Sunday, August 11, 2013

Card Making Tutorial - Baby Shower Gift

I made this card to accompany a baby shower gift.  It's a very basic layout that is great for beginners.  With its clean lines, it's great for highlighting a pattern paper that has caught your eye, or a large sentiment stamp you've been wanting to use.

Watch the Tutorial here:

Stampin Up Night of Navy
Stampin Up Brocade Blue

Patterned Paper:
Tan Wag from Michaels

Stampin Up Whisper White (Craft)
Stampin Up Not Quite Navy (Classic)

Close To My Heart - Love Life


Cut List:
Base - 8.5" x 5.5"
Navy - 4" x 5.25"
Gray - 3.75" x 5"
Navy - 3" x 5"
White - 1.5" x 5"

Monday, July 8, 2013

Exploring Space - The Power of Puzzles

Day 6 - The Power of Puzzles

Puzzles have been an integral part of Hannah's education up to this point.  From basic chunky puzzles as a baby, to peg styles as a toddler, and now she can quickly master jigsaw puzzles.  This puzzle from Melissa and Doug was our first giant floor puzzle, and we'll definitely be purchasing more of them in the future.  

Friday, July 5, 2013

Exploring Space - Punching Constellations

Day 5 - Punching Constellations

While it's fun to teach Hannah things, the knowledge doesn't resonate with her until she's able to connect it to her everyday life.  The concept of space and planets is hard for her to fully grasp, but stars is something she understands.  Today I focused on turning those seemingly random smattering of stars  into constellations - stories and figures that create a veritable fairytale in the night sky.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Exploring Space - Sparkle Play Dough Recipe

Day 4: Sparkle Play Dough

For those in the USA, Happy 4th of July!  I thought it would be timely to post a recipe for sparkly play dough.  When your dining room table is covered in shimmering stars, you'll understand why I thought this was a particularly patriotic post.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Exploring Space - Stamping Stars

I thought I had it all planned out.  I gathered the supplies and prepared the tray the night before, and in my mind I thought this would be the perfect activity for Hannah to do while I nursed William in the morning.  Lesson Learned - test it out ahead of time if you want it to run smoothly...

Day Three - Stamping Stars

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Exploring Space - Sensory Box

Anytime I do a 'unit' with Hannah, I make sure to have an accompanying SENSORY BOX.  Today we'll take a look at the one I put together for our look at Space.  It might seem a little bare, but Hannah absolutely loves it.

Day 2 - Sensory Box

Monday, July 1, 2013

Exploring Space - Painting Planets

I have been abysmal at blogging this year, but now that I've found the groove of life with two children, I've been itching to get behind the keyboard and type again.  I figured the best way to make myself find the time would be to 'challenge' myself to post a daily blog for 2 weeks straight.  

Since Hannah turned 2.5 years old in March, I've noticed that she is just a sponge for knowledge and facts.  The girl wants to learn, so I'm going to embrace that and create learning units for her.  Cultivating ideas from other amazing mom bloggers, pinterest, and my own imagination, we are embarking on 2 weeks in Space!  We're learning all about: Planets, Stars, the Sun, Rockets, Astronauts, and Astronomy (no aliens or robots this time).

First up: Coffee Filter Watercoloring

Saturday, February 23, 2013

36 Week 3D 4D Ultrasound Photos

I showed these photos in my 37 week pregnancy update vlog on YouTube, but I thought I'd share them here in case you wanted a closer look.  I think he looks a lot like my husband - from his chubby button nose to his receding hairline - and I love William's chubby fingers and big lips.  I can't wait to meet him!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Easy Pineapple Cake Recipe

Trying to find a 'Pineapple Cake' recipe that isn't a Pineapple Upside Down Cake is more challenging than I expected.  I was looking for a sheet cake that was thin and fairly dense, moist with crushed pineapple, and smeared with a cream cheese frosting.  After reading that description, can you really blame me?  It sounds delicious!  If only I could find the recipe...

My last employer had a policy that the birthday boy or girl had to bring in treats for everyone.  We all pretty much agreed that this policy sucked, because the last thing you wanted to do the night before your birthday was prepare snacks for a bunch of non-birthday boys and girls.  However, it was a good opportunity to try other's family recipes, and one coworker's birthday was my favorite - His wife sent him to the office with the pineapple cake described above each year on his birthday, and I looked forward to it all year.  Isn't that pathetic?  But seriously, the cake was tasty.

I've tried a few different pineapple cake recipes, and this is the closest I've found so far.  My first attempt at this recipe tonight resulted in overbaking it by about 5 minutes.  Thus it was too brown and the sugars were too caramelized.  But the moistness, denseness, and overall flavor was there.  I think if I adjusted the baking time bake from 40 minutes to between 30 and 35 minutes, it would be perfect.  This cake should be light yellow to pale golden - not brown like mine.  Boo.

Cake Recipe

2 Cups Flour - sifted
2 Cups White Sugar
2 Eggs
20 oz Crush Pineapple
2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla

Dump everything into your mixing bowl and mix until blended.  It can't get easier than that!
Pour into a greased sheet cake pan, and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.
Let sit until cooled.  You could also add some shredded coconut for a tropical flair.

Icing Recipe

8 oz Cream Cheese
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Cups Powdered Sugar - sifted
1/2 stick Butter - melted

Beat until smooth, spread on cooled cake.  Top with chopped nuts if desired.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tips for Taking Better Baby Pictures

In preparation for this little boy, my To Do list seems to be never ending lately.  Considering how many pictures and video clips I'll soon be taking, I've been cleaning out my memory cards and stalking Pinterest for newborn photo ideas.

That's why I was so excited when I was approached by Mom Central and SanDisk about sharing some tips for taking better baby photos from photographer Erin Manning.  Erin gives you advice on setting the scene and getting close to the baby for those perfect images, as well as using a SanDisk Ultra SDHC card to make sure she never misses a shot.

I only use SanDisk Ultra SDHC memory cards to capture my videos, and am excited about receiving another one for participating in this blogger promotion. One thing I've learned about having a newborn in the house is that you can never have enough memory cards, and investing in a high quality memory card really is worth it.

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for SanDisk. I received a product sample to thank me for participating.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Battle of the Nursing Pillows

Hannah was labelled a 'lazy nurser' very early on. She'd fall asleep at the breast unless I actively kept her awake during feedings. Combine that with the fact that she wasn't a dainty baby - nearly 9 and a half pounds at birth - and I was recovering from a c section, I quickly found that a nursing pillow was a necessary tool while we both learned how to breastfeed.

I used a boppy pillow because it's what I had and what others had recommended. Nowadays, there are a lot of alternatives on the market, and I think it's worth a look at your options.

Boppy Nursing Pillow with Slipcover 
The Boppy pillow is consistently hailed as one of the best baby products to own.  Not only can you use it as a nursing & feeding pillow, but it can also be used as a lounger, a prop for tummy time, and as a support while baby is learning to sit up.  Some complaints against it as a nursing pillow is that it might not fit well around your stomach if you're larger, and it might not provide enough support.  As a 6' tall woman with a long torso, my main complaint was that it did not raise Hannah high enough off my lap to properly latch onto the breast, and I still had to do most of the heavy lifting during those extended nursing sessions.  While this pillow is useful over the course of the first year, I'm not sold on using it again for my nursing pillow.


Boppy Travel Pillow

Boppy has a new option for the mom on the go.  When unzipped the pillow is very similar to the original Boppy, but this pillow folds in half and comes complete with a shoulder strap which is great if you regularly feed baby outside the home.  


My Breast Friend Original Pillow
The Breast Friend pillow comes highly recommended by many lactation consultants.  The built in back support helps you to maintain proper posture, and the belt assures a secure fit.  The pillow is firm, which supports the baby while nursing, and the built in pocket is good for keeping shields, lanolin, or burp rags close by.  There are also many slip cover options available, so you're sure to find one that fits your taste.


Balboa Baby Nursing Pillow

This pillow is obviously taller than the others featured in this post, which is something I'm looking for as a long waisted mother.  However, one review noted that while the outer edge is nearly 6", the inner edge is significantly shorts at about 3.5".  This will aid the baby in rolling towards the breast, but probably won't provide the type of support I'm looking for.


Kushies Nursing Pillow

This pillow features a contoured shape to fit around mom's tummy, and a firm flat platform for baby to lay on.  It is nice and tall, which is what I'm looking for, and at $30, is one of the more affordable options on the market.  It is currently available in pink, blue or cream polka dot pattern.


JJ Cole Paisley Feeding and Nursing Pillow
Because Hannah was a 'lazy nurser' I often fed her in the football position so that I could rock her head up and down to keep her awake.  For that reason, I like the 'paisley' shape of this pillow as it would fit nicely along the side of your body, but could still be used along your tummy for a cradle hold.  It features a contoured top to help roll the baby towards the breast, and an overall higher pillow height than some other options.


Dr. Brown's Gia Nursing Pillow

Similar to the JJ Cole pillow, the Gia pillow would work for both football and cradle holds with it's 'paisley' shape.  A unique feature is that the pillow goes from thick to thin, so that the baby nurses at an angle.  This could be useful for babies prone to acid reflux or spitting up.  


After comparing these pillows, I think I'm leaning towards the JJ Cole pillow because of my preference for the football hold.  I would also consider the Dr. Brown and Kushies pillows.

Amazon Links to the products mentioned in this post:

This post contains affiliate links to but is not a sponsored post.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Pinspired Super Bowl Feast

I'm sure back in the day, the Super Bowl was all about the actual game.
Then the witty commercials took over as a main focus of the day, and now with the introduction of Pinterest, the focus seems to be switching to the food that is served.

Since many of the Super Bowl recipes featured on blogs right now can be tweaked to fit any occasion, it's a great time to collect some new party perfect recipes for your pinterest boards.  I've been keeping my eyes open for football themed sweets, individually portioned dips, and new takes on presenting classic party fare.

As a nod to this year's match up, consider adding San Francisco inspired dishes like sourdough buns and pizza crust, or embracing Baltimore's Chesapeake Bay seafood with some crab cakes. Below you'll find a link to my Super Bowl Food Board. I'd love to hear what you're planning on serving for game day.

Carla TheBubblelush

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Citrus Lane January 2013 - Toddler Girl Box

I've been a Citrus Lane subscriber for a few months now, and have always been very impressed with the boxes before.  The brands they feature are great, and the value was always well above the price of the box itself.  This month I was happy with the brands featured, and the combined value of the box was $40, plus coupon codes for the products.
Citrus Lane is a monthly subscription box that is catered to the age and gender of your child.  The box features full sized products, and it also usually includes something special for mom - either a beauty product, chocolate, or a gift card.  The price point is $25 a month or you can opt for a 3, 6, or 12 month subscription (each subscription is discounted a bit more than the previous).  Once you have signed up, you can also receive referral credit for your friends. Use this link to Citrus Lane to save $10 off your first month!

January box for a 28 month old girl

Skip Hop Zoo Plate and Bowl Set
value: $12

These dishes are dishwasher safe - not recommended for the microwave - and BPA free.  They are a nice size for toddlers, and come in an array of animals.  Hannah received the monkey set, and while it wouldn't have been the animal *I* would have picked, she likes it and that's all that really matters. 

 Episencial Soothing Creme (full size) 
and Playful Wash (sample size)
value: $14

I had never heard of this brand, but immediately recognized the Hungry Caterpiller from Eric Carle on the front.  It turns out that this soothing creme is perfect for eczema - which Hannah usually has flares of during winter months - so the timing was perfect and I'm excited to try it out.

To-Go Disinfectant Spray from CleanWell
value: $4

With a newborn on the way, and cold & flu season upon us, I find myself eyeing the shopping carts at stores a little more skeptically then usual.  While I try not to be a germaphobe, I also hate the idea of a sick toddler, so I immediately popped this little bottle of disinfectant spray in my diaper bag.  

Over In The Meadow
from Barefoot Books
value: $10

Hannah is ALL about singing lately.  From making up her own tunes to learning all the words to her favorite cartoon jingle, our home is filled with song.  This book is advanced - making it perfect for bedtime reading - and features animals found int he meadow.  It also includes a CD with an animated video and a sing-along track.  

Previous Citrus Lane Reviews:
December 2012 Video Review

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Birchbox January Review

I've been a Birchbox subscriber for a few months now, and am really happy with this month's box.  If you're not sure what Birchbox is, it's a monthly sample box of makeup and beauty products that are tailored to your personal profile.  It's a 'discovery' box that hopes to introduce you to new brands and products that will fit your style, skin tone, and hair type.  Each box is $10 and ships free, so it's my personal beauty splurge each month.

This is what came in my January 2013 box:

amika Color pHerfection Shampoo

Overview: This color-friendly shampoo contains Siberian sea buckthorn berry oil, which is loaded with omega acids and vitamins to promote hair health. The silky shampoo sinks into each hair follicle to quench dryness and repair damage. The sweet scent comes courtesy of wild cherry extract.

Review: This shampoo smells amazing, and suds up nicely.  My blonde hair loves to turn brassy with our water, so I like that this shampoo is a color protectant.  My hair also felt less dry and winter ravaged at the ends after just one use.  $22 for a 14.37oz bottle is a little steep for my budget, but the shampoo seems to do everything it says it will and -seriously- smells great.
Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrè

Overview: This velvety moisturizer gives skin the ultimate silky finish, thanks to generous amounts of soothing shea butter and aloe vera. It’s rich without being heavy, and can be used on all skin types. Plus, it doubles as a makeup remover, post-shave soother, and baby cream.

Review: Chalk it up to pregnancy hormones, or my skin overcompensating for the dryness in the air, but my skin has been an oily mess the past few weeks, so I just tried this as an overnight cream. I also might be getting a little anxious about entering my 30's in less than 6 months and taking skin care a little more seriously nowadays. A 24 hour miracle cream 'slathered' on before bedtime seems like something I should start doing.  This is a 'cult' cream out of France that gets rave reviews.  It also costs a pretty penny at $28 for 75mL.  Then again, how can you really put a price on avoiding a wrinkly neck?  I'm not sure I'm a convert yet, but this brand was new to me and it was nice to try.

Juice Beauty Daily Essentials Organics To Go

Overview: Juice Beauty's Organics To Go collection is a five part skin regimen. The Cleansing Milk is a creamy cleanser made with grape seed and sunflower oils that purifies skin and banishes makeup. The Green Apple Peel Sensitive is an award- winning peel made with a gentle yet effective dose of organic, fruit-derived hydroxy acids and raw sugar cane, while the Antioxidant Serum is a light, peptide- and vitamin-infused hydrator. The Hydrating Mist is made with rosehip, ylang ylang, and organic fruit juices to give skin an antioxidant boost, and the Nutrient Moisturizer is a lush cream rich in fatty acids derived from plant oils.

Review: I am NOT new to this brand. Citrus Lane included a sample of the nutrient Moisturizer in a previous box, and I loved it so much, I am not using the Organics To Go collection myself. At $29, it's a great price point to try out all five parts of the collection before making the big leap to buy the full size products. I'm actually planning on a video review of this product line, so look for that in the near future.

theBalm® cosmetics Put a Lid On It™

Overview: This eyelid primer is the Thelma to your eye shadow’s Louise. The velvety formula guarantees that colorful shadows stay bright and smudge-free for hours. Suitable for all skin types and tones, the sheer formula blends in seamlessly and doesn’t leave any kind of residue on your lids.

Review: I've been using a primer under my foundation for a few years now with great results, but hadn't yet tried an eyelid primer even though I'm always dealing with creasing and smudging eye shadows - Thus I was very excited to try out theBalm's primer. The cheeky packaging is very cute, and at $18 I think the product will last long enough to make it worth your money. You only use a little bit with each application, and I was impressed by how smoothly it applied. The last thing I wanted to do was tug on that delicate eyelid skin, but it went on evenly and was not greasy. Even better, this product hasn't even launched yet! It will be available in February, but some Birchbox users like me were already able to try it - just another perk of Birchbox.

Juicy Couture - Viva La Juicy

Overview: Top notes of wild berries and sweet mandarin flirt with lady-like middle notes of honeysuckle, jasmine, and gardenia. Warm base notes of caramel, amber, vanilla, sandalwood, and praline hover beneath it all.

Review: In a few weeks - okay, probably about 8 weeks - I'll have a newborn and will stop wearing perfume for a while.  But in the meantime, I'm loving all the perfume samples from Birchbox.  At $90 for a 34oz bottle, I won't be purchasing the full sized product anytime soon, but I like having the little spritzer sample in my stash for future date nights.  I love the warmth - and dare I say sexiness - of the vanilla and amber, and the sweet mandarin hints make it acceptable for daytime use.  Hannah thinks it smells 'pwetty!' and Chris ... lets just say he approved. *wink*

Birchbox also offers a Men's box and newly introduced a Home box as well.  Both of these are at a higher price point than the Woman's sample box.  This post contains affiliate links.  I purchased this product myself and do not receive compensation from Birchbox for my reviews.  My opinions are my own.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Big JJ Cole Sale Starts Tomorrow!

Hey girls!
Just a heads up that JJ Cole Collections is having a warehouse sale  January 17th through January 21st.

The sale is online only, and unfortunately for US customers only, but products on sale will include diaper bags, bundlemes, and strollers with savings between 30% and 70% off.

All products are new with warranties, but quantities are limited, so if you're interested you should check out the website as soon as the sale is live - noon EST/9am PST January 17th.



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