craving around lunch time.  Taste really isn't far off from the traditional "Kraft" taste.  (And sometimes you can snag 'em for $1 each on sale!)  Can be found on Amazon or at your local store.

  • Larabars - If you're a fruit lover, you'll enjoy these quick snack bars.  The flavors are subtle.  Ingredients simple and straightforward.  Can be found at Costco, Amazon or your local store!  (And do look for the sales.)

Larabar Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip -- 16 Bars

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Valentine's Mantel and Napkin Wreath

With most of my decor still in boxes, it's a challenge to decorate.  Thus far, my mantel is the only thing I've tackled.   There's not one picture hanging on a wall anywhere!  Granted I'm enjoying the de-cluttered look, and am trying to take this time to scour Pinterest for ideas.

We've owned this home for about 6 months.  2 of those months we were not living in the home - smashed out walls and cabinets, torn out flooring and fresh paint kinda made me stay out.  *smiles*  Then, a couple weeks after moving into a home with renovations still in progress, I hit my head.  And now, I am under doctor's orders to do as little as possible.  Having a concussion sure takes a toll on one's life!  3 months down - and doc says 9 more to go!  *sigh*

Here's what the mantel has looked like since we got here...

Original mantel was finished wood.

We painted the mantel white to match the new crown moulding we  put in  the living room!

And yes, there was a Christmas mantel.  But Miss Concussion Brain forgot to take a pic!  This is the only pic I took of my Christmas decor.

This is my Christmas napkin wreath!  It's one of the most easiest projects I have ever tackled!

Simply get cocktail napkins (dinner napkins if you'd like) and unfold them.  Next, grab the middle of the opened napkin - like you're going to use it as tissue paper in a gift bag.  Twist the "end" just a tad and tuck it into your wreath!

It'll take 1-2 packs of napkins, depending on how full your want your wreath/the size of the wreath.  Play around with color combos, solids or even a rainbow!

As you can see, for Valentine's Day I merely squashed in a few pink napkins and added a heart!  Since my daughter's craft supplies are basically my only unpacked supplies, I find myself raiding them all the time!  This adds a bit more whimsy than I usually use, but since there IS a young child in my house, it works!

Art in the back was made by my handicapped Aunt, and given to family members one Christmas!
Share a link on this post if you ever decide to create your own napkin wreath!  Maybe in the colors of an upcoming baby or wedding shower?  It's such a cheap and simplistic way to get a lot of "wow!"

Happy Valentine's Day!

P.S. Linking up to...


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