Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Baked Ravioli

Looking for a super easy and delicious dinner?! This is it! Bonus: You only dirty two dishes! Or, if your genius like Amanda, you'll only dirty one! 😉  I doubled this recipe for dinner on Mother's Day and it made 2 - 9x13 pans plus an 8x8 pan I threw in the freezer for later!

+ 1lb ground beef/venison*
+ 1C diced onion
+ 14oz spaghetti sauce
+ 14.5oz can diced tomatoes, drained (I use the kind with spices added)
+ 13oz package frozen cheese raviolli, thawed
+ 2C shredded mozzarella cheese (or more if you love cheese like I do)
+ 1TBSP grated parmesan cheese

+ optional, add mushrooms or spinach!

*omit meat to make vegetarian friendly. I like to make a double batch and do 1 with meat and 1 without! 

Preheat oven to 450°

Cook meat and onion in large skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Drain grease. Stir in spaghetti sauce and tomatoes. (add spinach/mushrooms if desired and bring mixture to a boil before moving onto next step)

Spread a thin layer of mixture onto bottom of 11x7 baking dish. Arrange half of ravioli over sauce. Sprinkle with cheese. Make another layer (meat, ravioli, cheese). Cover with foil.

Bake for 30-45 minutes. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top before serving.

via original recipe

Friday, May 19, 2017

ML | 9 Months Old + Diagnosis

It's been a few months since I've talked about my little chub chub boy! Two weeks ago he turned 9 months old and before I know it we will be celebrating his first birthday! I better get to planning! Can you believe I don't even have a pinterest board of ideas started?! #secondchildproblems

If you've followed along with my posts or on social media, you've probably gathered that I've had a roller coaster of a ride with this baby. Here's a very brief version of what's been going on over the last 8 months... I'm a far cry from a doctor and I'm not trying to say that doctors are terrible because I know there are good doctors out there. But, I'm just going to say - trust your Mama instincts! Be an advocate for your innocent baby! 

Since Mason was a week old I struggled with nursing every hour, non stop screaming, barfing, anti sleeping, can't be set down, etc. He exclusively nursed and refused a bottle for 16 weeks. He slept in my arms in my bed for 15 weeks. I woke up every 1-2 hours (or less) every night for 6 months. Months 7 & 8 I woke up 3-4 times a night, and now we are down to 1-2 times a night (bless the Lord!). All because I finally learned I was right all along, there was something wrong with my baby all this time. 

Pediatrician #1 - I went to his pediatrician on several occasions (1-4 months old) and told him I thought there was something wrong with my baby. He told me it was just reflux and it would get better in time. Days, weeks, months, passed and I kept going back. Only to be treated like a fool. Something didn't seem right that my baby cried so much and never wanted to sleep. I suggested a food allergy. He told me that couldn't be possible, he was too young. I went dairy free anyways just to see. After 8 weeks of dairy free and no progress, I went back and asked for a referral to a specialist. He denied that. I switched to a new pediatrician.

Pediatrician #2 - At our first appointment, (5 months old) I explained my concerns. Got the same response - he just has reflux and needs to grow out of it otherwise you need to let him cry it out. I was disgusted. A month later (6 months old) we went back one more time and I addressed my concerns again. I mentioned my previous request of seeing a specialist and he agreed with Mason's previous pediatrician - "it wasn't necessary". I asked his thoughts on seeing a holistic chiropractor and he told me they wouldn't be able to determine anything serious.

Insert ahhhh-mazing Holistic Chiropractor (Dr. Julia) - I decided it wouldn't hurt to see this woman regardless of what everyone says about "holistic" doctors. We had our first appointment (6.5 months old) and for once, I felt understood. I felt like someone finally cared about my baby and I. All I told her was "I think he has digestive issues because he's really fussy all the time and he never sleeps". She checked him "internally" and he was screaming. I'm talking bloody murder. I cried. She explained that his pancreas, liver, kidneys, and spleen was not functioning properly which told her he must have a food allergy. So she did an allergy test. Based on her findings, she said he had a corn and gluten allergy.

Since I was still breastfeeding, I decided to wean him off and switch him to a gluten free formula. In the meantime, I had an appointment scheduled to get into another new pediatrician. Dr. Julia didn't think Mason needed to come back for a month so that he could adjust from breast milk to formula.

Pediatrician #3 - Third times a charm, right? She checked him out. I told her everything I've dealt with (which she kind of knew a little about it because she's my doctor for my PPD/anxiety as well) and she agreed that it sounded like something was going on. Something more than reflux. She explained that often times with a young child, tests aren't as accurate with findings, however she would still refer him to a gastroenterologist and an allergist. I explained to her my experience with the holistic doctor and she said "if that's helping, then it won't hurt to take him back there because honestly she can probably determine more than a GI doctor will, but let's just have him checked out just to be sure." I was SO relived. I felt like I was finally on the road to resolving this poor child's problems. Well.. in 6 more weeks. Because that's how long it took to get appointments.

Gastroenterologist - We seen a GI doctor at Children's Hospital. I explained to her why I was there. The first thing out of her mouth was - "He's probably still suffering from reflux." You don't want to know what my response was to that... mind you she hadn't even looked at or touched Mason. I threw some questions at her and then mentioned the holistic doctor. She said "No no no. That can't be. He's growing. He's not sick. He just needs reflux medication. If anything I could see a dairy allergy because that's common in babies. But no, not gluten. You try the reflux medicine and come back in 6 weeks and then we'll reconsider his diet." Since I wasn't very pleased with her "findings" she offered to draw blood for allergies before I left. It took a week of me calling every day to get the results on the bloodwork, which all came back negative. I denied the reflux medication.

Allergist - A week after the GI doctor, we went to the allergist. I explained everything, he agreed it wasn't reflux and must be an allergy that's causing him discomfort. I mentioned the holistic doctor. His exact words were "Nope. She can't determine that. She doesn't know that. She's just guessing. She's just giving you a general diagnosis". He performed the skin test on Mason. When he came back into the room 15 minutes later, his exact words were "Wow! She was right! Who was that doctor?! What's her name?! Wow." Pssssh. The skin test revealed a gluten, rye, corn, egg, dust-mite, and cat allergy. 

So where do we stand now?! (if you made it through all that, bless your heart). I'm only sharing this experience in hopes that my story will encourage someone else to go with their gut and pry for answers. The only regret I have is that I didn't pry sooner. 

The pediatrician confirmed that the blood work possibly doesn't show allergies because he's so young. I won't be going back to the GI doctor at Children's. We have continued to see the holistic chiropractor weekly/biweekly. We follow up with the allergist in June. We're sticking to a strict fruit, veggies, and gluten free diet as well as taking a digestive enzyme supplement which will help his pancreas break down the enzymes in the food he eats/drinks. Within the last month, he has really improved. He's overall much happier throughout the day, he naps twice a day, and he sleeps at night for longer than 2 hours at a time. Which is HUGE!

Here's the 9 months stats....

:: 22lbs | 29.5"

:: Mostly 12 months, some 18 months. Size 3-4 shoe.

:: Sleep: An hour long morning nap, 1-2 hour afternoon nap, bedtime usually by 9 and sometimes wakes up once or twice. Holy moly, the difference in getting 5 broken hours of sleep a night vs. 5 solid hours of sleep at night. Bless it!

:: Food: Strict, strict diet. We really have to watch him try to steal sissy's snacks and of course she likes to share with him. Breastmilk is officially gone as of 2 weeks ago so we are on Honest gluten free formula.  I am set up for auto shipment on their feeding bundle and it's worked out really well!

:: Nicknames: Chub chub, Hungry hungry hippo, Bubba, Bubba Chubba, Stinky Stinky Boy.

:: Full time walker

:: Waves

:: Loves bathtime, big sissy, the remote, being held, eating rocks or dirt, and his blankies.

:: Mama's Feelings: Oh the relief I feel to have finally gotten some answers. I don't mean to have the attitude of "I knew it" or "I told ya so" but seriously! My Mama gut told me something wasn't right a long time ago. The only thing that really upsets me is that I wish I would have been more persistent sooner. It makes me feel guilty that he was in pain all this time and I didn't do something more about it.

My anxiety and PPD is getting better as well, but I still have some bad days here and there. I'm just thankful that I'm having more good days than bad now. I leave the house a lot more often now and I've been going to the store with both kids without having an anxiety attack. So I'd call that success!

I'm really looking forward to getting on a better routine for myself now that I'm getting some sleep at night. Such as waking up before the kids and having some "me" time. But I won't lie, I've been sleeping in with the kids as much as I can. Making up for lost time! Seriously though, I forgot what it was like to sleep for 5+ hours at a time. Wooo!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

(Not your average) Mother's Day

As long as I can remember, I celebrated Mother's Day with my Mom and Grandma Julie. I'd sneak in visits and gifts to my mother in law, step mother, aunts, and my Grandma Linn when she was alive. All of these important women in my life deserved to be treated extra special on Mother's Day and I enjoyed acknowledging them for all they have done for me - past and present. 

Then I became a Mother to my very own sweet baby girl and Mother's Day became so much more. Not just because it was my first Mother's Day as a new Mom... but because it brought me to a whole new level of respect, appreciation, and most importantly - love. 

The downfall is that ever since I became a Mom, my celebrations of Mother's Day have changed. Mostly because life happens and secondly because driving two hours one way with an unhappy baby is just not how any Mother cares to spend her special day. Am I right? 

Long story short, this year was the third year in a row I wasn't able to celebrate with the very special women in my life (on my side of the family). Although, I am thankful I was able to spend some time with Michael's family and they are certainly special women in my life. But.. there's just that thing about being with "your Mama" on Mother's Day that makes it that much more special

This year, we are neck knee deep in a remodel on our house that we only work on on the weekends when Michael is home. (And I'm not complaining about that because I want so gosh damn bad to move back into our house!! 4 weeks of RV living and counting! Ain't my first rodeo! Ha!) My Grandpa is currently in the hospital recovering after having a bypass last week and that is where my Mom chose to spend her Mother's Day. Plus, my Grandma Julie was sick.

It didn't even feel like Mother's Day for me and that's what makes me sad. Not because I wanted some sort of special treatment, (pfff... I lie. All I wanted was ice cream and a picture with my kids but we're not talking about that are we?) but because I wanted to be able to give my Mama a kiss and acknowledge more of the lovey ladies in my life.

The best part about my day was sleeping through the night and waking up kid free (both for the 3rd time ever) thanks to my wonderful Mother in law! Oh, and when Mason finally stopped crying and fell asleep snuggling on my chest. Other than that, we were busy living life just as any other Sunday before Michael had to leave for work. Michael finished the floors in the house and install the cabinets. I got A LOT of drywall dust cleaned up. I made Baked Ravioli for supper at my MIL's. Most importantly, I spent time with my babies and embraced their crying tantrums over nothing. 😅

Was that exactly how I wanted to spend my Mother's Day? Not really. Was I disappointed that I didn't "get a break?" Maybe a little. Did I miss my Mom? Lots. But I've learned that Mommin' ain't easy and sometimes you just have to roll with it! I am beyond blessed to be called "Mum" (as Remington says) by my two babies and that's all that matters. 

So there you have it, not your average Mother's Day! 😉  Now a mini photo dump of the only pictures I took on Sunday! 

Main Man checking out the new floors and kitchen cabinets!

I hope you and your families had a special Mother's Day together! God Bless all you Mama's! 

(PS. I think I over used the word "Mother" in this post! LOL!)

Friday, May 5, 2017

You're Invited! LipSense Launch Party!

I apologize for being MIA lately... you know, the whole camper living + house renovations + non stop doctor appointments for ML + never ending exhaustion the last few weeks has me a wee bit tied up!

But all excuses aside, I wanted to stop in really quick to let you all know about my upcoming LipSense Launch Party online via Facebook!

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I am now an Independent Distributor for Sene Gence Cosmetics and Skincare - most popularly known for LipSense! I'm hosting my first "launch" party next week where I'll be offering some discounts and prizes, so "stop by"! If you haven't tried LipSense yet, seriously, your missing out! It's amazing!

If your not on Facebook and would like some more information, to place an order, or to arrange a collaboration - message me! 

"Like" my Facebook page HERE
Event invitation HERE
Follow Beauty that Makes Sense on Instagram HERE

Happy Friday!!! 💋

Thursday, April 27, 2017

House Reno Begins!

Here's a little an update on house:

We've had a lot of showings. We had another contract fall through. We received a low ball offer that we couldn't accept and they just weren't willing to negotiate. The most common feed back is - we love it but... the kitchen is too small. Which is a very obvious problem. Trust me, I've disliked it for many years. However, there IS a way to renovate to make it bigger!

Our listing expired at the end of March. We had decided that we would renovate the house once the listing expired and that way it was off the market during the construction. Our intentions were to make this as affordable as possible since this renovation is strictly for resale purposes.

Michael and I priced most items out that we would need and thankfully, we have family helping us do all of the work. So we had our budget set in mind. At the beginning of the month, we had a babysitter lined up and it was time to bite the bullet! We spent 7 hours in Home Depot that afternoon. Phew. I needed a nap and a stiff drink by time we left there.

Two weeks from making the purchases for supplies (after Easter and pending weather for RV living conditions) we began the renovations! We have a loooong way to go, but we made a lot of progress in one weekend. This is a weekend only project due to Michael's job so it's going to be a little drawn out... but, you gotta do what you gotta do!


Removed hanging cabinets

Removed two walls


Looking "into" the living/kitchen dining BEFORE


Some of the things that will be completed... new white trim/paint exsisting trim white, new hardwood flooring, paint laundry room cabinets white, new knobs on laundry room cuboards, finish dryway, hang new lights, new cabinets and countertop, paint ceiling, paint walls, refinish wood ceiling beam and fire place wood. 

Like I said, we have a long ways to go! But I can't wait to see the end result and hopefully attract a buyer for this house! In the meantime, I'll be living in the driveway in the camper with two little ones.... so send wine. 😉

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Toddler Bed Transition

A couple weeks ago, we made the transition from crib to toddler bed for Remington. Honestly, I wanted to keep her confined to her crib as long as I could (probably for all the wrong reasons). However, she started fighting naps at least once a week and insisting "I seep Mum's bed". Sure enough, every time I gave in to her request, she would go right to sleep. So I started to think that maybe she was just ready for the transition and she didn't want to be confined to her crib anymore. I started to get worried that she may begin attempting to escape and in turn would hurt herself. Not to mention, we are doing a bit of RV living again and I wanted her to be able to sleep in the big bed in the camper.

I spent days researching bed rails for toddler beds. Her bed is a 4 in 1 conversion so we planned on just removing the crib rail and making it a toddler/day bed. The bed rail that goes with her crib was out of stock. And it was $120. Yikes. So I began shopping around for other options. I looked at the mesh bed rails vs an inflatable bed rail vs a foam bed rail. For a few reasons, one being camper friendly, we decided to go with the foam bed rail. It is a half circle made of soft foam which allows her to climb over it or even rest her head on it. The material allows it to stay in place under the crib sheet. It could also be used on any size bed and is even great for travel. Most importantly, the price is on point! I would highly recommend purchasing one if you have a toddler transitioning to a big bed! 

*Note: a crib sheet is very snug and somewhat difficult to put on. A homemade one with extra elastic seems to fit best. Also, due to the snug fit, I put a large waterproof pad underneath instead of a full waterproof crib sheet pad. 

So how did Remington transition?! Excellent! Way better than I anticipated! You know, you hear those horror stories about kids who will not go or stay in their bed all night long... and I already have one kid that doesn't sleep well... so the last thing I wanted to deal with was putting both kids back to bed in the middle of the night!

It wasn't until a couple days later that I caught her out of her bed because "I read". I yelled explained to her that she cannot get out of her bed for anything unless Mama comes to help. Thankfully, she's listened! Every day during nap and bedtime she hops right in bed and we do our night time routine before it's lights out. In the morning, she wakes up and lays in bed until I come get her.

Now we have transitioned from her toddler bed in the house into a "big" bed in the camper. We purchased a second foam roller for the camper and now we don't have to set up a pack n play in her room (which takes up most of the kids room) so that's a plus! Again, thankfully, the transition into the camper went smoothly!

If the smile on her face doesn't speak for itself, I think it's safe to say she loves her "big" bed! 

The next transition will be to add an "okay to wake" clock to her room so she can learn when she's able to get out of bed on her own! Any suggestions or experiences with these transitions you'd like to share?! 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Beauty that Makes 'Sense'!

Friends, I am so excited to share some fun news with you!

I've made the decision to become an Independent Distributor for SeneGence Cosmetics and Skin Care! The company is most popularly known for their waterproof, smudgeproof, kissproof, long lasting LipSense; which is the product that I fell in love with! Mostly because I can kiss my babies without leaving lipstick on them! 

For now, I will be mostly focusing on the LipSense line. Mostly because it is the original company product and the most popular. (Even if your not a lipstick person, you will love the balm or gloss, I promise!) LipSense is loved so much because you put your lipstick on and it stays on! You can eat, drink, kiss, wipe your mouth, and your lipstick doesn't move! Check out this video for a visual!

In addition to LipSense, SeneGence also carries an anti aging skin care line, lash extend, foundation, blush, eye shadow, brush cleaner, self tanning coconut milk, hand cream, and much more!

All products are Vegan, GMO/Cruelty/LED/Wax/Gluten FREE! 

All products are 100% Satisfaction or your money back! 

Made in the USA!

Okay now the real talk... I know these types of businesses "annoy" most people. I whole heartedly do not want to annoy, pressure, or inconvenience anyone! I simply just want to share my experience with using these products with hopes that you will love them as much as I do!

If you'd like to see more info, photos, and videos please stop by my Facebook or Instagram pages! If you are a blogger and would like to set up a collaboration or a review, I'd love to hear from you! 

Again, I'm SUPER excited about this new opportunity and thankful for my friend Sarah for introducing SeneGence to me! I'd love it so much to have your support!

Introducing... Beauty that Makes 'Sense' by Julie Joy! 💋

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter 2017

I'm a little late to the party as usual but Happy belated Easter, my friends! Better late than never, right?! I hope you all had a wonderful day spent with loved ones. We had a very busy day on Sunday and here are a few photos from the fun filled day! 

Mom fail... zero candy in the Easter baskets! 

My little baby bunnies! 

Easter goodies from Grandma

Easter egg hunt with cousins

Attempt #1 for a family photo

Attempt #2 a couple hours later. Ha!

Grandma and Papa Rick

My bunny lovin' Remi Roo! 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

How to dye Easter Eggs with Cool Whip

Happy Easter, friends!

Last year we skipped coloring eggs (pregnant Mama + 1 year old = no thank you!) however this year I was excited to see how Remington liked it! Considering she likes coloring plus getting her hands dirty, I figured she would enjoy this activity and boy was I right!

We did try a "no spill" basic egg dye kit as well as color tablets in coffee mugs/vinegar/water (hello broken eggs) but I'd have to say the cool whip dye was definitely the most fun and toddler friendly! (And edible!)

All you need is an 8oz package of cool whip, a large dish/cake pan, and some food coloring of your choice (I used neon pink, purple, blue, and green).

Spread the cool whip along the bottom of the dish, place drops of each color of food coloring throughout the cool whip (do not place on top of each other), and then slice/swirl with a butter knife.

The concept is to roll the egg from one end of the dish to the other, but I just let Remington do whatever she wanted. She really loved it! Her hands will be stained for a couple days, but it will eventually wear off.

Let them sit on a paper towel for a half hour before wiping them off. Don't rinse them under water, as the color will come off.

Does your family color eggs? If so, what is your favorite way to dye them?!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Links + Loves | Kiddos Edition

One of my favorite things about motherhood is that we are all in this unspoken tribe to support each other plus share ALLLLL of the things we love for our kiddos! Especially the good deals! There really are so many options for toys, books, stores, medicines, etc... and that can be overwhelming at times. I personally really like to hear about the things that others are enjoying or find for a great price! With that being said, here are a few things we love that I thought were worth sharing whether your a Mama, Aunt, Grandma, or you have friends that have kiddos!

3-in-1 Activity Desk - I am throughly impressed with this item! I never knew it existed until R got it as a birthday gift! It sings, counts, spells, asks you to find "x" on the pad, etc. There are many Interchangeable pads that teach so many things (animals, spelling, space, food, body parts, math, etc) as well as the desk top flips up as easel option for drawing. So far Remington is really enjoying it!

**The perfect summer shoe! Seriously, these shoes are everything! Be sure to use a current coupon code to get them for less than $10! Even Remington has loved them and wants to wear nothing but them (literally no clothes just these shoes). You all know my love for Natives... But Old Navy wins the prize on this one (IMO)! The price point and adorable Mary Jane style is irresistible! They also come in a unisex/boy style (that i'll be scooping up once Mason needs walking shoes). They clean up super easy and slid on really well (add some baby powder for sweaty feet). Note: These are seasonal and aren't available in the fall/winter. 

Jellies for less than $5!! - Don't walk, run! Okay,  I really love the above mentioned shoes, but these are a steal! I love that they are soft and not the typical hard plastic jellies. They come in 4 colors. I'll be ordering the other 3 colors soon. 😉

**Nesting & Stacking Blocks - ABC's, 123's, Nesting, + Stacking all in one - for less than $10! The kids got these for Christmas and they love them! They are made of a pretty durable cardboard type material. Only downfall is that ML likes to chew on them and some of the corners are peeling. We have the Mickey Mouse & Friends Set or there are other options here and here.

Piggy Paint - 100% Non Toxic. Tons of colors. Perfect Easter basket gift for a little girl!

Color Bath Drops - R loves these during bathtime! You can mix the colors to make other colors too! I found that they are sometimes cheaper at Walmart than Amazon. Walmart also has them in little packets with 9 tablets for less than $1 in store only (bath section) which is convenient for travel or a small gift.

Food Pouch Toppers - 100% Silicone. Prevents spills. I haven't purchased these yet, but I read about them on April's blog and I think they're genius! I'm looking forward to getting them for ML.

Emergency Personal Protective Alarm - I seen a recommendation on this item off Facebook due to the trend of child kidnapping and human trafficking, which is really bad in our area due to being so close to the border of another country. There is also one that has a human voice rather than just an alarm. Obviously my kids are too young for this, but someday it may be a good thing to have as precaution!

Camilia Teething Relief - A friend of mine shared this homeopathic teething medicine. It does not contain benzocaine, alcohol, artificial flavors, sweetners, or dyes. I love that the servings come in ready to use doses for quick, sterile, and easy use. Even though it doesn't seem like there is any medication that 100% relieves the pain of teething, these definitely have helped us get through some rough nights!

Constipation Ease - 100% vegan and vegetarian, no dairy, soy, artificial flavors, colors, or dyes. Not such a fun "favorite" to be sharing... but I just learned of it and I think it is helping ML! He refuses to eat prunes or drink prune juice... I've tried to give him more water or more fruits and that wasn't doing the trick either. It seems like this supplement is really helping! I add it to his bottle in the morning and shortly after he finishes he has a bowel movement.

Are any of these items favorites in your family? Tell me your current favorites for the kiddos! 

**Blocks \\ **Shoes