Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Earth Day Great Cloth Diaper Change!

Join Us! Let's change the world!




Cloth diapers have come a long way in past 10 years, and it’s time to stand up and be noticed. Celebrate Earth Day, by joining the North American and International cloth diaper community on April 23rd, 2011 at 9AM PDT to set the world record for the most cloth diapers changed simultaneously.

We are looking for 3-4 businesses who are willing to sponsor the shirts we are making for The Great Cloth Diaper Change *WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT* at Elegant Mommy. Do any of our friends with businesses want to help us make some really cute onesies for the babies who are breaking records and saving the world too?

We are getting things moving for The Great Cloth Diaper Change *WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT* and are looking for a few people! We do need a few volunteers to help count and direct people, sponsors for gift bag items and our shirts, and someone who can do some design work in exchange for a sponsorship slot! Contact us at shelly@elegantmommy.com if you can help!

Saturday, April 23 · 10:30am - 12:00pm


Elegant Mommy
2109 W 49th Street
Sioux Falls, SD

Shelly's Take: Hospital Stays and The Kiddos

Having a child in the hospital can be one of the scariest things ever for a parent, new or veteran. Our family has been very fortunate in that we are healthy for the most part and only has 2 hospitalizations for our children in 7 years.

Whethere the hospital stays last 1 day or 4 days, there are some things you can do to stay sane.

1. Relax and Unplug - Although it is not most parents dream vacation, is a great time to take a step back and realize what is important in your life. For me, it was all about cuddling relaxing. No computer, no cell phone (for a while) and no phone.

2. Focus on the ill child - I didn't find it beneficial to spend all day calling people and telling them about our ordeal. If you have multiple children, this is one time when that child has your undivided attention. Ask what that child wants to do and take the time to do it together. Whether its coloring, playing with trucks, playing cards or games, or watching movies...let the child lead the day.

3. Other children - Be conscience that you still have other children. Make sure that they feel welcomed when they are coming to visit (if they are allowed) and show them the great things that your facility has to offer. Explain what is wrong with the ill child to the other children and make sure they have their questions answered.

4. Take a few minutes for yourself - While the hospital stay is all about getting your child better, parents need to make sure that they are taking care of themselves. Take a few minutes to shower, brush your teeth and freshen up every day that you are in the hospital. Feeling refreshed will help you make sure you are making educated decisions regarding your child's healthcare.

Remember that hospital stays are temporary and doing what you can to make the stay less stressful will be beneficial for everyone in the family!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pause For Gratitude

I am so grateful that my employer, Elegant Mommy is so passionate about being involved in the community of Sioux Falls and is strongly philanthropic.  I love that whenever she gets the chance to give back to the community, like with our Sanford Cancer Raffle, she jumps in with both feet.  It really makes your heart sing, when you've got someone in your life who cares so deeply about these things.

Another note on having had a malignant tumor removed from my spine as a babe.  Everything that our team at EM has done to help raise money for Sanford's Cure Kids Cancer fundraiser makes me eternally grateful.  Sometimes I wonder about how my own parents faced the fear and terror of knowing their only baby girl was going to have to endure so much.  It blows my mind, the strength with with both kids and their parents show during such an incredible struggle.

I have my hair in a very short pixie cut and it show the scar that runs down my spine.  The scar starts in my hair and runs to the bottom of my shoulder blades.  I wear my scar as proudly as I wear a smile.  It reminds me daily of what a precious gift I was given. How fortunate I am.  While I don't go around babbling about my scar endlessly, if someone notices it and asks, I am proud to tell my story.  I am proud to show my triumph in the form of that scar.  It's one of the main reasons I keep my hair short.

I am just incredibly grateful today for all the hard work we have put into helping this fundraiser and excited to see what more we will do for our community as the years progress.

Our Favorite Spring Family Activities

Dear Spring, We're ready for you!


Ok, so we're still getting smatterings of snow.  But, we do get a glorious day or two a week, so the snow has GOT TO let up soon, doesn't it?  I like to say that summer and autumn are my favorite seasons, tied, but of course they are followed by spring.  Winter doesn't make the list, unfortunately.  I am that passionately against winter and the doldrums, the stir craziness, and the general malaise it produces.  I am also against winter because despite our regular commitment to eating healthfully, taking our vitamins, exercising and getting rest, our house spends the entirety of winter SICK.

I don't know about you, but that's enough to send me to wackaloon land.

On the days that the weather is mild and glorious, we celebrate joyfully! We take a few walks a day, check out the park to see if the mud is starting to dry, work on our garden plans, and get ready for summer.  Of course, we tackle art projects, baking, spring cleaning, and airing the house out voraciously too.  If I had to narrow it down to 5 things we love to do during the spring, the list would include:

-PLANNING! Daydreaming about trips, picnics, tea parties, gardens, it's really never ending.  We love planning all the fun in the sun we're going to have, even my formerly winter obsessed husband gets into it.  This year, our daughter has been super involved with helping plan our garden beds and other fun summer projects.

-Flowers!  Tulips, crocuses, daffodils, they all make it to our house weekly for bouquets throughout.  Really, nothing makes me smile more when I'm still rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, to see a vase of daffodils smiling at me while I make breakfast every morning.

-This spring, in particular has been all about welcoming lots of new babies for friends and family.  Nolan and the kids pitch in to help make cards and crafts while I knit toys, blankets, and hats for new babes.  Nothing makes me think of spring more than holding a brand new baby contentedly.

-Walks, walks, and more walks.  We take the dog out for his two requisite walks a day and they are enjoyable now!  We wander our yard and do yard work (maybe my kids are strange but they LOVE this stuff).  We head over to the river to see how swollen it is, check out trees, flowers, and baby grass.  WE go for walks just to feel the sunshine!

-Unsurprisingly, we bake and paint stuff that's spring time related.  Sugar cookies shaped like flowers, crafts that are nature/science projects, paint pictures of things we see on our walks or paint our daydreams about late spring and summer.  We're that artsy family whose kids have their bedroom walls plastered in their artwork.

But most of all, I just love waking up to sunlight smiling at me through the windows, and breathing fresh, clean new air.  What does your family love about spring?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Time for Spring Crafts!!!


The weather is just being uncooperative, now isn't it.  I am unpleased too.  My kids have cabin fever and I am desperately trying to come up with ways to entertain them on days that the winds are too howling and that it's still too cold to go outside.  Here's what we're doing at the house:

1.  Kids Origami!  Ok, so my almost 2 year old, Owen, really can't do origami BUT, he certainly can have a piece of paper to scribble on and rip up while I teach Eva some cool things.  This is actually one Nolan does with her because he's got a TON of experience at it and he ROCKS the origami.  Go here for origami with the kiddos fun ideas!

2.  Tea Parties and Fortresses.  Yes, I get the giganto blankets from winter out to make a fortress, and yes we have a tea party inside.  Cookies, scones, tea (ahem, Crystal Lite for the kids, Earl Grey for me), stuffed animals, the whole she-bang.  In fact, this spring, I may let Eva invite her class over for a tea party play date, but am unsure of whether my sanity levels can hold out.  Here's some cool ideas!

3.  Garden Planning!  Eva is so enthralled over our big old garden we do every year and she is begging for her own garden.  This year, we're going to let her help grow a butterfly garden in front of her windo and a mini veggie patch- like the ones shown here!

4.  Painting, painting, and more painting.  Last year, Nolan and I explained the Jackson Pollock concept of painting and my ever artsy daughter has been super enthralled ever since.  In fact, here's a website dedicated to it!

5.  Well, if you hadn't noticed, we really dig cooking and baking around this house.  Eva and Owen get to help me bake something every week.  Every night, Eva helps set the table for dinner, she helps make up her lunches and snacks, and she and Owen host a 'cooking show'.  NOT KIDDING.  This involves them bringing all my cooking stuff into the living room and playing with it tirelessly for hours.


Easter Bunny House. I KNOW.
6.  Yes. We gave in.  We dye the eggs, we make the 'Easter Bunny' gingerbread house, we make paper flowers for garland, we're pretty much kiddo decorated for every darned holiday there is.

What are your fun spring time crafts and activities?

Our Sunny Day Project!

We shall scare the clouds away! It's time for spring!

Eva's favorite thing in the world is art projects. Give her some crayons, paints, markers, scissors, paper, glue, whatever and she'll be happy for literally HOURS. Lately she and I have been making fun pictures of the cut and glue together varietal. The other day we decided to make Nolan a "sunny day" because our weather was so rotten. Eva wisely said, "Oh well if we can't have sun, let's just make our own sunny day!" I like how the kid thinks. So I got to thinking about it and after we finished the one we made for Nolan I asked if she wanted to make a BIG sunny day this weekend since it was supposed to snow. Eva carefully considered this for about three seconds and said, "Sure! Let's make our big sunny day on the inside! It'll scare the snow away!!!"

In reality, the most work that goes into this is you cutting out all the stuff that your kid gets to glue on to the picture. But I maybe spent an hour doing that. We got a big HUGE piece of construction paper (you could do poster board or butcher paper too) at Walmart, and that was about 75 cents. I cut out the sun, sun rays, grass, leaves, flower stems, different flowers, some butterflies, some bunnies and baby chicks, and we got to work. Since Eva loves to cut stuff outI just gave her a few sheets with shapes drawn on for her to practice cutting, since thats one of the things her teacher did ask for her to work on when we had our parent-teacher conference two weeks ago.

You could do this project in stages. You COULD use paint and paint things like the sky and the ground, then let that dry while you cut things out to glue on. Maybe we'll do that with the next one of these we do. This project is also a good way to introduce some basic science concepts to your kids (why flowers have stems and leaves, why the sun is in the sky, why there is grass, etc) if they are feeling in a curious mood. Anytime that we make these little art projects, I don't really worry about if things look perfect, I just want to introduce her to the idea of how things go together and how to stay focused on finishing something you create.

The next one of these we are going to do is going to have trees, birds, some different animals, etc. I also want to do a farm scene one and one with water, fish, etc. Eva LOVES that we made a big "Sunny Day" and is excited to hang it in her room. I'm also using these to talk to her about her big summer projects which are going to be helping plant and grow a butterfly garden, tending her own strawberry plant, and having her very own pet fish. She's had pet fish before . . . that we took care of. I want to give her some cool projects of her own to carve out time with her where she gets attention but is also being productive, especially once Owen gets here.

Funny thing is, once we put this Sunny Day together, wouldn't you know that the sun started shining again? She shrieked happily and said, "It worked mama! Our sunny day made it sunny outside! I LOVE IT! I love you!" Totally validating right? Maybe this bad boy IS enough to make the sun come out and stay? What do you think?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Don't forget to enter the Raffle!!!!

There's still time to enter to win some FANTASTIC prize packages, all to benefit Cure Kids Cancer! We won't be drawing until tomorrow!


http://www.elegantmommy.com/index.cfm/page/ptype=results/category_id=109/home_id=109/mode=cat/cat109.htm

Congratulations: The Winner of our Sling 'Roo!

True Random Number Generator  
11

CONGRATULATIONS ColleenMarie82!!! We will be emailing you with the details on how to collect your new Sling 'Roo!  Thank you to everyone for entering and be sure to enter our giveaway that started today!!!

Super Special Product Review and GIVEAWAY!!!! Etsy's Body Luxe

I very rarely meet a beauty product that's all natural and hand crafted that I don't love.  But when I met Body Luxe, well this was more than love, it was pure AWESOME.  I am now devoted to her Lavender Vanilla body butter, body oils, Serenity bath salts and Pomegranate Scrub.  I've gotten the pleasure to sample her perfume oil blends, different bath salts, and I use my body butter and roll on perfumed oils daily.

She has a Deep Breath bath salt blend too and it has been my SAVIOR during this sinus and allergy season.  In fact, I just emailed her in desperation for more.  It has made breathing easier for myself, the husband, and the kids.  The weekend they had runny noses, I poured some in their bath and they both slept easier and breathed easier that night.  I like when I can feel comfortable using my bath products on my kids too!  I love her shop, her variety of scents, and the QUALITY of products versus the low PRICE.

I love them SO MUCH, that since I got so many great comments on How Do You Pamper Yourself blog, that I'd like to give away a goodie bag of Body Luxe products!  I think it is so important that we mama's get a few moments each week to slip into a hot bath, pamper ourselves, have a sip or two of wine or hot cocoa, and just unwind.  Destressing and pampering ourselves help us be better mamas!


Your goodie bag will be packaged with her beautiful blue packaging!
I believe that more and more as I get older and our family life gets more hectic.  Taking a few moments to just breathe and relax make me happier to spend time with my babies and husband- even if we are waiting in line at the grocery store with $300 of groceries, all of us tired and hungry, oh and we need to be at the dentist in 10 minutes.

So, I'm going to run this giveaway until Sunday at midnight, and announce the winner on Monday, April 4th!  To enter, the rules are the same:

-Leave a comment with your fb page, your twitter handle (if you have one), and be sure to become a follower on our blog!
-Tell us how you pamper yourself or would like to pamper yourself.  If you have favorite brands of body products that we should check out, link them for us!
-Be sure to check out Body Luxe at Etsy and see if there's anything you'd like for yourself there as well!



You will win a goodie bag with:

-Deep Breath Bath Salt Detox
-3 of Body Luxe's scented oil perfume blends
-4 body butter samples
-1 pomegranate scrub
-2 scented candles (if you win, let me know your favorite scent!)
-A very special surprise from me (and I hope you love it!)

GOOD LUCK EVERYBODY!!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Healthy Breakfasts: Malto-o-Meal Waffles

I secretly love Malto Meal, Cream of Wheat, all those hot breakfast cereals that left everyone else gagging.  Grits? Yes, please.  Corn Meal Mush?  Pass the syrup.  Oatmeal? ABSOLUTELY.  Now, any of these things mixed into muffins, waffles, or pancakes?  Pardon my drooling.

I like this recipe because it incorporates whole wheat flour and because we got a new waffle maker!  It makes heart shaped waffles! (Insert me squealing manically, because I personally think heart shaped anything tastes better.)  I also like waffles because it's another fun way to get your kids to eat more fruit- what's better than waffles with chopped strawberries, bananas, and raspberries?  These waffles have a nice light crunch to them, go great with fruit, and yes- you can still have a bit of butter and syrup.

Are you a syrup connoisseur?  I have to admit to being a bit of a food snob when it comes to maple syrup- I like the best, I like grades A or B of real maple syrup.  Rich, thick and dark, so you only need a bit, with a fresh and full maple taste.  I also have a place in my heart for sorghum and molasses, but more on that later.

I know the gold standard for pancakes and waffles are the traditional buttermilk recipes, but make room in your arsenal.  Prepare to be amazed by some healthier versions- oatmeal applesauce, whole wheat, even pumpkin pecan recipes- because I'll be bringing you some other kinds through the next few months too.  We serve up our pancakes and waffles with bowls of heaping fresh fruit, turkey sausage links, fresh squeezed juice, and hot coffee.

Breakfasts are big deals on the weekends here.  We try to get the kids involved with as much as possible- helping pick the fruit, squeezing oranges for juice, stirring things, setting the table, even just playing and singing at the table while we get everything ready.  We like the ritual that big weekend breakfasts bring and love that it's another chance to get our family around the table together, sharing food and laughter.

Crunchy Malt-o-Meal Waffles (or Pancakes)

1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. quick Malt-O-Meal
2 tbsp. packed light brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
2 c. buttermilk
2 eggs, separated
1/3 c. unsalted butter, melted and cooled


Preheat a waffle iron and grease it lightly. In a large bowl, toss together the flour, Malt-O-Meal, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In another bowl, stir together the buttermilk, egg yolks, and butter.

Beat the egg whites in a mixer until stiff. (A tip I like is to chill the bowl for your egg whites in the freezer for at least 5 minutes, and I always use a metal bowl.  These two things always help me beat egg whites or whipped cream into stiff peaks better and faster.)

Stir the buttermilk mixture quickly into the dry ingredients until almost blended. Then gently fold in the egg whites.

Cook the batter in the prepared waffle iron until crisp and golden (3-5 minutes). Serve immediately or freeze after cooling. To heat after freezing, just pop in toaster for 2-3 minutes.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cure Kids Cancer Raffle with EM


Do you know that when I was a child, I had what is called an astrocytoma.  This is a malignant tumor in the brain stem, and on my second birthday, my parents took me to have spinal and brain cord surgery to remove the tumor.  We were lucky that they were able to remove it and though I have some life long side effects- nerve damage on the right side of my body, and I had to have a lot of physical therapy to learn how to walk normally again.  I have staples in my spine and suffer incredible headaches from this.

The alternative is that I could have lost my life to cancer.  I would not be here, I would not have my life of 2 lovely kids, a husband, writing and knitting, and being here to help make a difference in my world.  My mother would have lost her only child and the world would be a different place.  Every time we lose a child to cancer, the world is a place devoid of one more bright star who could have made a difference or been a great human being.  I've had my fair share of health battles in my life, but nothing can top facing cancer as a child.  Think now about children who are still facing this fight daily, and think about helping us help them.

There are all kinds of places trying to raise money to Cure Kids Cancer...which got us thinking, what can ELEGANT MOMMY do?? So here it is!! Together with many wonderful vendors, we are selling chances for FANTASTIC packages!
Tickets are $1.00 a piece and will be sold through Saturday March 26th and a Winner will be picked Sunday morning from entries received in store and online.

BUY as MANY as you want! The more you buy, the Better Your Chances!

100% of the proceeds will go to
Sanford Children's Cure Kids CancerGo to this link to learn more about the tickets and prize packages we have.

Remember to Enter: Sling Give Away

We still have until midnight for you top enter our sling  giveaway!  Don't miss the chance to win a sling valued at  close to $50 that is beloved by so many different mamas!  Go to the post to enter!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Healthy Dinners: Win! The Brussels Sprouts fight.

I guess I may have been a weird child, or my parents were great cooks, or both.  (I did have Sally Jesse Raphael-esque glasses forever, so I'm betting weirdness factors in.)  I just never disliked the veggies my kids  and so many others hated.  I ate up my asparagus, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts without batting an eyelash.

A lot of these types of veggies being kid friendly deals almost entirely upon how they are cooked.  It is so worth your time to master some easy techniques- par boiling, flash frying, correct sauteing, to ensure your veggies have tons of flavor and retain tons of powerful nutrients.  As we've made a family resolution to be more active and get TONS more fruits and veggies into our diets, I've started honing in on getting these techniques right.  The benefit? My kids will eat their veggies!

I won't deny that we all get to go through that wonderful picky eating stage with our kids.  Hence why making sure you've cooked something so that it's not only good for you but your kids are more likely to try it is so important.  We believe that early exposure to as many healthy, natural, and as man unrefined products as possible leads to a lifestyle of healthy eating.

Now, despite the fact that my kids would be tickled pink if I served chicken nuggets and macaroni & cheese both out of boxes nightly, I'm slowly winning the uphill battle of the veggie wars.  Everyone has different mealtime rules and rituals, so how we're slowly winning this battle is best left for another time.  Let's talk about kids hating Brussels sprouts and how to change it.

We try to make sure we eat seasonally because it's often cheapest and healthiest.  Brussels sprouts are still in season here, so I get myself a great big bag every week.  (It does help that they are inexpensive!)  We've doctored them up and served them a great many ways, but last night, we struck gold with this recipe.  The combo here, which I literally threw together in my head right before making it magically worked!  I love when my cooking has these moments, I really do.

We got Eva and Owen happily chomping away on this dish and I really hope it works for you too.  You'll have to let us know your ways you've successfully gotten your kids to come around to veggies that aren't always appealing.  I truly think that us just MAKING them part of our meals to keep eating healthier is a big part of our success.  My kids know that whole grains, veggies, and fruit as daily staples aren't optional.  Thus, they also know that experiencing new things is the number one reason to cook lots and healthfully!

Enjoy and tweak to your desire!

Sausage and Brussels Sprouts 'Stir Fry'
serves 4-6 easily

1 lb ground turkey sausage (removed from casings if necessary), and you can choose spicy, hot, sweet, Italian style- totally your preference
1 lb Brussels sprouts- chopped up roughly, rinsed well and also drained well
1 lemon, both juiced and zested
2-3 minced cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of finely minced onion
1 Tbs pine nuts (totally optional)
1-2 Tbs olive oil
Salt, Pepper, and grated Parmesan
Brown Rice (to serve with and totally optional)

-Fry up your sausage gently until it is just cooked.  Use a large, deep frying pan or a stock pot if you need to.
-Remove sausage into a bowl to set aside.  If you have much fat/grease leftover, you can drain it and use olive oil for the next step, or you can omit the olive oil and use the grease you have.
-Move heat to a solid medium on your stove and saute your garlic, onion, and lemon zest.  You don't want burned bits, so if you have to reduce the heat, thats fine.  Keep stirring and cooking until the onions, etc., are translucent.
-Add Brussels sprouts and turn up heat some.  You can add in about 1/8 to 1/4 cup of water if you'd like.  Saute your sprouts well, until they are limp, bright green, and have some brown spots.  Toss in lemon juice and zest, then the sausage. Turn up the heat some and make sure everything is well seasoned with salt and pepper then warmed through totally.
-Serve with brown rice, if you'd like, and a bit of grated Parmesan for a little extra oomph.

Now pour yourself a glass of great white wine, if you'd like, and everyone enjoy dinner tonight!  It's Friday!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Remember: Giveaway Stuff!

At midnight on Saturday, your chance to enter the Sling 'Roo giveaway will be ended and I will be picking our winner Sunday morning!

Also, if I get 10+ comments on THIS post, I will run a surprise giveaway!  It looks like I'm over that, but the more, the better and I will be running my surprise giveaway any day now!

Also, be watching the blog next week- I've got a great product review and giveaway coming up, just in time to celebrate our commitment to the Earth.  In fact, all April we will be focusing on ways we want to do greater good for the planet, so stay tuned for giveaways, questions, and lots of great writing!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hey Mama: How Do You Pamper Yourself? (There may be a little giveaway with this!)


Here in the Sara Rose household, the month of March has been shockingly, mind numbingly busy and overwhelming.  From ear infections, weird sinus infections, allergies galore to cars deciding to mysteriously drain our bank accounts to overwhelming amounts of deadlines with school, writing, life and you know being a mama and wife and HUMAN . . . . I could pass out from exhaustion and I may very well do so.

I am so grateful for a two week break before classes and deadlines get heavy again.  I'd like to get caught back up and, maybe perhaps, A BIT AHEAD for once.  But as I sat decompressing in a hot bath with a huge mug of tea and a face mask, I thought "I am so not alone here.  Every mama and daddy has moments where they want to hide in bed for a week just to feel human again!"

The best place of all, a big comfy bed, waiting for you!
So here's the question of the evening- how do you unwind and pamper yourself?  I have a number of ways, depending on my mood and exhaustion levels.  Here's my top 10 list (in no particular order) or ways to decompress.

Sometimes, mama needs some bubbles and some time to breath.
-Big, hot bath with bath salts, a facial mask, big mug of tea or wine, and followed up by luxurious lotion and many sighs of contentment.
-A pile of magazines with a steaming mug of coffee or cocoa.
-My kindle with a piece I've been dying to read, and again a hot mug of goodness or a glass of wine.
-A long walk with the pup, focusing on nothing but enjoying the scenery and taking long, deep breaths.
-Yoga and a bit of meditation where I focus on calming and centering myself through deep, cleansing breaths.
-Cooking up a delicious dinner or baking a yummy treat.
-A movie in bed or on the couch with my hubby.
-Sketching, knitting, or journaling.
-Catching up on things that need done (weirdly, this relaxes me deeply, because I know I haven't got pressing things to attend to).
-A cuddle with my children and hubby, ad a moment to just enjoy being with them.

(I don't think I can say 'just sitting and staring occasionally', can I?)


Body Luxe salts, lotion and scented oils.
I have found a new line of delicious smelling, all natural body products that have been making my baths PURE BLISS.  Everything I have tried from this Etsy shop has been superb quality and made me feel pampered and more relaxed than I could have ever imagined.  I am in LOVE with their lavender vanilla bath salts, body butter, and scented oils.  I use them religiously.

Now, I have a goodie bag of a BUNCH of Body Luxe products that I want to giveaway very soon. BUT, I want to see ten people respond and let me know how they pamper themselves.  If I get 10, then I'll be doing a very special gift in a giveaway!

Beautiful Body Luxe gift box.


A Pause for Gratitude: Welcoming Babies!

Obviously, at Elegant Mommy, we make a point of how much we love babies at any age, and welcoming new babies is part of the fun!  In our own household, I am excited that we will be helping friends and relatives welcome 6 babies this year!  The first baby came yesterday afternoon as I sat in a knitting fury to complete the last of his gifts I wanted to make for him.

A few weeks ago, I asked my husband if he was at all sad that were done having kiddos, as I was sorting out everything for all the presents we are making for all the new babies that get to enter our lives this year.  Nolan said, "Absolutely not.  We have the perfect sized family for us.  Besides, now we get to help our friends and families enjoy their new little families!"  It made sense and still does.  We have time to enjoy each of our kids together and as individuals, some time to ourselves occasionally, and best of all, like Nolan said, we get to be excited for our friends and family as they start on this journey too!

Yesterday the world got to welcome my dear friend Jess's son, Cyrus, late in the afternoon and I can't help but think about what perfect and enthusiastic parents Jess and Brian will be to their ginger haired little boy!  As I worked on knitting the last touches of his blanket, hat, and toys, I felt especially grateful that I am able to make things for the people I love.  I made sure that the things I picked for Baby Cyrus were central to the colors and hobbies that his parents love and hope to share with him as he grows up.

When I heard little Cyrus was born, I jumped up and down and squealed with delight.  To me, spring and summer are about celebrating regrowth and new life.  Since we get to welcome so much of that into our life this year and celebrate it with the people we love the most, I felt especially blessed and grateful.  I hope you are having a grateful Wednesday too!

And, as if I haven't said it enough, welcome baby Cyrus! I can't wait to meet you on Saturday!  You and your family have made spring time so much more meaningful for me!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Great Cloth Diaper Change *WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT*

Cloth diapers have come a long way in past 10 years, and it’s time to stand up and be noticed. Celebrate Earth Day, by joining the North American and International cloth diaper community on April 23rd, 2011 at 9AM PDT to set the world record for the most cloth diapers changed simultaneously.  Elegant Mommy wants to have at least 50 people in attendance and we will have goodies for everyone.  You can also donate cloth diapers for the event too!  We are excited to be partnering up with The Cloth Diaper Foundation to be a donation spot and to host an event to help more babies and parents enter the fantastic world of cloth diapering! Please RSVP and come help be a part of a world record!

Reminder: SD Babies Hot Topics Tuesday Night

WE are hosting the SD Babies Presents: Immunizations tomorrow night.  It will be at the store at 6:30 and is good for anyone who is curious about the pros and cons of immunizations for their children!  Go to our FB Page, and click on events.  It is the first one and make sure to RSVP!  We can't wait to see you there!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

We Now Carry Bummas!

Bummas are an awesome new brand of cloth diapering gear and when you order their products with us, they are giving free shipping the 20th through the 22nd to celebrate spring's arrival.  Also, on April 22nd, Earth Day, there will be yet again free shipping!  Be sure to check out our new line on the website and in the store!

Healthy Breakfasts: Breakfast Kebabs


Another kid friendly breakfast!  HURRAY!  This is a guaranteed crowd pleaser at my house, and luckily, you can grab whatever you've got on hand, some tooth picks or kabob sticks, fruit, etc., and you are good to go.  What I like about kebabs is the ability to use what you've got on hand, be creative, and let your kids get involved.  I'm going to say again, this is a template.  Use the fruits, dipping choices, cereals, etc., that you have on hand- and don't stress out about them being perfect!  Let your kids play and have fun with their breakfast and for once, we don't have to use the tired phrase that gets the eyes rolling "STOP PLAYING WITH YOUR FOOD."

This morning, we had apples, bananas, grapes, and kiwi hanging around.  We had strawberry yogurt, vanilla yogurt, peanut butter, grape nuts and Total Crunch with Almonds.  So, I cubed up or halved pieces of fruit and put them into bowls, got out larger bowls and poured about a cup of each cereal into them, and scooped the dips into their own containers.  I handed Eva a plates with two skewers, our so a selection of fruits, cereal, and yogurt (21 months is a wee bit young for me to be comfortable with him using a skewer), and Nolan and I each made our own skewers as we hung out at the table, coloring eating, and enjoying a quiet Sunday morning.

Kebabs can be as fancy or as minimal as you like, and they work for more than breakfast.  You could alternate fruit with cheeses for kid friendly appetizers at a birthday party or make them super nutrient packed (like we tried to do) by rolling them in cereal and dipping in peanut butter or yogurt.  Let me know your favorite combos for fruit kebabs too!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sling 'Roo Giveaway!!!


We have another Sling 'Roo to giveaway, guys and gals!!!  They are valued at over $50 and if you win, we will email you on how to claim your prize and you can pick which one you want from the ones we have in stock!  We decided to change up our rules a little, to make things a bit easier for everyone, so here we go!

New Give Away Rules

1.  Be sure to follow us on FaceBook and the blog!
2. IF YOU TWITTER, include your twitter handle, OR, you can have a second entry that is your twitter handle and whether you follow us there too.  (We'd love to follow you on Twitter if you are on there!)
3. As part of either entry, tell us your favorite baby wearing experience, or why you love baby wearing, or if you are going to be a new mom- why you think you'd love it!
4.The contest runs from today, 3/18/11 until midnight, next Friday. On Saturday we will pick a winner, email you and confirm that you want the sling and how to get it!

Good luck!  We love baby wearing and hope you do too!

Healthy Dinners: It's Friday!

Thank goodness it is Friday.  Doesn't it seem like this week has taken FOREVER?  It's been so busy here at our house, so tonight I want to make something quick and healthy.  We've got fresh asparagus and salmon we just picked up last night, so that's dinner tonight!

Do you have ways you like to cook salmon?  I like mine broiled and baked, usually.  I like to par-boil or saute asparagus, both of which are easy, peasy.  Par-boiling is incredibly easy- here's how- Get a pan of water boiling and gently salted.  Toss your trimmed and snapped asparagus in the water when it's a rolling boil for now more than 4 minutes.  Then toss drain and toss with seasonings.  This works well with sweat peas and green beans too.  We'll serve the asparagus over a bed of brown rice, which is infinitely better for you and the family than white rice.

Dessert is going to be some fresh fruit and a bit of ice cream, because after a long week, who doesn't deserve a bit of ice cream!  The great thing about this dinner is that everything has the same seasonings, making it easier to pull together fast.  On a Friday night, who doesn't want a fast but healthy dinner, so that you can all pile onto the couch to watch a movie together?  We love to have Friday nights as family movie night and this weekend, we'll be watching Megamind!

Salmon & Asparagus over Brown Rice
Serves 4 and is easily adaptable for larger amounts

-4 5 oz pieces of salmon or a pound of salmon divided into four pieces
-1 lb of fresh asparagus
-1 bag of instant brown rice
-2 Tbs olive oil
-1 tbs butter
-2 tsp of honey
-A few tsp of Italian seasoning herb blend
-1 1/2 fresh lemons, the lemon squeezed separately from the half lemon, which is for the rice

-The seasonings for the salmon and asparagus-
Mix together two tablespoons of olive oil, a freshly squeezed lemon, a teaspoon of honey, and about 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning blend.  Set aside.
-Trim about a pound of asparagus and snap into inch pieces.  Be sure to trim the tough, woody ends, because nobody enjoys those.  Rinse your salmon and pat dry.  Bring a medium pan of water that has been gently salted to a rolling boil, be sure to put aluminum foil on your broiler pan, then turn on your broiler.
-Take half of your seasoning blend and rub over pieces of salmon.  We usually get 4 5 ounce pieces of salmon or a side of salmon that is about a pound and cut it into 4 pieces.  Set aside.
-We use the boil-in-a-bag instant brown rice, but bags of brown rice with dried beans are very cheap.  Whichever fits your budget better, just pay attention to the cooking instructions.
-When it's time for your asparagus and brown rice to cook, put salmon in the broiler.  Cook the asparagus for 4 minutes, drain immediately and toss with the other half of the seasoning you made.  Set in a warm bowl in the oven while rice and salmon cook.
-While rice cooks, let your salmon broil for 4 minutes, then flip and broil again for 4 more minutes.  It should be tender and pale pink, flaking easily when you gently flake it with a fork.  Set on a warmed plate in the oven until rice is done.
-When rice is done, toss with butter, some more lemon juice and honey, and a bit of Italian seasoning, as well. To serve, divide rice onto four plates, top with asparagus, and the salmon beside that.  Serve with extra lemon wedges if desired. Enjoy your night!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wee Essentials Giveaway WINNERS!

Random Sequence Generator

Here is your sequence:
13   2
Congratulations to Kaleki and SaraS!

I will be emailing you later today to claim your prize and get them sent out to you!

Thank you to everyone that entered!

New giveaway coming soon- keep on the lookout!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Our Giveaway Ends Tonight!

At midnight, the Wee Essentials giveaway is officially over!  We really hope you take a look and enter, because we are not only in love with her products but also with carrying them.  We can't wait to spread the love!  Go to the link here to enter!

A Wednesday Pause for Gratitude





SUNSHINE!!!!!!!


Please, now that I've expressed my deep and profound gratitude that the sun is back, and I can go for walks without the icy cold air biting my lungs, please weather people, don't let it leave!  I've been able to get the kids outside everyday to play with mud and splash puddles, I've walked our happy dog daily, and I've opened up all the curtains!  I wander around humming and happy as I gaze at the hazy spring sunlight and air out the house from a stuffy, cold winter.

I am a critter who loves the sun.  I won't deny it.  Winter has perks, burrowing in nightly with bowls of soup, good movies, thick books, and long journal entries.  But sunlight! Waking up smiling as you rub the sleep out of your eyes, sitting on the porch for the first few sips of coffee, while you watch the world wake up- I live for it.  I am one of those annoying people who lives for bright, happy sunny days- they make me eternally cheerful.

Yesterday, we were working out our plans to put in our gardens as we cleaned the porches, shoveled compost, and let the kids get dirty.  I realized, ever NOT so profoundly, "This is what life's about! Humming along, making plans for the future that isn't so distant, and smiling back up at the sun!"  (Ok, someone can slap me with the cheer patrol's 'would you hush up!")

But, tulips and daffodils and asparagus and the SUN!  I am so happy, I could do a little dance right now!  I love sunshine!  Thank goodness our bitter winter might be well on it's way back into hibernation!  What are you grateful for?

Book Review: The Passion of The Hausfrau


Sara Rose here and I'm so here to say if you haven't read The Passion of The Hausfrau but are in desperate need of snorts, giggles, and perhaps a glass of wine, this is the book for you.  To say I am pleased with this guilty little pleasure is putting it lightly.  I spent many a night reading, snorting, and nearly peeing myself in delight, much to the contempt of my poor husband who was desperately trying to sleep despite me staying up until 2 am nightly to read this.

The Passion of The Hausfrau can't totally be put into words, the book is an experience.  Her humor is definitely not for those with a weak stomach and she gives new definition to all of us WAHM's that also happen to care about things like breast feeding, needing 'me' time, natural parenting, uncontrollable lice- the list is endless.  The book is part graphic novel and part a journal into the depths of how mind boggling parenting really can be sometimes.

She's gritty, raw, and honest, but also down to earth.  I alternately laughed until my sides hurt, empathized with her slightly neurotic motherhood moments, and had tears in my eyes at times.  Her stories about her kids' shenanigans will leave your ribs sore from gut busting laughter.  She has a chapter on how she adopted and embraced the title of Hausfrau then empowered it by saying those of us who stay home aren't slackers but powerfully invested in our kids futures.  I can definitely get behind that.

Check out Nicole Chaison's blog and zines, too!  More side splitting awesome writing!  More giggles for those days that seem ABSOLUTELY giggle unfriendly.  She definitely gives you the perspective "Things absolutely can get worse.  Wear a fanny pack."  I loved this book, I hope you check it out, and I hope you love it and pass it on too.  We could all use a little Hausfrau in our lives.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Planning The Family Garden for Sara Rose's Family

As a part of natural parenting, in our household, this also entails teaching our children where our food comes from, doing our best not just follow the food pyramid but also set an example of how to eat well, and eat locally.  We have a garden every year and both my husband and I grew up gardening.  My mom is a farm girl, Nolan grew up on a farm, and every year our parents would involve us with planting and cultivating our families gardens.

My own mother had me work alongside her every day of late spring through early fall, weeding, harvesting, cooking, canning, etc., so that I could see that the food I eat came from somewhere.  That's a really important thing for kids to understand in this world of big box stores, availability of foods no matter what the season is, and worst of all, genetically modified food.

Ever since we became parents we've been slowly expanding our family garden every year.  Our kids get to  be right alongside us as we plant, water, and grow our garden.  We want them to see, from start to finish, how to raise a garden that gives you food.  We hope they take away some skills for their own use too, even if all they ever grow is a pot of herbs.

This year is going to be AWESOME! We ok'd an 8x8 foot plot with our landlord, designed our raised bed that we'll be building at the end of April and we diligently compost.  We have an entire kiddie pool of compost and soil ready to go and we planned the layout of our garden, from top to bottom.  We dump new stuff in it daily and turn the compost weekly, even in the dead of the winter (if we can).

With no further ado, our 2011 family garden plans!  You can see that on our porch, we will be growing herbs in medium sized planters.  We always plant a huge square planter with strawberries for Eva and now Owen to cultivate, in between the porch and the garden.  On the opposite side of our garden will be 3 HUGE planters for growing onions, leeks, and garlic.  Why did we choose planters for those items?  We really aren't sure how well they will do and we don't want them spreading through the garden.  We also chose planters for our herbs because there is more shade on the porch.  Our back yard is on the south facing side of the house, pointing east slightly, so our plants will get plenty of sun daily.

Are you planting a family garden? Do you consider it important to teach your kids about growing food and eating locally? We'd love to hear your thoughts!

The Liebert Family Garden

LLL This Thursday

Our monthly La Leche League meeting will be Thursday night, starting at 6:30.  If you are breast feeding, considering it, or need help, be sure to be there for an evening of help and information.  We can't wait to see you there!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Reminder: SD Babies Hot Topics: Immunizations

Tuesday night, March 22, SD Babies Presents: Hot Topics: Immunizations...The Healthiest Choice for my Family? will be presenting at Elegant Mommy at 6:30 pm.  Make sure to mark your calender!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Healthy Breakfast: Homemade Granola

Photo Credit: http://www.foodnetwork.com/
Granola, so often touted as GREAT for you, is often full of preservatives, extra corn syrups, and stuff that you just don't need.  It's super easy to make at home and you can get away with just a bit of sugar to add sweetness and plenty of dried fruits and nuts for vitamins and protein to make it super filling for your and your kids.  Think of homemade granola as a template- you can use the kinds of fruits, nuts, and grains that your family likes best.  Just try not to up the sugar content, when you serve it with milk, yogurt, or even as a snack, it has plenty of sweetness!  Enjoy!


Pistachio & Apricot Granola
Makes about 5 cups
Adapted from Everyday Food

-3 Cups rolled oats (not the quick cook kind, or you will have a soppy mess on your hands)
-1 Cup unsalted, shelled pistachios
-1/4 Cup of unsalted butter, cut into very small pieces
-1/2 Cup honey
-1 tsp ground cardamom or cinnamon
-1/2 tsp coarse salt ( i often use kosher salt)
-1 Cup of dried apricots, diced medium (or figs, dates, cherries, whatever you prefer)

Preheat oven to 300.  In a large bowl, combine oats and pistachios.  In a small pan, combine butter, honey, salt and cardamom over medium to low heat.  Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally to melt butter and combine the ingredients.  Pour mixture over the oat mixture and toss until well combined.  Transfer to a parchment lined cookie sheet and spread out evenly.  Bake until the mixture is lightly golden brown, about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.  Cool completely break up large pieces, and toss with apricots.  Store in airtight containers for up to 3 weeks and enjoy

Family Fitness: The Winter Walk

Photo Credit: 123rf.com


Ok, after the winter we just had, I know you all are thinking I might be nutso, advocating winter walks.  But, to avoid cabin fever for you and the kiddos, keep yourself from gaining that 'winter padding', and just get some fresh air, every body put on the winter boots and snow gear and head outside!  Even 20 minutes is beneficial!

Plus, did you ever notice that kids LOVE playing outside no matter how cold it is?  To keep things interesting make your walk, however short it is, into a nature scavenger hunt.  Make a list of the cool things your kiddos can look for- bird nests, squirrel holes, shapes the drifts and clouds make, etc.  Or since a lot of time as snow melts, you could make it a bit philanthropic, everybody carry a shopping bag and pick up litter to dispose of. Then just add it to your garbage can when you get back.

Let your kids burn off some steam and throw snowballs, tromp through drifts, splash in puddles.  Keep up a decent pace and after you and the family get in, everybody have a big cup of skim milk, sugar free cocoa.  You may be cold, but I bet everybody had a good time and burned some calories.  Plus the major bonus?  Being healthy and physically active as a family is instilling good habits in your kiddos for a lifetime!

How is your family physically active during the winter?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Healthy Dinners: Homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs

Dinner inspired by the classic Disney movie.  

The Lady and The Tramp is a surprisingly huge hit with both my kiddos.  I actually didn't come to like it until I was an adult but now I love all the music and the flat out loveliness of it.  Us watching it is almost ALWAYS followed with pleading for spaghetti and meatballs, of course.  Now, I usually make my spaghettis sauce more like a bolognese sauce, where the meat is cooked and added into the sauce that reduces and thickens into a heavenly, aromatic, heavy sauce that stands up to the noodles, but sometimes you just need a classic.  Lucky for us, spaghetti and meatballs aren't that hard to make and always pare well with a simple romaine salad or some sauteed green beans, even that broccoli we talked about making last week goes nicely with this!

Making your own spaghetti sauce isn't terribly hard or terrifying.  I promise that.  My parents taught me how when I was barely even walking, and I grew up on it.  When I went to college and encountered the bevy of jarred and canned sauces that there are, I was a bit befuddled.  Some were ok, some were fairly decent but NONE tasted like the goodness of homemade sauce.

I figured out that I really didn't want things like macaroni and cheese or spaghetti unless it could be homemade.  Now that I'm a mama with my own big, grown up kitchen, I can make these yummy things and enjoy kiddo movies as well.  There are pluses, aren't there, to being a grown up now!  I promise you, you can make this without batting an eyelash.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

1 lb ground hamburger (I usually use a 85/15 blend, you can use your preference)
1 lb spicy or sweet Italian sausage (if the sausage is in casings, you can slit them open and pull the sausage out)
1/2 cup of panko crumbs
1 egg, well beaten with a fork until well combined
1 medium white onion, finely diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced well
1 can of crushed tomatoes, 28 ounces
1 can of crushed tomatoes, 18 ounces (If you find a 32 ounce of crushed tomatoes, let me know!  I use low sodium tomatoes and check the label to make sure there isn't tons of added sugar or preservatives.)
2 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp of Italian seasoning or a good pinch each of basil, oregano, thyme , marjoram, and cayenne pepper
Good pinches of salt and pepper
1 16 ounce box of Ronzoni Smart Taste Spaghetti noodles (I love these noodles!  Extra calcium and fiber but still a nice smooth taste.)

-Saute your minced onions and garlic in the olive oil until tender and translucent over low to medium heat.  This shouldn't take more than 5 minutes.
-To make the meatballs, grab a large bowl.  Dump the hamburger, Italian sausage, panko crumbs, half of the onions and garlic into the bowl.  Start gently folding and blending the mixture together with your hands.  Use your hands kind of like claws to pick up and fold the mixture together until it is well combined.  Pour the egg over the mixture and mix together with your hands a few more minutes.  Do this gently, don't smash the stuff together or it will get really dry when you cook the meat balls.
-Heat your oven to 400 degrees.  Pinch of about 1 1/2 inches or so of the hamburger mixture, roll it gently and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Continue to do so until you've got all the hamburger rolled into balls.
- Bake for 20 minutes, flipping the meatballs at ten minutes.

Meanwhile, bring 6 quarts of water and salt it well.  Bring to a boil for the noodles and cook according to the package directions
-In a large sauce pan, add the rest of your onions and garlic, the two cans of tomatoes, your herbs, salt and pepper, and bring to a gentle simmer.  Let it simmer while your meatballs bake and noodles cook.
-During the last 5 minutes of your noodles cooking, add the meatballs to the sauce and bring back to a gentle simmer.

-Drain noodles, divide into bowls, top with sauce and meatballs.  Serve with plenty of grated Parmesan, a salad or another favorite veggie for a side dish.  Watch Lady and The Tramp and cuddle with the kiddos.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Our Wee Essentials Giveaway!

Time for a Giveaway!



We reviewed our latest products from the Product line Wee Essentials and now we want to give away two jars of soap cubes for two winners to try out for themselves!  Here are the rules, and they all have to be followed for you to be entered to win!  Next Thursday, we will pick and announce two winners.  We will contact you if you've won, and here's the new bit, if you don't respond to our contacting you within two weeks, your prize will automatically default to a new winner.  Now!  Here's the rules so we can do our giveaway!

To Be Entered In The Giveaway:

1.  You must be a confirmed follower of the blog!  On the left side bar, there's a button that says follow, click it and get yourself signed up to our blog!
2.  You must be a Twitter follower of ours too.  Go to http://twitter.com/#!/ElegantMommySF to follow us there too.  In your response comment, send us your twitter address so we can follow you too!
3. Entrants must be a fan of Elegant Mommy on FB, go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/Elegant-Mommy/43919788876 and click Like!
4. In your comment, let us know that you are following the blog and that you liked our FaceBook Page, your Twitter address so we can follow you too, and . . . .
5. Tell us how you try to make diapering in your household more Eco-friendly and which scent you would prefer- we are giving away a jar of unscented and a jar of honeyed almond scents!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Pause for Gratitude

Sleep. This may sound like a silly thing to be grateful for, but bear with me.  Do you get too little sleep far too often? Me too.  Sometimes it's even my own fault, I stay up writing, knitting, or reading too long, then I pause and the clock says 3:00 am. THREE A M!!! I have to be up in 3.5 hours, what was I thinking?

The last week and a half though, I've been doing my darnedest to burrow down int0 my nest of blankets, drink some soothing tea, and slip into dream land quite a bit earlier.  I say this lightly, but I may have been a little sleep deprived as one night I crashed out at 6 pm and didn't wake at all until 10 am the next morning.  Thank goodness it was a weekend, right?

So, let's be grateful for sleep, everybody.  Let's give ourselves permission to just rest. Not be productive 110% of the time, spending all or any free time we ever get thinking "Oh gosh what COULD I BE DOING right now?"  My week of going to sleep at a normal time every night and catching up on massive amounts of sleep actually gave me a a whole lot more focus and energy during the hours I was awake.

I am certain my kids and husband were grateful for a not overly tired and cranky mom banging around too. I noticed that one thing that is so obvious when you aren't horrifically sleep deprived, that I actually get a whole heck of a lot less done when I'm exhausted.  I just end up trudging around, whining and complaining, or getting frustrated as I stub my toe for the fiftieth time as I reattempt something that I failed (also fifty times).

Now, I know when we all become mamas and papas, we understand we're trading in sleep and such for loving a new little piece of love in our loves.  That is awesome.  But when that little bit of love allows us to throw in a couple extra winks, once in awhile, lets be grateful and set the to do list aside and head to bed.

Sleep.  Beautiful sleep. Let us all appreciate sleep.  What are you grateful for today?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sibling Personalities: Shelly's Take

My husband and I already have our predictions as to what our children's occupations will be when they are adults. We've been able to come to this conclusion based on the strong personalities that they all possess.

Patrick has always been very acadmically inclined. He loves to build, he loves to think, he loves to use his hands, he loves to read. He reads at a grade level 3 years beyond his age. I had a conversation with him last night which consisted of:
Me: So, you are going to be a cook, a construction worker, a train engineer, and a bridge builder when you grow up.
Patrick: Well, I want to have lots of options to choose from.

Evy has always been our dance diva. She is creative from head to toe. She has been wanting to dress herself since she was able to see the colors of her clothes and she actually does a fantastic job of making it look good. She definitely has an eye for fashion and loves to get her hair done. She will do her own makeup with the little makeup kits she gets for birthdays and Christmas. She colors amazingly well for a Kindegartner. If I had to predict today what she will be when she grows up, she will do something in a creative capacity. Something dealing with dance, fashion, or art.

Chase is our sports kid. He is loud. He is obsessed with balls of any kind. One of his first words was "football". Chase gets up in the morning and runs. He goes full speed ALL DAY LONG and does not slow down until he crashes at night. There is not a doubt in our mind that we have a jock on our hand. But he will be a sensitive jock. He is the most cuddly and loving boy. He gets up every morning and gives me a great big and kiss. Oh, I will miss the day that its not cool to do that anymore!

It's amazing to me how different my children are at such young ages. I love the fact that they are all who they want to be and I love fact that they have very strong personalities. My husband and I strongly believe that our children should be who they want to be and no one in their families should love them any less because they have a different personality or react differently to a situation than someone else might.

Monday, March 7, 2011

SD Babies Presents: Hot Topics- Immunizations

SD Babies Presents: Hot Topics: Immunizations...The Healthiest Choice for my Family?

When you're considering what vaccinations are right for your child and when to administer them, there is a lot to consider. With twelve separate vaccines on the standard vaccination schedule, you have twelve separate choices to make. And with so much conflicting information available today, these decisions can seem overwhelming.

Dr. Beth Jensen offers help. She provides an in-depth look at each disease/vaccine pair and provides an open-minded approach to answering your questions.

This discussion is FREE!

Please join us at Elegant Mommy Tuesday, March 22 from 6:30-9:30 pm.  You can RSVP at our FaceBook page for the event!

No Time To Reconnect? (Same Here.)

Let's just take a look at last week in the Liebert household.  School and class work everyday for us, kids getting pink eye, tons of meetings and deadlines for my husband and I, appliances breaking down, the week just trudged on at a breakneck speed.  Did I mention that it was so bitter cold that taking the kids outside for fresh air was impossible thus they got cabin fever and Friday culminated with an afternoon in the ER because my son found a way to crash his high chair and self on the sharp edge of the table, cutting open his head and lip?

There are a lot of weeks like this, aren't there?  You find yourself so exhausted that taking the time to give your spouse or partner a quick peck on the cheek is enough to send you running for sleep as fast as possible.  You stare at each other across the dinner table, mumbling "Mmm ok." to anything anyone says and think "Wait, who are you again? Who am I?"

Been there, done that, at times weekly.  So let's think up a few ways to reconnect that aren't of the cheesy sort, shall we?  Shelly and I were discussing our own relationships and both admitted we aren't of the 'touchy feely, super romantic' group.  We love our husbands so dearly, but both being business women who lead somewhat triple careers, we both know that sometimes our husbands could use just a bit more love and attention than they do get.  Here's a few ways I've found to try to reconnect to my husband throughout the week, even when I am flat out exhausted.

1.  Say thank you.  Even for small, nearly minuscule things that your husband does without your asking or complaining.  Our spouses and partners don't always need to hear an overwhelming "THANK YOU!" to something we have whined and complained about for weeks.  But, if he throws in a load of laundry or takes out the overflowing garbage without asking, pipe up!  "Thank you! I really appreciate that!" will not only tickle your partner pink but let them know that you do notice their efforts.  We must do little things to appreciate each other.

2.  Speaking of little things, I do this nightly before I go to bed.  I set the table for breakfast.  I put out my husbands favorite mug, prepare the morning coffee, and get out the stuff for the meal.  That way, breakfast can be leisurely and not harried as we trot everyone out the door.  I also set out my husbands towel and his shaving stuff before his shower.  It's not me slaving away, it's just a couple little things to make his life easier.  In return, he often does the same for me- he may let me sleep a few more minutes while he gets up to take the dog out, or start the coffee as I get out of the shower.

3.  Have a few small things to talk about throughout the week.  Maybe your spouse and you have different interests in movies, music, politics, whatever.  But taking a few minutes to notice a headline they might be interested in, hear a song they might like, etc., then bringing it up and being sure to SAY "I thought about you." while talking to them reassures them they are not the farthest thing from your mind.  My husband brings up stuff regularly that he thinks would interest me and I try hard to do the same.  Even if it doesn't really interest you, remember this, they were thinking about you.

4.  Watch a favorite show together some nights, or a movie?  We try to and often times I sit on one couch knitting, while he sits on another browsing the Internet during commercials.  I've tried to make a conscious effort to sit together, perhaps hold hands or snuggle up, instead of focusing on something else.  Then use commercial time to talk about each other, the week, whatever will give you a few moments to reconnect.

5.  All out, grand romantic gestures are nice but enduring sweetness is far better.  I am trying to get better about this but think before you speak.  Instead of whining that Nolan didn't do something, I try to say something else, like "Your new blue shirt is really nice- it brings out your eyes" or whatever.  Do little things that show reminders that you love each other.  For example, my husband didn't get me flowers for Valentine's Day.  He got me a blooming rose topiary and said "This way it lasts.  You love flowers and now it can bloom several more times."  When I water my rose plant or trim dead blooms from it, I'm reminded that he got it so I could enjoy it for a lot longer than a week.

6.  Celebrate little things.  Not just our birthdays and anniversaries.  I just recently found back a snapshot Nolan took of me and Eva when we were first engaged.  I framed it and put it beside his side of the bed.  When he saw it, I said "I just wanted us both to remember."  In return, he came to bed with two mugs of hot cocoa and we reminisced a bit.

7.  Talk regularly and often about plans for the future.  Day dream together about your second honey moon, trips to take the kids on, what kind of house you eventually want to build or buy, whatever.  My husband and I always daydream about when we are both working for ourselves.  When I'm a (hopefully) big time writer and he manages his own software clients.  We plan to put a library in our house that houses both our office spaces, so we see each other throughout the day.  We talk about the garden we want to put in this summer, what books from our childhoods we want to share with our kids, even the most mundane thing ever- when we can finally afford a dishwasher!

8.  Intimacy is more than just sex.  There, I said the naughty word!  Yes, it's important to connect regularly in a physical manner, but even stopping to give a little pinch on the bum, a wink at the grocery store, or hold hands while driving somewhere is important too.  More than once in a blue moon, get in bed together to lie down and chat, read each other things, or if you are as exhausted as we often are, fall asleep holding hands.

9.  This is said time and again by both parenting and marriage experts, as well as my mother but it bears repeating.  Choose your battles.  Your partner is exactly that, your best friend and partner through life.  Think for a few seconds before saying something that could possibly be completely trivial and a complete waste of time.  I am so bad at this.  Before I even think, it's like my mouth just magically opens and starts up with a whine fest or complaint.  Then I realize what a complete idiot I sound like and that I probably annoyed Nolan to no end.

10.  Never forget, a rousing game of Scrabble, or cribbage, or whatever complete with flirty competition and laughter does wonders for you both.  Also remember, even if you aren't the touchy feely kind, being sentimental and romantic when your spouse least expects it is a sure way to reassure them that they are still your number one love of your life.

We want to hear from you!  Do you have routines, traditions, or suggestions as how to reconnect with your spouse too?  The more the better!  Have a great week all!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Thank You, Happiness Inside!

The extremely cool and very generous creators of Happiness Inside have given us a free ad sponsorship!  They are strong believers in natural parenting and Elegant Mommy's vision to be your one stop resource for all your parenting needs.  Thank you Happiness Inside and please make sure to stop by to check out the ad and the coolness!  We are so grateful to have people believe in our mission, far and wide.

Sunday Morning Breakfast Parfaits

Parfait Love AffairImage by Josh Liba via FlickrAs one of our family goals, we've all been more committed to getting more fruits and veggies in our diets every day.  One of the easiest ways to do the fruit thing is having it be a part of breakfast.  This parfait is awesome as it's got yogurt, fresh fruit, and whole grain cereal to also boost your fiber and dairy intake.  The bed part about breakfast parfaits is two-fold; you can get the kids involved in making them, and (at least mine do) kids think it's like eating desserts for breakfast!

You can use any combo of yogurt, whole grain cereal, and fruits you like.  Think of the recipe as a template.  My family likes unsweetened vanilla flavored yogurt, Grape Nuts or Toasted O's oatmeal cereal, and fruits like bananas, strawberries, melon, and blueberries for one combo.  Your family might like different combos, so just experiment until you find what works for you.  A mom I know stirs natural peanut butter into her yogurt to give a bit more protein and flavor to the whole package.

This is such an easy breakfast and easy way to get your kids involved in 'cooking' even if all it is is layering the fruit, cereal, and yogurt. Also note that frozen fruit can work in this, though it is not my preference.  A lot of frozen fruits, when thawed seem to really water down the parfait, even with draining.  Also be sure to try it with seasonally fresh fruits for new flavor combination.  I hope your family likes parfaits as much as we do!  Try to stay away from artificially sweetened yogurts, and you can always experiment with plain yogurt since fruit has so much natural sugar.  Let us know your favorite combination's here!

Healthy Parfaits
Makes 10 child size parfaits

-20 oz vanilla yogurt, sugar free, low fat or both
-5 C low sugar, high fiber cereal  (Wheaties, Grape Nuts, Toasted Oats, granola, etc)
-5 C fruit

Layer the yogurt, fruit, and cereal in a cup until it is about a half inch from the top.  Get your kids involved in helping choose and then layer each parfait!

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