Monday, May 31, 2010

Blake is 5 Months Old!!

I know I am a couple days late in posting this, but we have been busy, busy, busy. And this little man has been the busiest of all of us!! Aside from the 3 (sometimes short) naps he takes each day, this little peanut is always on the go. Not literally, of course, unless you count jumping in his jumperoo, playing around in his exersaucer and rolling around the floor :-) He LOVES playing with toys these days, which makes it so much easier to entertain him. He really is the happiest little baby I have ever seen!

This has been a pretty productive month for my little man. He gained another pound (a solid 17 now :-), he is sitting up on his own for about 10 seconds before toppling over and...the most exciting development...we cut TWO teeth!!! Here he is showing them off...

I believe these two little teeth contributed to the major sleep issues we were having a couple of weeks ago. Although I can't say that Blake is sleeping the night yet, we have definitely made progress. He is going down for pretty consistent naps most days and he is only waking up 2 times a night. That is a HUGE improvement from 5 times a night :-) I also think the cereal and fruit/veggies he has been having twice a day is helping too. Our sleep plan is still on track. Now that naps are becoming more regular, we plan to start the night training soon. This is going to require some crying (but hopefully not much) so I hope he learns to sleep as quickly as Addie did :-)

So...that's my little Blake update for the month!! I am so happy that summer is here because this little winter baby has been dying to get outside. I am sure we will have a lot more "firsts" ahead of us this month, including a dip in Nana and Papa's new pool!!!! Happy Memorial Day everyone!!!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Top 5 Reasons Why Holiday Weekends Rock

* This post is brought to you by Addison*

1. Time with Daddy

Since Daddy is a super hard worker, we don't get a lot of time to go to fun places together. But when he can manage a day off, Daddy loves taking me to special places. This weekend we went to the zoo!!!!! Daddy's friend Jeff and my friend Megan went along too...

We got to see Zebwas, Monkeeeys and Bears!!!

And at the end of the day, Daddy and I posed for one more picture...and then he bought me an Icey and I ruined my outfit. Hehehehe :-)

I had the BEST time with my Daddy and I can't wait to go back again :-)

2. Cooking Breakfast with Mommy

Whenever Daddy is home on the weekends, Mommy likes to make a nice breakfast. Today we had waffles (her favorite) and I got to stir the batter!!! I love cooking and making a mess in the kitchen with Mommy :-)

3. Quality Time with Uncle Ado

Uncle Ado works as hard as Daddy, which means I don't get to see him that often. But when I do, Uncle Adam always does something fun with me. Yesterday, he took me for a ride on his 4-wheeler!! And when we were done, he even let me sit on it by myself!!!

He offered to let me drive it but Mommy said no. Boo!!! Uncle Ado told me he will let me drive it another day when Mommy isn't looking. Too bad he doesn't know that Mommy is always looking :-) I love you Uncle Ado!!

4. CAKE!!!

I heart cake :-)

5. Summer Lovin

I'm not too sure yet...but I think I might be in love. I met a boy named Kellen at Aunt Di and Uncle Adam's BBQ and he is cute. We played the WHOLE afternoon and I can't wait until we can play together again.

I think I might heart him more than cake :-)

The best part is...the weekend isn't over yet!!!! I still have so many more fun things to do and I am sure Mommy will post about those later. Okay...I have to go back to my pool now. Bye!!!!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

All Aboard!!!

In case you didn't know, Addie is a little obsessed with her Uncle Ryan. She loves playing with him and talking to him about "choo choos". In fact, if you ask Addie what Uncle Ryan works on all day, she'll say "big choo choos!" So when Uncle Ryan and Aunt Meagan invited us up for dinner at a place called All Aboard, I knew Addie would be all about it.

All Aboard is a train-themed diner for kids and let me tell ya...I wish I had thought of this idea.

They have trains going around the whole restaurant and Addie couldn't wait to spot her first one...

And there it is!!

Blake was having fun hanging out with all of us too, although the trains didn't excite him quite as much as his sister :-)

As I'm sure you guessed, the restaurant also brings out your food on a train! Addie thought this was just the coolest thing ever.

And since she (and everyone else) ate such a good dinner, we thought we would order a big treat to split...

Can you guess who got the cookie though?

Here is a really cute sign they have hanging by the door with a big train whistle...

Do you think she had fun?

After dinner, Uncle Ryan suggested we go walk around Toys R Us. Hmm...trains, chicken nuggets, cookies, Toys R Us AND getting to spend time with Uncle Ryan and Aunt Meagan? I would say that is a pretty great way to spend a Friday night.

Thanks for such a FUN evening you guys!!! We can't wait to do it again soon :-)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Eco-Friendly Friday: Green Your Beauty Routine

My love of beauty products is borderline obsessive. I LOVE trying new make-up, lotions, body washes, shampoos, etc., but I am starting to realize just how much waste is accumulating in my daily routine. So if you are like me and looking to "green" your beauty routine, here are some helpful tips to get you started.

1. Make-over your Make-up bag

One of the best ways to "green-up" your make-up bag is to cut down on the number of products you are carrying around. Look for cosmetics that are multi-tasking. For example, this Posie Tint by Benefit is a cheek and lip stain. It eliminates the need for a separate blush and lip gloss...

Also, look for multi-tasking moisturizers. I use Origins A Perfect World SPF 25 because it serves as my daily moisturizer, anti-aging cream and sunscreen all in one!

It's also important not to forget about your beauty tools. Look for ones made of bamboo, since it is a highly sustainable material. EcoTools makes a great set of brushes that are made from bamboo, recycled metal, and cruelty-free synthetic fibers...

2. Shorten your Showers

Did you know that an average shower uses 2.2 gallons of water per minute (according to the Environmental Protection Agency)? It takes me about 5 minutes to shampoo and condition my hair, which means that I use about 11 gallons of water EVERY day just by washing my hair. And I know I am not alone. If I were to shorten my shower by skipping a shampooing every other day, I could save almost 2,000 gallons of water a year!! Just think about the impact we could make if we all did that! And here's a quick tip to help you stretch the time between shampooings. If you are like me and your hair gets greasy quickly, just try some dry shampoo like Jonathan Products Green Routine...

In addition to skipping a shampooing, try shaving your legs at your sink, instead of doing it in the shower while the water is running constantly. This too will save you gallons a day :-)

3. Buy in Bulk

I absolutely love Jergens lotions. I don't know if it's because my mom always slathered me up with their Cherry Almond scent when I was little, or if its because the price tag is usually unbeatable. But either way...I love Jergens. But it always blows my mind how they can charge a $1 for one travel size lotion, when a 16.5 ounce bottle is only around $3?? Crazy isn't it? Just think of all the little travel bottles...and money...that are thrown into landfills every year!!!

And really...this problem is SO easy to solve. The solution? Buy in bulk. Plain and simple. Renew your Sams or Costco membership and get yourself some cardio for the day. Buying in bulk creates a lot less waste and it saves you money. The best part is, you can still carry around travel/purse size tubes of your favorite lotions, creams, sanitizers, etc. if you purchase some reusable containers like these GoToobs...

Reusing containers and refilling them with bulk items works for so many things we use on a daily basis (like hand soap, dish detergent, baby wipes, etc.) Just take a survey of your bathroom before you leave for Costco. I think you will be shocked by how many items come in bulk :-)

4. Ditch the Disposables

When it comes to personal hygiene products...its not just the convenience of disposables that keeps people from cutting down...its also the "gross factor". When someone told me that they make reusable panty liners, I almost threw up in my mouth. Do disposable panty liners and other sanitary products contribute to our landfills? Absolutely. Should people look for alternatives to this problem? Of course. I am all for trying a more expensive pantyliner like those made by Seventh Generation, but I am not on board with the reusable panty liner yet. Sorry. I'm just too grossed out.

But there are other ways to cut down on personal hygiene disposables. For one thing, opt for a razor that has replaceable heads. This will save a ton of waste since you won't be throwing out an entire razor each time yours gets dull. Also, look into a toothbrush with replaceable heads like this one from Eco-Dent...

Some of you might be thinking, "How much impact can replacing only the heads of my toothbrush really make?" Well...just see for yourself...

Amazing right? Just think...if switching only your toothbrush can make this big a difference, imagine the difference you will make if you follow all of the tips listed so far :-)

5. Support the Supporters

If our mission is to save the planet and do everything we can to live a greener, more eco-friendly lifestyle...then I believe it is important to support the companies that make it their mission to do the same thing. That is why I chose to become a Ambassador, and that is why I shop with companies like Origins.

Origins has made natural, earth friendly products for years and now they are going one step further in their mission to save the planet by offering a new recycling program. You can take all of your empty cosmetic tubes, bottles and jars (regardless of brand) to your local Origins store or counter and they will send it off to their centralized location to be recycled and used for energy recovery. Pretty smart idea huh? MAC cosmetics is also offering a recycling program of sorts. You can bring in empty tubes of lipstick and not only will they recycle those tubes for you...but you can also cash them in for a FREE tube of lipstick! So you see...supporting companies that support the planet will make you...and your wallet...feel really good :-)

So there you have it friends. 5 ways to Green your Beauty Routine. Have I left anything out? Feel free to comment with some of your own green beauty tips or share some eco-friendly products or companies that you love :-) Happy Friday!!

Pretty Much the Best Wife Ever...

My poor hubby has been working 7 days a week, 12 hours a day for the past two months. Since this project started, he has had a total of two days off...Blake's Baptism and Mother's Day. You'd think he would spend his nights complaining about how tired he is, how stressed he is, how over worked he is (because that's what I do :-)...but he doesn't. He comes home and asks how my day was and then helps me get the kids to bed. He is pretty much the best husband ever.

So today, the kids and I decided that if Daddy couldn't come to lunch...lunch would come to daddy. We packed a nice picnic and met Eric at a Forest Preserve near his job site. We had a nice meal, and then headed down the trails for a little walk. We found this great little look out spot over a pond...

Addie had a blast watching all the fish jump out of the water...

Blake was just happy to be out and about. He loves hanging in his stroller...

On the way back to the car, I walked with Addie and asked if we should get something special for Daddy since he has been working so hard...

She said "Uh huh" and I asked what we should get him. She suggested cookies, but I had something else in mind. Something that Eric has been secretly wanting...

Yeah...that's an iPad. One of the coolest gadgets I have ever seen. Eric has been drooling over it for months but instead of buying one, he came home the other day and said I should buy the book reader I have been wanting. See what I husband ever. I probably should have jumped at the opportunity, but instead I decided to sacrifice my reader and factor in a belated birthday/early father's day/you've worked so hard you deserve it gift...and went and bought him his iPad. Its on its way from Apple as we speak. And that, my friends, is what makes me pretty much the best wife ever. Hopefully Eric will think the same and let me read books on it at night when he falls asleep. Well, that is unless he takes it to bed with him. Ha!!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

We're Gonna Need a Bigger Pool

Since it looks like summer is finally here (what with all the 90 degree days we have been having) I decided it was time to put up Addie's pool. She couldn't wait to jump in today and take her boat for a spin...

I remember her looking like such a little peanut in her pool last year. She could swim laps in it and still have room for a million toys. But this year...she is all grown up.

No more laps for this little chic, considering she is as long as the pool now!!!

Ahh...if only my butt and thighs looked this good in a bikini :-)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The PERFECT Swimsuit for a Post Baby (or Prebaby) Belly

Dealing with some tummy issues are ya? too. Despite my weightloss and attempt at doing sit-ups each night, I am still carrying around a little post baby belly. I hoped this would be gone by summer but lets get serious. Summer is here and it looks like the tummy will be sticking around for the nice weather. So...this pretty much cancels out any hope I had for returning to my two-piece bathing suits.

But that's okay because I came across a FABULOUS suit for people dealing with some tummy issues. This is one of the styles from the SPANX swim collection...

Did you know that SPANX made swimwear? Yeah...I learned about it a few months ago when I was shopping at a department store and saw the sign. I saw this adorable suit (pictured above) and thought YES!!! This is prefect for the summer. Brown is cute and slimming and this suit is unique because it is actually a slimming one-piece made to look like a two-piece. Clever huh? This will surely suck in all my tummy and back fat issues. The only problem (for me at least) is that it is $178!!!!!! Yikes!!! Even though I wanted this suit really bad...I had to put it down and move on. $178 for a swimsuit is just not in my budget.

But then, as if the swim suit Gods heard my prayers, I got an e-mail sale alert from RueLaLa and I saw that SPANX had a boutique open for two days. Guess how much I got this suit for? $79!!!!!! WOOHOO!!!! I can't tell you how excited I am!!! If you want to snag a new SPANX suit too you better hurry...they are selling out fast.

Now I can finally feel comfortable going to the community pool and taking Addie to swim class this summer without feeling like my gut is going to knock a kid into the water. Yay! Be sure to comment if you end up snagging a SPANK suit too and let me know what you think :-)

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

Alright friends...we have a winner!!! The lucky commenter is...

#3!!!! Congrats DIANE!!!!!

Please send me an email at with your shipping information and the style/color of Chewing the Cud giftwrap you would like!! Thanks for entering everyone! I know there will be a lot more great Eco-Friendly giveaways to come!!

Monday, May 24, 2010

When It's 95 Degrees Outside...

Addie and Blake like to stay in where it is cool and watch a little Elmo...

Addie is all about Elmo lately and when she asked to watch Elmo in Grouchland for the 40th time this week, she asked if "Beak" could watch it too. Turns out the B-man likes Elmo just as much as his big sis. I couldn't even get him to look away for a picture...

Well, that is until I got right in front of him :-)

Addie and I were having a blast making him laugh today and I was able to capture just a little bit of it on video. Please disregard the noises I am making, and please excuse Addie's interruption at the end :-)

I just love these peanuts so much :-)

Last Chance to Enter My Giveaway!!

This is just a reminder to all of you who still need to enter my fabulous GIVEAWAY from It is for a FREE piece of Chewing the Cud 100% Organic Cotton Giftwrap!!!

And just so you don't have to use this as Giftwrap. It also works as a fabulous tablecloth/placemat or you can even fold it into several different style carrying bags! Here are the directions so you can see all the fantastic ways to use this!!

The giveaway ends TONIGHT so be sure to enter before then. I will announce the winner first thing in the morning. Good luck everyone!!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Blake's New Buddy

Happy Sunday everyone!! I would just like to introduce you all to Blake's newest buddy...

Jacob Jeffery Hartley

Our good friends Barb and Jeff just gave birth to their second baby on Friday. This little peanut was 4 weeks early and still weighed almost 7 pounds!! I think Barb is thanking her lucky stars that she didn't make it full term because this little guy could have been every bit of 10 pounds by then!

I just had the chance to meet the little guy in person and he is just PRECIOUS!! Remember how I said that seeing newborns would probably give my baby fever? probably about it. Newborns will give me baby fever until the day I die :-)

Congrats again Barb, Jeff and big sister Megan!!!! Enjoy your first day home with your precious little man :-)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Eco-Friendly Friday: Reusable Giftwrap & a GIVEAWAY!!!

Besides Christmas, Wedding and Graduation season is probably the busiest time of year for a lot of people. This summer alone we have been invited to 6 graduation parties, a bridal shower and two weddings. That's a lot of gift giving for one summer and when I think about how much I will spend in cards and giftwrap makes me sort of cringe. Even though I LOVE wrapping beautiful gifts, I have been starting to realize what a waste it is to spend so much money on paper, bags, ribbon and bows that end up just getting tossed in the trash! My mom and I actually started recycling gift bags and boxes for each other's gifts a long time ago, and this Christmas, we gave each other baskets filled with little presents, instead of wrapping all of them individually. I feel like this saved us all a lot of money AND we were able to reuse the cute baskets we gave our gifts in. Bonus!

I know one easy solution to this problem is to stop wrapping gifts all together. But really...what fun is that? I know Eric would be fine because he has never wrapped a gift in his life. Ha! But I am all about presentation so I have to give my gifts wrapped in something cute. And when a basket doesn't work, I have decided to try some of the BEAUTIFUL reusable giftwraps that has to offer. Here are some of my favorites.

This beautiful organic 100% cotton giftwrap by Chewing the Cud is perfect for a wedding or shower. I absolutely love the colors...

Chewing the Cud also makes this gorgeous giftwrap, which I am going to purchase for my girlfriend's birthday gift and a baby shower I am attending next month...

Another option for reusable giftwrap is to use an actual reusable bag, like an ACME Workhorse or an Envirosax bag. Both are great options because it is like getting a bonus gift once your package is unwrapped! Obviously, learning to fold and tie reusable giftwrap to look like the presents above will take some instruction. Luckily, my friend Natalie sent over a link to a giftwrap how-to video with lots of great tips, ideas and instructions. I have included the viedo below in case you want to take a look :-)

Now...if you don't have the patience or time to fold and tie your giftwrap like the gifts above, you could invest in some of these adorable reusable gift bags by Wrapsacks. You could literally wrap a gift in two seconds with these things :-)

Wine is one of my favorite gifts to give. It is perfect for weddings, house warming parties, birthdays, holidays, etc. so I am a big fan of the wine bags. So freaking cute. And one of the things I love best about the reusable gift bags is that if you have a really odd shaped item (like most kids toys are), it doesn't matter because the bag will fit any shape and still look cute.

There are a lot of other great ways to cut down on giftwrap waste and one of the biggest ways is to just give a giftcard or good old cash :-) That tends to be the gift of choice for weddings and graduations these days anyway. But since giftcards and/or money is a pretty boring gift to give (in my opinion), you could put the card or money in a LunchSkin or a Bazura Coin Purse to spice it up a bit :-)

Now...if this post has sold you on the idea of reusable giftwrap, then you are in luck because is offering FREE SHIPPING on a $25 or more purchase for new customers this weekend! The code is NEWCUST25 and it is good through 5/23.

AND...are you ready for the best part? The folks over at ReusableBags are going to let me give away one piece of Chewing the Cud giftwrap!!! The winner will get to select the color or style they want so be sure to check out all of their items here. Here's how to enter...

1.) Leave a comment on this post and tell me one way you like to reuse when it comes to wrapping gifts. Do you reuse paper? Or reuse ribbon? Do you recycle old gift bags and regift them? I would love to read all your creative ideas.

2.) Earn an additional entry by signing up for the newsletter. You can do that here. Be sure to post an additional comment letting me know you signed up.

3.) Earn an additional entry by blogging about this giveaway. Just be sure to include the link to your post in your comment.

And that's all you have to do! You have until Monday night (5/24) to enter and I will post the winner's name on Tuesday morning. Good luck everyone and Happy Friday!!