Monday, January 31, 2011

Interview with Shelly Rose

This is Shelly Rose!
We're really excited to offer you a new product in the store.  All natural, handmade dryer balls from designer Shelly Rose.  Shelly is a WAHM who also follows natural parenting ideals, loves crafting, being with her kids, and is really excited to work with us too!  We decided that you, our customers, needed to know a bit more about our latest product designer, so without further ado, here is our interview with Shelly Rose.

Some of her beautiful, dryer balls!
-What started you making dryer balls?
~What started me making dryer balls really stems from me always thinking of what I can do to help my family and myself in my free time.  I don't like to be idle as I figure there is always something I can do...that'll be helpful.  I sold girl scout cookies and magazine/cd subscriptions in school.  

When I was 15 my friend and I saw some mistletoe in a tree and her father suggested that we might be able to sell it door to door in our small town.  So I put her on my shoulders and she gathered it up (as it is very high in the trees) and we took it home...and put wrapping paper ribbon on bunches and spray glitter on it.  We walked around in the cold Southern Oregon Coast rain door to door one Saturday afternoon and sold most of the bunches:) 

So after years of crafts and hobbies, my husband seeing me make a bunch of handbags said why don't you try to sell some...well my cousin had an Etsy site and she was doing I started that and stumbled upon some dryer balls:) 

I had seen those plastic dryer balls before (in my MIL dryer who has been my biggest supporter and my first and best customer:) but didn't like the thought of HOT plastic in my dryer and air and when I saw wool ones...and I had extra wool laying around...I just made a few sets and listed them and then tested them and they sold!  So I made more ...and they sold...and then I got serious! 

-What are the advantages of dryer balls over dryer sheets?
Dryer balls are better than dryer
1.  They won't leave a residue of chemicals on your your towels will actually absorb water better because they don't have any residue on them.
2.  They dry your clothes faster (dryer sheets don't dry faster.)
3.  They fluff your clothes.
-Are they difficult to make & how DO you make them?
Are they difficult to make...well they are very time consuming and energy consuming which I don't think people know:)  It takes me at least 15 minutes (without kid interruption) to make the first ball...and then I have to wrap it and then soak it and then felt it and then put in in the dryer and then take out of the wrap and then soak again at least 2 more properly felt them. 

So it is very time consuming, but the kids love to help me as they like to play in the soapy water and throw balls in the dryer:)  I always dry my balls in a load of wet laundry so as not to waste energy (plus dryers as expensive to run:) so some days my laundry piles up waiting for an order and some days my sheets get cleaned a day or two earlier than normal:)

-Do you think they help produce less lint in dryers?
Honestly I don't know if they produce less lint.  Maybe a tiny bit as there are pills that form on the balls, but really the main purpose of the dryer balls is to keep chemicals out and dry your clothes faster = less energy wasted:)

-I assume you're a WAHM, as am I, how do you find time to make these?
How to find time to make dryer balls:)  Well if I am really busy, I get up before the kids and hubby and can do quite a bit in the am make balls and answer emails and then the kids get up and I get them ready for school and make breakfast and then I do more dryer ball work and do some chores and then I get a shower and they get a bath after while the dryer balls are in the dryer for their first felt with a load of laundry and then lunch...and so on...some days I do stay up an extra hour or two after the kiddies go to bed to wrap things up if need be.  I don't like to take away from being a caretaker and mommy so I find time in between and when they are sleeping:)

-When and why did you decide to go into business for yourself?
I don't know if I ever really decided to go into my own business...I just did what was natural and that was making useful items and helping others out while helping my family.  One of my biggest moments in the beginning was buying a whole box of mailers!  It was only 250 envelopes, but at $100 or so it was a lot to me...then there was my first retailer and I am still in awe thinking that my balls are out there in the middle of America...literally...being sold:)  So...I just take it a day...a week...a month at a time.  I have enough supplies on hand for a few large orders and am thankful everyday for the small orders. 

I am just glad to help others and do my part in being green and am especially thankful that I can do it from home while raising my kids. :)  I still can't believe that I have a business...because I don't think of myself as being the "business type".  I feel bad if a customer has to wait more than a day of ordering to have their dryer balls sent out (even in snow and sickness), but I am very much aware of customers.

 I worked years in a craft retail store as a customer service manager, an ordering specialist, a trainer, and a store manager and have been a customer myself so this part of the business I know inside and out and I think that has helped me in countless ways. 

Thank you, Shelly Rose! We hope you, our customers, will check into her products with us and her!
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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Weekend Fun at Sara Rose's House!

What are your plans for the weekend, everybody?  We've got some super fun cleaning (hear the sarcasm drip) to get done, first.  Then we have got crafts, movies, baking and cooking galore!  My dear friend, Vailferree, is coming over for Sunday brunch of Eggs Benedict. (By the way, if you readers want the recipe for my special homemade Eggs Benedict, just comment and I'll share!)  I got two really cool crafts from Etsy- a set of diffferent sized 'Valentine Blocks' to paint and put together, and a set of Valentine's to put together too!

We'll do some painting because Eva and I love creating art together and Owen is starting to really enjoy his finger paints . . . especially putting them in my hair. Eva will work on her Valentines for class at some point and I'm pretty sure we're watching Barbie: A Fashion Fairy Tale.  We also have some baking to do!  This weekend brings two great recipes to try- cranberry bread, and my favorite cookies ever, peanut butter chocolate chip!

We're reading Alice In Wonderland to Eva and working through a great pile of cool Richard Scarry books for Owen.  Have a great weekend from us at Elegant Mommy and if you're out shopping, stop and say hi!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Healthy Dinners: Shannon's Spicy Corn Chowder

Shannon, Aaron, and beautiful Taylor.
Winter weather calls for warm, thick soups, don't you think?  I certainly do, and soup is one of our 'budget stretchers' and 'clean out the pantry' types of foods.  I would say here at my house (Sara Rose here), we eat soup at LEAST once a week, and always have left overs to eat or freeze.  There's nothing better that sitting down, after a long week, and spending time together over warming bowls of soup.

This recipe is courtesy of my dear friend Shannon.  We've been friends for years now and we have such busy schedules that we really, rarely get to see each other.  But we try to find time to at least drop off treats, some magazines, and a friendly wave to each other once a month.  Shannon is married to a great guy, has a terrific relationship with her step daughter, Taylor, and is a fellow pug lover!

We really should see each other more often but we simply have totally opposite work and life schedules!  We daydream about all those girly things we'd love to do together- spa days, trips to resorts, shopping sprees, but what we really have in common is our love of FOOD.  We love eating together, baking together, cooking together, and also doing those three things FOR each other!

Shannon is one of the most accomplished cooks I know, but she still finds a way to cook things down to earth and relatively easy to make.  For my birthday, when I turned 27 (and ended up having my son, Owen the very next day) she stopped over with the most wonderful treat a girl could get- a beautiful birthday cake made with my two favorite things in a dessert EVER- orange pound cake, and dark chocolate frosting!!! I AM SO LUCKY!!!

When Shannon and I first met, we bonded fast over our love of a variety of cuisines, how much we love cooking for our loved ones.  We both really love soups and we both adore soup recipes that are easily adaptable.  Which now leads me to my next point.  This is spicy corn chowder, but it does NOT have to be too spicy for your tastes.  You can substitute milder peppers, less pepper, other veggies, etc.  Use your pantry!  The recipe is quick, easily adaptable, and can be left in a crock pot to pull together while you are a busy with minimal work from you.  That's a soup that deserves lots of attention, right.

Thank you, Shannon, for your years of friendship, love, and recipes!

Spicy corn & potato chowder
Serves 8-10 large bowls
2 10-oz. packages frozen whole kernel corn (or 8 fresh ears of corn, with the kernels sliced into a strainer and gently rinsed)
3-4 red potatoes peeled and diced (I am  lazy and often don't peel my potatoes.  Personal preference, I honestly like potato skins.)
1 finely chopped onion (I use red onion)
2 4-oz. cans chopped green chili peppers
1 red bell pepper finely chopped
1 jalapeno very finely chopped (You may sub in a chipotle pepper and a few teaspoons of adobo sauce. Or milder poblano peppers, or perhaps green chilies- whatever your spicy level tastes prefer!)
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
salt to taste
3 cups whole milk (or half & half - personal taste on thickness)
small handful of snipped cilantro or parsley
1.  Gently saute first 6 ingredients in a large pan with a tablespoon of olive oil for about five minutes.  Meanwhile, bring bullion, milk, salt and pepper to a low boil.
2.  Add the sauteed ingredients to the simmering milk mixture.  Cook together for roughly 30 minutes at an even simmer.
3.  Serve, garnishing with cilantro or parsley.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Birth In South Dakota: The Politics

Map of USA with South Dakota highlightedImage via WikipediaWe have had the pleasure to work with Debbie Pease a number of times to promote healthy, safe, and extended child birth options here in South Dakota.  We want to ensure that the families of South Dakota have the right to choose how they want to bring their babies into this world.  This includes the right to choose a midwife or a home birth, and have that okay-ed by both a doctor and at least partially covered by your insurer.  Next week, new legislation on child birth options in South Dakota goes to vote by our legislators.

We want you to be able to choose how you want to create your family.  We support midwifery as a safe and alternate practice and hope you take the time to click through some of the links that we have provided so you can be educated and make sure your local and state legislators know your feelings on the matter as well.  There is a great discussion going on right now about this over at this link!

Here's a few links for you to check out and I do hope you help support this important legislation. Also, tomorrow in Pierre, there will be a presentation on the bill and midwives in South Dakota.  If you are in the area, check it out!  There will also be a hearing on the bill on February 3rd.

Always remember, 'There are thousands of dollars to be saved by simply giving mothers better care'.

Some links-

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

LAST DAY For Our Sling Give Away!

You can still enter our Baby 'Roo Sling Giveaway all the way until midnight!  Again, Baby 'Roos retail at $47.99- wouldn't it be nice to not have to pay that?  Baby wearing really helps the parent and child bond, and is especially important for newborns, as they need to feel the warmth and security of being right next to you!

Here's the details, one last time!

1. Go to the original post, and comment with either a picture of you wearing your baby or a story of your favorite baby wearing experience.
2.  Follow us on Twitter!
3.  Go to FaceBook and Like both Elegant Mommy and Baby 'Roo Slings!

The contest ends tonight!  Be sure you're entered!

Baby Signing Class Soon! Sign Up!

Saturday, January 29, 2011, 9:30 AM to 10:15 AM
Recur every 1 week(s) on Saturday until 3/19/2011 11:59:00 PM.
Elegant Mommy
2109 W. 49th St., Sioux Falls, SD

Signing is one of the easiest and fastest way to encourage your bundle of joy to learn how to communicate with you, and vice versa!  Sign up at Elegant Mommy, email us for more details, or give us a call at 605-338-0228!  We can't wait to see you!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Just A Few More Days!

Remember that our contest for that wonderful Baby Roo sling is done Wednesday at midnight!

To Enter:

1.  Like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.
2. Post a picture on the original contest blog post OR a comment featuring you wearing your baby or your favorite baby wearing experience!

We will announce the winner no later than this coming Monday!

Baby 'Roo Slings retail at $47.99, so don't pass up the chance to get one free!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sara's Take: Potty Training At Our House.

Oh, the joys you never think of before you become a parent!  (I take that back, I did have to potty train the years I nannied too.)  According to my mother, I was potty trained at 18 months and now that I am a few kids deep into potty training, I honestly think she was potty trained, NOT ME.  Ok.  I got that out of my system. Both Eva and Owen did (and now have) shown signs of being ready to start but not necessarily be totally trained.  At 18 months, Eva started taking off dirty diapers, sitting on her diaper, and following us to the bathroom.

I totally encouraged this and got a little crazy with the whole training thing.  Like, asking my daughter manically every 20 minutes if it was 'time to go potty', having potty parties, sitting in the bathroom while my daughter sobbed on her potty for hours (keeping it real, here), and basically making myself hysterically obsessed with my daughter's potty habits.

Then I got pregnant. And despite how much I love my kiddos, pregnancy was miserable.  I was sick constantly, on bed rest, and just plain hugs and in pain.  Suddenly, my daughter started successfully potty training.  May I mention, that she finally successfully got done with training, accidents, etc., between the ages of 3 and 3 1/2? And that I started at 18 mos? That's a lot of ruined pairs of underwear. So, lets talk about what I did wrong and right here.

It was definitely the right choice of having her check out her potty when she started taking dirty diapers off and checking out her potty.  But obsessively forcing her onto the potty constantly and staying there hours?  She really wasn't ready.  She just didn't have the control and understanding to associate the two.  But, I do credit the idea that another kiddo was coming and my unwillingness to diaper two children with helping finally getting Eva trained.

I guess I both relaxed and got more strict, if that makes any sense.  I came up with some ground rules of potty training in our house as we went along and I'm not sure how they'll work with our son but we'll try to adapt as he goes along.  He's almost 19 months old now and starting to show the same signs of 'getting ready' as his sister did, so here's how we're going to probably go along:

1.  Introduce him to sitting on his potty, every time her takes a dirty one off or we change him.  Have him/her sit for a few minutes, then change the child.

2.  Take him with us to the bathroom, when we do our own business, so he can start to see that the potty is where you do go potty.

3.  Books, books, and play!  This worked really well for our daughter.  We read her things like "No More Diapers For Ducky" or "I'm a Big Girl Now!" and played with her dolls with the potty and her.  We pretended that one of her dolls had been napping, eating, or playing, and then say "Oh! Dollie has to go to the bathroom! Let's take her!"

4.  If you have to, go cold turkey, when you finally feel like your kid is fully 'ready'.  We broke out the mattress pads and rubber sheet liner right about when she was 3.  She got special underwear and special pajamas because at that time, she was really good at going during the day but still having night accidents.

5.  Don't freak out over accidents.  Just stay simple and say something like "Oh that's too bad. We have to try harder to make it to the potty next time, huh?" When she didn't have accidents, took her self successfully to her little potty or used her special seat for the regular toilet, etc., we cheered and danced around like fools.

6.  Which brings me to praise.  I think it's important to try hard NOT TO stress accidents, just say something short and brief, but REALLY praise successes.  I noticed when we were especially negative or stressed out, Eva had more accidents.  She also got really discouraged.  But when we praised her consistently for even TRYING, she went more often successfully.

7.  When Eva was still having night time accidents, one of us slept in the living room (closer to her room and her bathroom) and even sometimes had 'sleep overs' in her room with her, made sure she had a night light, the hall did, and her bathroom did.  She knew she could take herself or ask us for help.

8.  When we were having more failures than successes, we laid off for a bit and then after a week or two, started back up again.  I just don't think potty training works for anybody in the house, if everyone is stressed out.

9.  You can use a bit of peer pressure.  Just don't make it negative!!!  I cant stress taking negativity out of this enough.  In my experience, being negative is the fastest way to get them to NOT use the potty successfully.  But if a friend came over for a play date and was using the potty, I'd just casually mention, "Oh wow! So and so is using the potty, honey!  Isn't that neat?  I know soon you can use the potty just like him/her too!"

10.  Do not, and I repeat DO NOT, try to get your kid to do more than they feel ready.  Ignore all the voices of everybody who is bragging up "Oh my kid was potty trained at 10 months!" or "Why on earth is your kid NOT trained yet!"  It's hard, I know, but ignore it.  Your kid is your kid and that means that they are different and special.  Each of your kids may be entirely different with this whole process. Just go with it.

11.  Make sure your child care provider (if you have one) is entirely on board with how you do things too.  Of course, it is important for kids to understand that different people have different rules in their homes, etc., but if you feel like your kid won't respond to how they do things, just talk with them and see if they are willing to make a few adjustments.

Which brings me back to Owen.  He got his 'froggy potty' (it is shaped like a frog and very easy to sit on) for Christmas.  When he starts pulling at his diaper or  we know it's time for a change, we take him to it and have him sit for a few minutes.  Then we change him and talk about using the potty.  But he is 19 months, so I'm not putting myself under the pressure I did last time.  Instead, I'm trying really hard to follow his lead, and make 'potty time' into less of a chore.  He gets to play with his animals and his potty, and we read him books, just like we did with Eva.

The point of all this?  Follow your kids cues!  They might be afraid, they might be intimidated, or they may just plan, not be ready.  They will show you when they will be ready for the next step, you just need to listen and watch, then go from there.  Going cold turkey or stressing yourself out too early makes this entirely unhappy for both them and you.  Praise them for successes and keep criticism limited.  Only step up the pressure when you see your kid is ready for the next step.  And, of course, remember PRAISE.  Keep the negativity limited.  This is a long process for anyone, so don't make it miserable for you or them!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Shelly Rose Giveaway!

Help Elegant Mommy give Shelly Rose a little Facebook love!  We are offering a $10 gift card give away to Elegant Mommy, if you go to hers and our Facebook Pages to like them!  Shelly Rose wants to reach 750 likes by Sunday evening and we want to give YOU a gift card!  Shelly Rose will also throw in a little something special to go with your gift card!  So, go to both Facebook pages, click Like, come back here, and comment that you Liked Shelly Rose Designs!
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Friday Family Dinner- Healthy Nachos!

When one puts the words 'healthy' and 'family dinner' together, they usually wouldn't associate 'nachos' with that.  But, it's going to be Friday night, and what could be better in this freezing weather than a pile of nachos, straight from the oven, for everybody to share?  Here, in America, we've all but abandoned the family dinner table and I'd like to see that change.

There are lots of important things about sitting down as a family nightly, to share a meal.  If we can't manage nightly, then let's try for as many nights as we can. Sitting down to eat with your family is so important.  It's a time for tensions to be put aside, the week's stress to melt away, and most importantly- reconnect with your spouse and kids.  Some of my best memories as a kid were of us eating dinner together.  It didn't matter how fancy the meal was.  What mattered is that my parents and I were together, talking to each other candidly, laughing, and sharing.

Healthy nachos don't have to be incredibly difficult, in fact if you've got some veggies, meat, cheese, chips, and salsa hanging out in your house, then you are set to go.  Your kids can help out with things like setting the table, arranging the toppings, and if they are older- shredding cheese or carefully chopping things.  The only other things you need are you oven, a cookie sheet, and a pan to brown your meat and beans.  So, let's get cooking!

You need:

-1 can of pinto or black beans, drained and rinsed
-1 lb of hamburger or chicken (if you use chicken, you can chop it into small cubes before cooking, also remember that meat is entirely optional)
-1-2 cloves of garlic, minced, and a small onion diced
-Your favorite taco seasoning (prepackaged or if you use your own seasonings, that's fine too!)
-1 cup of shredded Monterrey jack or cheddar cheese, or a combo of both
-Toppings like cubed avocado, tomatoes, olives, jalapenos, salsa, or sour cream (tailor your toppings to your family's preferences)

Let's get started!

-Start your oven warming at 250 degrees.  Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil in your pan to fry up stuff in.
-When your oil is hot (not smoking, set this pan over medium heat), toss in your garlic and onions to saute.  Saute them for three to 5 minutes, or until they are tender and fairly translucent, then add in your meat to brown.  You can drain of any grease and oil before the next step, if you prefer.
-When your meat is browned, add your seasonings (According to their directions, or your preferences), and your beans.  Let simmer together for about 5 minutes or until any liquid is reduced.
-I like to line my cookie sheet with waxed paper before putting the nachos together to bake.  If you don't have waxed paper on hand, a light coat of non-stick cooking spray will do the trick.  It helps clean up be so much easier!
-Spread out tortilla chips (we LOVE a mixture of whole grain chips and blue corn tortilla chips) on the cookie sheet.  Top with the bean and meat mixture, then sprinkle your cheese evenly over it.
-Bake the nachos in the oven until cheese is melted and slightly bubbly.  Usually this doesn't take longer than 5-10 minutes.
-Bring over to the table and let everybody take their serving and garnish with the toppings they like.
-Enjoy your Friday night!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

BabyRoo Sling Give Away!

We're having a great Baby 'Roo Sling giveaway!  Baby 'Roo's retail here at $47.99 but you can get one FREE!!!  To Enter and Win, you should:

-Like BOTH Elegant Mommy and Baby 'Roo Slings on Facebook.|
-FOLLOW Elegant Mommy on Twitter.
-AND post a picture and/or comment HERE about your favorite baby wearing experience!

The contest will run one week, today until January 26th (at midnight).  We will contact and announce the winner by the end of next week!  Good luck!

Adorable Baby 'Roo Sling!

Hey! Did You Know?

Here at Elegant Mommy, we are really pro-breast feeding.  We also totally understand that it's not always easy and that a lot of moms need things like breast pumps, sound information and facts, and a lot of help to keep their milk supply going or if their little ones are struggling with breast feeding too.

Don't give up hope!  Breast feeding is one of the best, healthiest, and most natural choices you can make for you and your baby.  At Elegant Mommy, we have La Leche League meeting the second Thursday evening of every month, contact information for the Sioux Falls area LLL Leader, and a fully trained LLL counselor on staff.  We want to be your first stop if you need help and/or breast feeding products.

Elegant Mommy is full line Medela retailer. We are working on getting the products on our website, but until then, you can call us and we can get you a great deal on purchasing a new breastpump or renting a hospital grade breastpump!   We also have a variety of other breast feeding products for you to choose from.

We are borrowing this question from their page today...

My funniest moment breastfeeding was ________....Fill in the blank!

Be sure to keep us in mind as you start or continue breast feeding.  We're always here to help!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Two New Widgets For You

vegetablesImage via WikipediaWe are coupon junkies, by nature, both Shelly and I.  Is it the mommy syndrome?  I honestly was never so obsessed with coupons until recently, but man I hoard them like uncut diamonds now!  The other day, at the grocery store, the lady ahead of me had been in a hurry and abandoned her receipt and coupons.  There were seriously 10 of them! TEN!!!!   I squealed at the delights of yogurts, frozen veggies, butter, milk, etc., all on sale with these coupons!

In the past, I really dismissed coupons.  I always wondered how much money people were really saving.  Then I decided to do some research when I realized that for some reason, despite us attempting to stay within our weekly food budget, we were still paying these sky high grocery bills.  Suddenly, the idea of saving 50 cents didn't seem so stupid after all.

I realize that with coupons, it is much the same as it is shopping for great deals ANYWHERE.  Pay attention to the fine print, there are some coupons that are NOT a deal, like the one I found where you got 3 v8 fusions at 25 cents off each. Wow. What. A. Deal. NOT.  But the one to get $1 off a bag of Bird's Eye Frozen Fruit or Vegetables? That I'll keep.

We decided to put two new widgets up, here at the blog- Coupons by Dede and Swagbucks. To put it simply,k Coupons by Dede has new coupons daily that could be of use to you and Swagbucks is a search engine where you earn 'bucks' to purchase things and coupons deeply discounted.  We love a good bargain and we know you do too!

So, happy Friday evening and check out the new widgets soon!  There is a lot of new stuff coming to the blog soon, so stay tuned!
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Sara's Take: Kids Sharing Rooms

bright kids bedroomImage by ooh_food via FlickrTo continue the dialogue between Shelly and I, I wanted to offer up my view point on this too.  Part of what I love about my job is that we're open to discussing whatever is on your mind (or ours), and saying that this is a negative free zone!  You can comment, or voice an opinion without backlash from us, because we really do recognize the idea that it takes all kinds of parents to make this world go around!  So, without  further ado- more on sharing rooms!

Despite being an only child, whether or not our kids had turned out to be different genders, my husband and I agreed early on that, for awhile, they would share a room.  A lot of people thought this was odd, apparently coming from parents who are both only children.  Other people thought it odd because our kids are different genders and that it might be ‘uncomfortable’ or ‘inappropriate’.  

Personally, I don’t find these arguments valid for a number of reasons.  I have a degree in psychology and I focused on child/family psychology specifically.  Despite Freudian followers, especially after having countless clinical hours in with kids, it’s very hard for me to believe that siblings view each other sexually  at early stages.  If they do, it is more out of curiosity than attraction or exploration.

But the need to learn how to share things, space, and time with other people is invaluable.  I specifically remember talking with my mother about our desire to have our kids share a room for some part of their childhood.  My mother has 8 siblings and throughout her childhood, shared a room with at least one other person. She mentioned repeatedly how it taught her about compromise, respect for other people’s privacy and belongings, and that, had I not been an only child then I would have most likely shared a room with a sibling.  My mother also pointed out that both she and her siblings have all voiced, at different times, the fact that because they shared bedrooms, they feel like they were much closer than had they not.

Seeing as my husband and I are both only children, we both crave things like ‘alone time’ or ‘down time’, perhaps more often than other couples.  But it makes our relationship unique because we understand that the other person needs time to recharge their batteries so they can be a better partner and parent.  Of course, kids do need that time too, but learning the ins and outs of sharing and working as a team at an early age are to any one's advantage.  

As Shelly noted in her post, in our household, we are open and honest about the differences between boys and girls.  We also don’t discourage our children if they want to run around in a tee shirt and underwear at home (or less, if it was my daughter’s choice).  I probably wouldn’t even have my daughter potty trained had I not allowed her the freedom to be naked when she was younger. (Just kidding!)

Society puts a lot of structure and demand on children, even early on.  While I definitely respect the idea that my kids should be clothed to go to the grocery store, for example, I never want them to feel embarrassed or shy about themselves at home, in private.  Kids are only young and innocent for so long before they have to think about the realities of peer pressure, conformity, and how they ‘should’ look or act.  I would rather my kids be comfortable in their own skins and around each other than the exact opposite.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Healthy Birth Luncheon

We are very excited to be serving lunch to our legislators today from 11am - 2pm in the President's and Speaker's Lobby, over in Pierre. We have make your own sandwiches with homemade buns and meat and cheese trays, veggies and homemade treats along with coffee, bottled juice and water.

The food for this lunch was donated from families all across the state who want to see more birth options in South Dakota.  Join us!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Shelly's Take: Kids Sharing Rooms

When my husband and I decided to build our house, we knew that we wanted to design our house our way and so we started with a floor plan and made the changes necessary to accommodate life as WE planned it. The original floor plan we decided that we liked had 3 bedrooms and 1 bath on the main floor. However, we KNEW that we were going to have about 3 years between each of our kids, so by the time our 2nd child needed a bedroom the first one would be 4 years old.

We designed our house with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms on the main floor. Well, life has sure taught us that things don't always go as WE plan! Our first 2 children are only 13 months apart and our genders fall boy/girl/boy. So that means that there are only 2 bedrooms on our main floor to fit 5 people. I wasn't comfortable moving the 2 older kids downstairs until they were at least in school. That meant that our son and daughter had to share a bedroom for the better part of 5 years.

I'm one of those parents that is very matter of fact about things that embarrass some people in life. When my son has asked what a certain body part is, I tell him. When my daughter wants to know why she has different body parts than her brothers, I tell her. Our bodies and the functions that we are born with are very natural and absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about.

In our home, there is no reason for people to be ashamed about who they are or how they are made. Sharing a room is something that our children have enjoyed for years. While we did transition each of them to their own bedrooms this year, the kids learned how to play well with each other and learn how to share. Even though they had separate beds (2 toddler beds that then turned into a twin over full bunk bed), many times they slept in one bed. They enjoyed the security of being close to someone else.

They have now outgrown sleeping in the same bed, as we assumed they would do. However, it is what worked for our family at that stage in their lives and I would encourage each of you to do what works best for your family at this stage in your life as well!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

La Leche League- This Week!

Nurse the baby: your protection against troubl...Image via WikipediaA quick reminder to all our valued parents and customers, this week we will have our La Leche League meeting Thursday, at Elegant Mommy, at 6:30 pm.  If you cannot attend but need some help and advice, our local leader is always available to take calls and schedule time with you.  We also have a certified LLL Peer Counselor employed here at the shop!  So, our next question, of course, is what is La Leche League?

LLL exists to help support families that are actively breast feeding their children on a variety of topics.  From ways to encourage milk production to handling anxiety about breast feeding in public, any number of topics that are associated with breast feeding can be talked about with a LLL counselor or leader.

As firm advocates of natural parenting, we do believe in the importance of breast feeding and understand the challenges that parents can face with it.  We do know that it isn’t for everyone but if there is a way to help someone overcome any issue, large or small, with their own attempts at it, we are proud to offer a location where you can go and ask questions with ease and openness.

Your LLL leader or counselor can help you with so many different areas of breast feeding.  For example, if you are a working mother who decides to pump and bottle feed, they can help you explore how to keep your milk supply up and ways to ensure you are getting the best quality of milk for your baby.

Fathers are more than welcome at LLL meetings too.  It’s a way they can show their support and continue their involvement in bonding with their children and wives.  Often times, there can be rough patches with breast feeding, so having someone with you who can empathize or offer help is of special importance!  We hope to see you Thursday evening and again, you can always contact Elegant Mommy to get more information on our local LLL leaders and counselors.  Be sure to check out their website too at-

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Sara Roses Co-Sleeping Compomise

Remember that a few weeks back, when I mentioned how my son suddenly was refusing to nap unless someone was lying right beside him? Despite months of peaceful napping on his own, in his own room, alone?  When he suddenly started to refuse to nap alone, in his bed with us in the room, or after us rocking/bouncing/soothing him to sleep on his own, it was time to do some research. IT was also time to re-open our mindsets and adapt.

According to a lot of natural and attachment parenting , regression to needing extra comfort can happen especially when your child hits normal growth spurt and teething stages.  Well, this is obviously going on here, because I had Owen stand next to the wall where we mark our kids’ growth every few months and within TWO WEEKS of the last measurement Owen had, he had shot up nearly two more inches.

I had also noticed that he’s starting to say more words, or attempt them and he has also managed to master some new coordination tasks.  Oh, and did I mention that the little guy can scale walls, Spider Man style?  No joke, I can’t WAIT until he and Eva share a room, and she wakes up with him swinging from the ceiling. I can just picture her hurtling into our room in a dead panic over this.  It will be another source of comedy!

A lot of the websites and even our own doctor mentioned that if a child has been used to co-sleeping or family beds, when they hit certain growth spurts, they can regress or get some serious insecurities going on.  Our doctor soothed me and said, “He’ll get back to napping on his own again.  But if he needs you with him for awhile, then remember, you only have so much time with them at this age.  He goes to bed at night just fine, so I’m sure you or your husband could afford an extra bit of shut eye during the day to catch up on lack of sleep!”

What she and a lot of other parents said does make sense, especially for me.  When I had Eva, for awhile, I was a single mother- both working and going to school along with raising Eva on my own.  While I had no idea that my husband and I would end up married sooner rather than later, Eva had to be independent from an early age.  I had to have her be able to nap and sleep on her own so that I could do home work, house work, or even just breathe for a moment.

I’ve been really lucky that I was able to do things differently with my son, and also find ways to spend more time with our daughter.  I truly consider our bed to be a family bed, one where both of our kids feel warm, welcomed, and appreciated.  If they have bad dreams, or have a night where they just need a bit more love and cuddle, we can accommodate and appreciate.  These days are limited!  Soon they won’t want to be around us at all, right?  (According to some parents- who knows with these kids I’m raising!)

I feel that co-sleeping really fosters a different, perhaps more solid sense of security between kids and parents.  Some of the best conversations I have had with my daughter has been right before we both drifted off.  I want that sort of openness to continue to be fostered as my kids grow, I Want them to be unafraid to come to us when they need someone.  Hopefully, co-sleeping is a way to encourage that.  This little regression won’t last and soon Owen will be happy to sleep on his own again.  As for me, well a few more minutes of sleep added into my regular schedule doesn’t hurt, I just have to do things a bit differently now.

Friday, January 7, 2011

How Did You Announce Your Pregnancy?

We had a lot of great responses to this question on Facebook, so I (Sara Rose here), decided I'd share my pregnancy stories here with you too! 

Well, I had no idea I was prego with Eva (my 5 year old), so this may be dumb but I went in because I thought I had an ulcer. SERIOUSLY. BUT I HAVE A REASON! I have never had a normal 'cycle' and I actually spotted lightly the first two months of her pregnancy. As soon as the doctor walked in, he humorously said, "Well, you may GET an ulcer but you don't have one yet. You're pregnant." He had a student doctor with him and I just stuttered out an "I have to go! Right now! I've got to figure this out!"

I told her biological father next.  We were never serious and we decided pretty early on that I would raise her and that he would be in the picture when he was ready and that he and Eva would build their relationship slowly and steadily.  After we made our decisions and talked through how we wanted to go about things, I told my mother and three friends, along with my boss.  

When I was 12 weeks along, I felt 'safe' announcing it to the world.  I had just started a new job when I found out, so my boss and I privately discussed that I planned to keep it quiet awhile to not only make sure I didn't miscarry but also so we could figure out everything I needed to do for maternity leave.

Soon after Eva was born, I met and married my wonderful husband.  We had wanted to have our children closer together but I had gotten a job that required tb testing and mine came back positive OUT OF NOWHERE!  I knew I needed to finish the medicine for tb before attempting to get pregnant.

After finishing the medicine, I actually got pregnant twice, right away.  But I miscarried both times, which was painful physically and emotionally.  However, I really think it was for the best.  Your immune system and body needs to recuperate after you take those meds.  I also suffered an injury that had caused the second miscarriage.  I was very early into both pregnancies.  To be perfectly honest, when I became pregnant with our son a few months later, I was shocked that it lasted!

Owen, I had a good idea, I felt different right away and when my period didn't show, I waited a week, took the test and went into the dr. Then after I got the confirmation and ultrasound pic, I barged in on my husband during a work meeting and said, "Sorry to butt in guys, I just wanted to let my husband know we're pregnant!" Then I left him the test results and picture.

When he got home he was grinning like a Mad Hatter.  After Eva got to bed that night, we did talk through my hesitations a bit.  I was worried since I had had two failed pregnancies a few months prior, so we decided we would tell only my mom right away.  We told everyone else after about 12 weeks, but people had started guessing because of 3 reasons:

1.  I showed almost instantly.
2.  I had 24/7 morning sickness and exhaustion.  I believe the first three months of Owen's pregnancy I slept through.
3.  I was at a gathering of gal pals and one blurted out, "Sara. You're pregnant. You HAVE TO BE.  You look it and have been sick for weeks."  Well, I am a terrible liar, so I just turned red and stuttered, "Well, actually yes." to a collection of girlish glee.

For our extended friends and family, we waited out the twelve weeks and it was right about Christmas time, so our card was very cute.  It said "Merry Christmas from us and our bun in the oven!"  Our cards were very seriously Mrs. Claus taking a tray of buns out of her oven.  Now, how did YOU announce your pregnancies?

A New Designer for Elegant Mommy!

We are proud to welcome Shelly Rose Designs to our growing list of featured products for you and your children!  Here is the link to their Etsy shop, their other Etsy Page and also the Facebook Fan Page!  Be sure to come in to the store soon and check our website for the latest we've got from them and some exciting other new retail we're going to be featuring soon!

This Thursday!

Don't forget we have a La Leche League meeting at the store this Thursday!  Check our facebook page this week for details!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Healthy Snacks Review: Pop Chips!

While we try to snack healthily in our house, getting the kids or my husband to eat anything with a label that says “All Natural” is next to impossible. Sure, we eat fruits and vegetables, but as soon as that “All Natural”label appears on a box or bag, I often have to find some creative way to get my family to eat it.

We recently received a sample of all natural popchips brand chips. After splitting the sample of salt & pepper flavored popchips, between my husband and myself, we dug in. My husband, who can eat an entire bag of regular chips compared them to his favorite TGI Friday’s brand Potato Skins, and said he would gladly try them in any of the seven flavors available, especially the barbeque. I thought they were good, as well, and would compare them to Quaker Oats brand rice cake snacks.

Available for order online, or from your nearest Target, these chips make a fine snack. With only 120 calories and 4 grams of fat per individual bag, popchips make a healthy, tasty treat, that won’t leave you feeling greasy. Don’t just take my word for it, though. Check them out for yourself at

Sunday, January 2, 2011

January Diapapalooza!

Pocket cloth diaper (insert goes in back) with...Image via WikipediaJust a reminder because the diapapalooza is almost upon us!

Diapapallooza is the time for those who live near and far to sell those pre-owned diapers that you no longer use! Pass on the fluff Love Baby!

Are you looking to purchase pre-owned diapers? Take a look at the awesome diaper stashes we have for sale, pick out wihat will work best for your family, and then pay through Elegant Mommy. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to check out lots of different kinds of diapers for only a little money!

If you are selling diapers or natural parenting products, you must RSVP! When you have RSVP'd we will contact you! We are doing things a little different this month, we are having the event on Thursday night and Saturday morning. We are allowing families to drop off their diapers (labeled with prices) anytime before the event so it is not required to stay with your diapers now! Sellers are allowed to sell cloth diapers, accessories, or other natural parenting products.

Because we are not requiring sellers to stay with their diapers, we can accept consignors who live outside of the Sioux Falls Area! Same rules apply, simply stuff all of your diapers into a flat rate box and we'll get them sold for you! Whatever doesnt' sell you either donate to local non-profits or you can pay to have them shipped back to you!

Do you enjoy chatting with others? You are still more than welcome to come and stay and talk with the others looking to purchase your diapers!

Sellers are required to label their own diapers with description and prices (a list on paper is sufficient and we will put store tags with your diapers). Customers will pay for their diapers through Elegant Mommy and at the end of the event, you will receive a check (minus 10% to cover our credit card fees) for whatever you sold! Easy Peasy!

Any questions, please call us at 605-338-0228

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Very Happy New Year!

Have A Happy, Elegant New Year!

It’s 2011! It’s a new year, a new day, and a new decade!  Let’s usher in a new mindset of being eco-conscious, loyal to our locally owned businesses and services, and most importantly teaching our children this too.  Help us be of greater service to you.  Stop in, tell us what you like and want more of, and then help us help our community.  It’s not about us.  It is always about creating a brighter and happier future for those we love.  Happy New Year!