Monday, April 30, 2012

Random Updates

Sorry I've been super busy this month and haven't been on here as much as I would have liked...but here's a few recent/random updates for ya ---
  • I've been listening to a lot of Sirius XM online radio. In love with Alt Nation, Tiesto's Club Life, & The Coffee House. I honestly don't know how I ever lived without. [& talk shows Waking up with Taylor & Janette's Show]. If you already have it in your car it is totally worth the extra $3.00!
  • Just booked our trip out east for Memorial Day Weekend and really looking forward to seeing everyone and hopefully getting in at least one beach day. God I miss the ocean. 
  • Our rent is up in August and we will def be moving out of our beloved first home (rental, whatever). Kind of bittersweet but def looking forward to the change. Rent just keeps increasing and increasing and with more and more talk about the next baby (coming soon we hope!) we really want more space, to save more, and really get out of a high rise and live on ground level with a yard for the kiddo(s). 
  • I'm learning a lot about homeopathy, herbal medicine, natural food, essential oils, & home remedies. It is so interesting to me and I'm finding that this stuff works so much better (and is better for you) than OTC drugs and store bought crap. Spending a lot of time (and $$!) in Merz Apothecary on my lunch breaks and reading Back to Eden right now. Stay tuned for future posts on this stuff. 
  • I'm having a love affair with Pssst Dry Shampoo. Why I just discovered this now is beyond me because it literally is the best thing since sliced bread. Pssst was recommended to me by my hair stylist and it's only $5.00 and can find it at most drug stores. Now I can get away with only washing & drying my hair once a week and saves lots and lots of time in the morning getting ready. And I've actually never gotten more compliments on my hair than I have in the past few weeks since I've been using it. Honestly my hair looks better after using it than it does after a fresh wash & blow dry. it's THAT good. Get some. 
  • Landon updates: He now says "no" and "thank you" and other random phrases such as "I'm gonna get you!" "Where'd you go?" and "I got the car," among other things. I am no longer imagining it, and it has been confirmed by our sitter, my bro in law, and numerous friends. He also learned how to run (it's so awkward and I love it). Points to things that he wants. Latest food phase/craze is anything "dipped." -- In salsa, guacamole, sauces, dips, cream cheese, dressing, you name it. He loves throwing things around and I got him his first little baseball glove and pack of soft Tee balls ;) So excited for those days. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Landon's big 2nd birthday bash!

It took me forever but I finally got a decent picture for Landon's birthday invitation :) I saw this on Pinterest and I knew it was what I wanted to do, but it was def not as easy as it seemed!! First I couldn't find a small enough chalkboard so I had to make my own with chalkboard paint.

A $3.00 picture frame from Target and $5.00 chalkboard paint at Joanns, a few strokes of my sponge brush later, & voila! Actually kind of happy I did this because there are so many more things I can use the little chalkboard for - right now it is hangingin our kitchen as a "what's for dinner menu" for the week, and of course Landon loves to color on it as well. But until he learns that chalk is not meant to be eaten, the weekly dinner menu it will remain.

After about 2973798347474 attempts, I finally got a decent batch of pics to choose from. These were a few other cuties:

And a theme was finally decided upon! I was really shying away from a theme this year because I feel like it makes the planning so much more stressful and expensive...but I found these cute balloon plates and napkins a few weeks ago at the Dollar Tree & I knew I wanted tons and tons and tons of balloons everywhere....and then I remembered how much we all loved Disney's "Up" and it was a match made in heaven in my head. And it's a super easy theme to work with because it's just pretty much all balloons.

These cupcakes will be made:

(House printout/cutout found here).

I love this idea for the smash cake:

And I might just have to have Landon dress up like this for the occasion:

So ya, I'm pretty stoked for it. I know it's a little ways away but time flies around here and I already have some really good friends plus Landon's godmum flying in for the weekend and I think it'll be an even bigger & better turnout than last year's :) For those of you who missed the big # 1, you can check out some snippets here & here.

More to come!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

what i'm listening to (& some new songs for you to download)

Probably the best playlist I've ever created, if you haven't heard of any of these already, you should definitely check 'em out:

- Of Monsters & Men, Little Talks
- Grouplove, Tongue Tied
- Ballpark Music, It's Nice to Be Alive
- Mumford & Sons, Little Lion Man
- The Xx, Heart Skipped a Beat
- Florence & The Machine, Shake it Out
- Train, Drive by
- Neon Trees, Everybody Talks
- Matt Kearny, Ships in the Night
- Fall Off the Face of the Earth, Somebody That I Used to Know cover
- Santigold, Disparate Youth
- Silversun Pickups, Bloody Mary
- M83, Midnight City
 - Morning Parade, Headlights
- The Section Quartet, Such Great Heights

And some techno for those of you who need some gym motivation:
- Tiesto, Escape Me
- Avicci, Levels
- Goodwill, Take You Higher
- Kaskade, Turn It Down
- Calvin Harris, Feel So Close
- Tiesto, Feel it in my Bones


Friday, April 20, 2012

Guest post: How to Discipline Your Kids by Disciplining Yourself.

By Mayim Bialik, Ph.D.
Author of Beyond the Sling

A major component of Attachment Parenting is what’s known as Gentle Discipline. Here’s what people say about it: “Gentle Discipline only works for small families, at-home moms, mellow kids, inhumanly super-patient moms who must possess alien DNA.” You name it, I’ve heard it.
I’ve also heard a lot of people from the “Tiger Mom” school of thought claim that Gentle Discipline encourages and allows children to do whatever they want; that they will “rule the house” and become spoiled and dictatorial tyrants who hold us hostage with their every whim. They hold that a firm hand (and even some physical consequences such as timeouts or spanking) makes for “good children.”
Gentle Discipline is not permissive parenting. It means parenting without violence, relying instead on respectful communication and seeking to see your child not as someone lesser or weaker than you who you can and should control, but rather as a partner in your life and a source of potential joy and loving interaction. Some general goals of Gentle Discipline include making our children feel safe with us, feeling that they are partners in their relationship with us, and finding ways for children to find better choices for behavior as opposed to simply teaching them to stop a behavior that we deem inappropriate. In addition, by nurturing respect and empathy, we teach self-discipline and encourage children to be the best that they can be.
What Works for the Wrong Reasons?
1) Timeouts. I can usually identify a child in timeout by the sound of crying or screaming. The parent is usually close by, looking appropriately concerned and often murmuring reminders that this is because the child did so-and-so, and they can come back when the time is up, or when they stop crying. Gentle Discipline encourages us not to ignore the cries of a baby, and as children get older, they have more emotions and they acquire more words, but they do not acquire all of the words we’d like them to have. So they “cry” in different ways, and we have to—we are privileged to—take the time to learn these new cries.
2) Threat and reward. Like timeouts, threats and rewards seem to work, but they work for the wrong reasons. Just as children respond to threats because they fear the consequences, they also respond to rewards because it is the reward that is driving them, rather than being motivated by working well with others, earning respect, being valued, and being appreciated and loved.
3) Violence. The only relationship in society in which you are allowed to hit or spank another person is your child; you can’t spank your husband or your wife. You can’t spank your teachers or your friends, and you most certainly can’t even adopt a pet in most states if you say that you plan to spank them. People who hit say that they hit out of love, and not out of anger. The distinction between hitting in anger (as in “the heat of the moment”) as opposed to hitting as part of a purportedly “calm” regimented spanking is an academic one, but not a practical one. Both methods involve hitting a child, thereby causing the brain to release neurotransmitters and hormones to cope with pain and fear while suppressing fight/flight pathways. The simplest reason we don’t hit is this: Hitting is hitting. It’s not love. It’s not teaching. It’s hitting. You can say you are hitting with love, or that you are using hitting to teach something, but it’s still hitting.
Research indicates that physical punishment fails to promote long-term compliance and is correlated with less internalization of “appropriate” behavior and compliance. Throughout the world, physical punishment is associated with increased psychological maladjustment and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, as well as drug and alcohol abuse. Twenty four countries in the world have banned physical punishment and have seen amazing shifts in behavior and societal expectations. Maybe it’s that simple.
What Works for Us
1) Always assume the best. All children have the potential to be sweet, cooperative, helpful, kind, and loving. Does this mean that they always are? No. Does this mean that they can be? Yes. Try to start each day knowing that somewhere inside even the unhappiest child there is the seed of a child that can grow into a happy one who meets your expectations and then exceeds them. This can only be done, though, when we foster that growth.
2) “Bad” behavior is a sign of an unmet need. When children act out, disobey us, behave rudely, or display disturbing emotions, it’s easy to dismiss the child or the behavior as “bad” or “wrong.” However, as we go about redirecting our children and disciplining them, it helps tremendously to see these behaviors as a child’s best attempt to meet a need. It calls upon us to look at our relationship with our child to try and find the source of their unmet need.
3) Parental timeouts. Imagine that the day comes when you cannot contain your disdain for the way your child is behaving. This is when it’s time for a parent timeout. If you have older children, you can simply say that you are having a hard time and you need a moment to gather yourself. Physically take a moment, or hone the skill of taking a timeout in the child’s presence using breathing techniques or some sort of mantra or short meditation.
Our Favorite Discipline Tools
1) “Not for” instead of “no.” The word “no” is not very helpful and using it will come back to haunt you. We’ve used the word “no” very rarely; instead, coming up with myriad ways to indicate “no” and stop undesirable behaviors. We never baby-proofed our home except for power outlet covers, and a stern tone (which we saved for only such occasions) and strong body language did the trick in averting exploration of dangerous things. To this day, neither of my boys have ever said, shouted, or screamed “NO!” at us.
2) Give a “yes” for every “no”—sometimes two. There are times when we need to and ought to say “no” to a child, such as when a slice of brightly colored, fantastic-looking birthday cake is not vegan. Small people love to hear “yes” even if it’s after “no.” Even if it’s a really disappointing “no,” I’ve found that providing a “yes” to something else can work wonders. So for the non-vegan cake, if the answer is “no,” the “yes” is to our own treat waiting for us at home after the party.
3) Pick your battles/Do you want to die on this mountain?/Let it go. I am not a permissive parent; I hope you can trust me on this by now. However, a very effective tool I have used possibly more than any other as a parent is this: Pick your battles, especially with a baby. Ask yourself, “Do I want to die on this mountain?” and answer it very clearly and honestly. Know that sometimes you just have to let it go and that this does not doom your child to a lifetime of bad behavior. It simply means that you acknowledge that every phase is just that: It’s a phase, and it will pass. And it will usually pass with you doing very little to fix it; maturity, experience, and observing good modeling of behavior is often enough to correct undesirable behavior.
Certain behaviors, such as a baby who bites while nursing or a child who thinks it is funny to pull hair, need a different kind of guidance, but for most things that are challenging but not truly problematic, I say let it go and you will be amazed that it passes. You don’t have to punish a baby for it to pass. I am here to tell you that it passes on its own.
Gentle Discipline can work for every child and every parent, if only we invest the time and energy to make it happen with consistency, authenticity, and love. And that is quite simply, the most intuitive way to discipline and to be.

Read more:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

new hampshire minitrip

Just got back from the beautiful state of New Hampshire early this morning & posting some quick pics from the past few days there. It was really a business trip for Chris that Landon and I decided to tag along on for the weekend. I took most of these photos on the way there but unfortunately once we got there, I was too busy enjoying myself that I didn't interrupt the moments to picture take. All of my MA friends drove up to hang at some point which was amazing & I miss everyone already :( But it just makes me look forward even more to future east coast trips this summer.
 L conked out on the cab ride, but woke up for the moving walkways where he no joke ran up and down at least 100 times, each equally exciting as the last. This made for a very tired little honneybunny & a happy lil mama at takeoff.
 Jet setting far past a toddlers bedtime = a sleeping sweetheart on both our laps the whole way through.
Playing hard outside in the gorgeous 70-90 degree weather & refueling with some snacks. L gets his best haircut of his life to date, & tries to make friends with an older blonde girl, but clearly can't mask the fact that he is just more interested in wheeling his new cars along anything, and anyone.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bits of Easter weekend

Saturday lunch outside @ Sweetwater on Michigan Avenue. Landon finger painting with ranch dressing. Anything to keep him entertained while I enjoy my mimosa + seared tuna salad.
Landon + Chris frolicking around in the grass. Working on his dunk. Sock monkey easter basket
(& chubby little impatient hands).

Easter dinner @ my sister in law's. Landon's twin cousins, Emma + Norah. Good times had by all.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

French Pressed Coffee

I've definitely been in an over-tired and run down rut the past few weeks...until I had my first french press coffee yesterday and I have been forever changed. For the [much] better. I'm not gonna lie, yesterday I was a little cracked out with being over-productive, up later than usual, and still even up extra early this morning (without an alarm or baby waking me) but since when has that ever been a bad thing in anyone's life?

I discovered that french pressed coffee not only gives you an extra jolt (about twice the amount as a normal brew) but it tastes SO MUCH BETTER than regular coffee too. It has a very rich and robust flavor and you will feel like a Starbuck's Barista every morning and love life a little more than usual. Really. My morning coffee routine has a whole new meaning now. It takes about 5 minutes longer to make than regular coffee, but it is well worth it, trust me, just wait and see for yourself! All you need is:

1. A french press maker. There's a ton out there and actually really cheap and don't take up much space at all. I bought this one at Target for $20.
2. Coarsely ground coffee. I use and love Caribou coffee....You can go to any Starbucks or Caribou or other coffee shop and buy a small package of whole beans and have them grind it up for you. You need coarsely ground coffee for this because fine grind can clog the filter. *Sidenote: I tried to buy my own coffee grinder, but most out there - at least the smaller $20 ones that I wanted - only have one regular grind setting and they are "blade" grinders, which really are not good for coffee at all. If you want to get your own coffee grinder, you really need to get a Burr grinder and those start at about $80. You really want to buy whole beans and then grind yourself or have a local coffee shop grind for you because coffee is best (for you and also tastes much better) when it is freshly ground. Typically it is looses its properties and taste after being ground for 2 weeks (whereas whole beans can last months).
3. Tea kettle to heat (not boil) the water. Use filtered (not tap) water.

How you make it:

1. Place your french press maker on a flat counter top surface and pull the plunger unit straight up and out of the pot.
2. For every 6 oz of water, put 2 rounded tablespoons of Caribou (original blend) coarse ground coffee into the pot. (If you use different coffee brand or blend, just read the side label and adjust accordingly).
3. Pour hot (not boiling) water into the pot. It is important to not use boiling water. I take my kettle off when it starts to steam and rattle a little but before it whistles. Or you could let it whistle and boil but then let it cool off for a minute until it is just steaming. There is no need to really measure the water temperature but if you want to go the extra mile, they say it is best for the water temp to be between 100 & 105 degrees. Leave about an inch of space at the top of the pot.
4. Stir the brew with a plastic or wooden spoon. Metal spoons can scratch or chip the glass and cause the pot to break.
5. Place the plunger unit on top of the pot. Do not press down, you're just sealing the top closed. Let the coffee brew for 4 minutes. (Do not do under 4 minutes, but you can let it sit there for longer than 4 min if you want).
6. Holding the pot handle in one hand, and using just the weight of your other hand to apply pressure to the top of the knob on the plunger unit to lower the plunger straight down into the pot. Lowering the plunger slowly with minimal pressure produces the best results. *Sidenote: If the filter clogs or it becomes difficult to push down, remove the plunger from the pot, stir the brew again, and then slowly plunge again.
7. Pour your coffee & enjoy. 

Here's an instructional youtube video that's helpful to watch before you take 'the plunge' ;)

PS: Where you buy your coffee matters! Read this old post for a refresher. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

a few of his favorite things

Books, trains, slides, puppies. He's pretty easy to please.

Got all these babies thrifting for .40 cents a pop -- they are all in really great condition -- pages, flaps, and pop-ups all intact. Added bonus was scoring this big Percy to join his Thomas & Friends collection.
We really need to get this kid a dog.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

One Year Anniversary of Le Blog

Well I am pretty surprised with myself for keeping up with this little hobby for a whole year now. What started off as a way to document adventures & milestones throughout Landon's babyhood and sort of serve as an e-babybook to share with distant friends & relatives has now also turned into a creative outlet for me to share my thoughts, writing, crafts, food & drink recipes, fab finds, mommy tips, & attempts at living a "green" life. It's been a heck of year and I've begun to love blogging more and more with every passing post & I sincerely hope all of you enjoy spending time here with me in my little corner of the world.
In honor of my one year blogiversary, I thought it would be fun to do a quick recap of the past year, highlighting a few of my favorite posts each month.

The big debut of Mumma's Corner. I introduced myself to the cyber world with this post about my loves & dreams. I openly admitted to thrifting & loving it. We celebrated Landon's First Easter. I wrote about cloth diapering, which still continues to be one of the hottest topics on my blog to date. Shared a funny article for soon-to-be DADS. Wrote my first Fabulous Finds post & started planning Landon's First Birthday party. 

Shared some of Landon's sweet (immobile) dance moves. I became a vegetarian (again), answering "why!?" and encourage others to do the same. I wrote about My Mother in Law's sudden and unexpected passing away. I celebrated my First Mother's Day, which was all I hoped for and more. Posted my first step-by-step vegetarian recipe. Landon started CRAWLING. All this while still making time in for the gym.  I thoroughly enjoyed the new spring weather with my swingin' baby & I shared my first "do-good" post by enlightening the world about where you buy your coffee

Stood up in one of my best friend's weddings and another's bridal shower while spending a week back east in my homeland. Shared my first home decor post. I said goodbye to the precious days of infancy as we celebrated my sweet baby boy turning ONE.

We celebrated the 4th of July in the woods on a lake in Wisconsin where I discovered I could actually survive a camping trip and like it.  I was moved to tears during the annual Saving Tiny Hearts gala. Overall spent the dog days of summer documenting any & all adventures that come along with raising A TODDLER

We experienced two major milestones this month - Landon finally kicked the bottle & took his FIRST STEPS. I spent many days trying to burn out Lando's ever-increasing energy @ the pool & tot park. Shared a few snaps of everyday life as the summer winded down & helped move my Sister in Law into Valpo, the site of where the hubs and I first met.

I welcomed the cooler weather with an open heart and big smile. Took Landon on his first [disastrous] boat ride. Posted my first DIY project/craft. Stood up in my best friend's wedding in Newport RI, went apple picking, & fell madly in love with our first family photographs
Finally booked our honeymoon after almost 1 year of being married. Experienced my first real philanthropical experience and encourage the world to do the same. Stood up in my sister's wedding in Boston. Messed around with Chris' new ipad2 (love). Went to a Weezer concert & basked in the glorious 80-degree October weather at the park where Landon attempted to go down the slide for the first time, learned the ins & outs of football, & got his first real big boy haircut. I shared another cool DIY project & Landon celebrated his second Halloween Yoda style.

Shared a really funny video guaranteed to get a few laughs out of you. I completed two more DIY projects: heart maps & the 12 Days of Christmas traditions. Chatted it up with Landon on Thanksgiving morning & felt a very full & grateful heart this year. 

Landon meets Santa for the first time. Chris and I took our belated Honeymoon in heaven Kauai & we celebrated our One Year Anniversary. We put up our tree & went to the Navy Pier Winter Wonderfest. I posted my first drink recipe, my all time holiday favorite, mulled wine. Landon turned a year and a half years old & I still can't believe I'm a mom. 

We rang in the New Year with good friends, lots of drinks & lots of laughter....Although we weren't off to a great start to the new year when Landon got hit smashed over the head & knocked upside down with the stomach flu and scared me half to death. I posted about cleaning your face with OIL (don't knock it 'til you try it). I then battled a nasty never-ending cold & shared a few homeopathic feel-good remedies. My parents came to visit from Boston & we took L skating and sledding for the first time. & capped off the end of the month celebrating Husband's 31st birthday.

Honestly, not too much went on this month. I started a new job and got into working versus SAHMs but that's about it. [See for yourself.]

Kicked off the month with a DIY brown sugar facial exfoliator. Already started planning L's Big Second Birthday Bash :) Went to Austin for SXSW music festival and celebrated my 28th birthday. A little freaked out by the 80 degree weather we had this month but nonetheless thoroughly enjoyed it @ the BEACH (wth!?) & other outdoor activities.

And that was our year in a nutshell. Thank you for sharing in it with me. Looking forward to many more great adventures this year, next year, the year after that, and the year after that :)

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