Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Costume Reveal

Did you take a guess as to what my toddler daughter would dress up as for this Halloween? If you missed it and want to see the guesses made, you can see the options HERE.



If you guessed that Baby Girl chose Mulan as her costume, you were right!!!
I must point out, though, that she has costume dresses of Minnie Mouse, Cinderella and Snow White as well. Although, none of those (with the exception of Snow White) are handmade. We hit the jackpot at a yard sale over the summer. Yes, it's princess dress up heaven in her closet!
Out of the four options to choose from, the Snow White and Mulan dresses were the costumes that received the most picks from readers. These are the two outfits that we have handmade versions of (and we'll show the Snow White one later).

We tie the obi in the back. If we don't, it somehow seems to always end up becoming untied (by itself, of course - no, she didn't untie it!), and I spend the day tying and re-tying the thing for her.

This lovely costume was actually a special request from me at the beginning of the year. I found Pink Mouse Boutique on facebook (which is crazy, because I was really rarely there back then). I saw photos of the awesome kimono dresses made by Karyn. Baby Girl had been watching Mulan (practically once a day for about three months straight), and I asked Karyn if she could make one of her kimono dresses look like Mulan's from the animated movie. She sent me a message with a beautiful photo she had found:

source unknown

She sent me these color swatches:

She helped me with sizing (I ordered it larger, so Baby Girl has plenty of room for growth) and fulfilled my request for 3/4 sleeves. Less than two weeks later, she had the custom dress made and sent me this photo of what was in the mail and on its way to our house:



When it arrived in the mail, it was like Christmas all over again for Baby Girl. Her eyes got so big and she was just in awe to have her very own Mulan dress! She put the dress on, and we did her hair like Mulan too (can you tell in the photos?). And of course, she asked to watch the movie.

Pink Mouse continued to sell this beauty of a kimono dress that we custom ordered (and still does!). Plus, now Karyn makes it as a pantsuit too - with pantaloons and kimono. Take a look (clickable link):


To add to the excellent customer service, I must tell you that just two weeks ago, we lost the obi!!! We looked all over the house for it, but it was no where to be found. She literally wears this outfit almost once a week! I logged in on Etsy and sent Karyn a convo. I let her know that I had purchased the dress a long while back, but we had just recently lost the obi. I told her that this was to be Baby Girl's costume for Halloween, so I needed to order just the obi. Karyn had it in the mail in less than a week! That's right...beyond EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE!!!





So, as far as my Buy It & Try It series goes, this is DEFINITELY a boutique shop offering children's clothing that our family recommends highly. Everything offered at Pink Mouse is handmade with the utmost love, care and attention to detail. The shop is full of clothing and accessories in fun, vibrant colors. And Karyn does absolute wonders with custom requests as well (speaking from experience!). 

Find Pink Mouse here:
Shop
Facebook
Pinterest

So...Did you guess the correct costume for my daughter? =0) What do you think of the Mulan dress on her?




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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Natural Stuff We've Tried for Eczema

Just a few more things that we wanted to share with you that might help with eczema...


Aloe Vera Plant

The aloe vera plant has soothing, healing properties and has been used for many years for burns and minor wounds. To use it, just snap off a leaf from the plant and squeeze out the clear (maybe tinted with a hint of green), gel-like substance and rub it on the skin.



This plant is also really easy to grow. It doesn't need much water or sunlight (and from experience from a person who is NOT good with plants, it's a plant that's very hard to kill - trust me, it survived ME). When applied, it does have an odor, but it's not very strong. Sometimes during a flare up, the aloe vera will actually make my skin more itchy after rubbed in. I think this is because of the way that it dries. I'm not sure. But I can use it in between flare ups to help with dry, flaky skin. The coolness of the gel from the plant is really soothing and helps calm the itch a little bit.



Oatmeal
Uncooked oatmeal has been found helpful for its anti-itch properties. You can add some oatmeal to a bath (as is, or you can also grind it up finely with a blender or food processor), and it will help with the itch and soothe the skin. Hot water is irritating, so keeping bath water lukewarm is best. And be careful when getting out of the tub, because the oatmeal can make it slippery.
Using oatmeal does not work all the time, but when you're so super itchy and it seems nothing will help, give it a try. There are lots of lotions and creams for eczema now that contain colloidal oatmeal (this is the name for the finely ground oatmeal).

A couple of other natural remedies that we've tried:

Chamomile Baths and/or Compresses
Boil dried chamomile flowers and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Strain it and add to lukewarm bath, then soak in the bath for 10 minutes. Or, if you don't want to add it to a bath, use the strained homemade chamomile tea and soak a clean cloth in it. Wring out the cloth and apply to affected area and leave on for 10 minutes.
Chamomile is said to help soothe pain, reduce inflammation and calm the skin. Honestly, this didn't work for my son at all. I think it's because he might be allergic to the flower! But we did try this, and it might very well work for others, so we thought we'd give it a mention.

Changing Your Diet
Back when my son was an infant, we found that he had multiple allergies. He was allergic to cow's milk, soy, and tons of other things. That meant, at first, that I had to change my diet (I was nursing). Even after changing my diet, though, there was very little improvement. We ended up having to ultimately give him Enfamil Nutramigen baby formula, and he was on a pretty strict diet for quite awhile until he grew out of some of his allergies.
Now that I've been diagnosed with eczema too (and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere any time soon) and Baby Girl has it, our family will be trying to adjust our diet and get back to more fresh fruits and vegetables. It's healthier that way anyway. It's how it should be. I'm even starting to collect more gluten free recipes as well, because it could help. We don't know until we try (again). We attempted to go gluten free before, but it didn't help much with my son (nothing really did) and were happy to give it up. It can be expensive! We'll give it another shot, because we've got nothing to lose. Why not? If you have any gluten free recipes to share with me, please do! 

We've tried SO many other things, but these are what we chose to share for now. If you missed the post on Natural Stuff We Love for Eczema, be sure to check it out here.




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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Meet & Greet Blog Hop #49

Welcome to this week's Meet & Greet. Thanks for visiting, and we hope you have a blast! It will be Halloween soon. For those of you that celebrate the spooky holiday, we so say...
Interested in being a Co-Host?
Send an email to 2justByou(at)gmail(dot)com with "Co-Host" in the subject line for consideration and include your blog link! We're scheduling for Dec/Jan right now and would love to have you join us.
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Spread the Word,
Grab Our Button!
Now Link Up and Have Fun!
Tell me what your Halloween plans are in a comment.
* Please be sure to follow the Hosts, and Co-Hosts (co-hosts change weekly).

If you would like to sign up for email reminders for the Meet & Greet Blog Hop, please sign up below. (Your email address and info will not be used for any other purpose.)





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What to Be for Halloween

Halloween is how many days away?


We're not ready! We're just not ready. 
I have no idea what the kids will be for Halloween yet. Yes, this year we are totally last minute.

I do know what Baby Girl will be dressing up as, though. She has many dress up costumes (many of them are of the Disney variety), but she's set on one in particular. I'm not going to spoil the fun. I'll reveal her costume with photos later. For now, I'll just say that we got her costume from Etsy.

I did a round up of some Etsy sellers offering lovely Disney costumes. I'll share them with you here, and you can take a guess at which one Baby Girl will be wearing for Halloween!










So, which one do you think my Baby Girl will wear? Leave your guesses in a comment! =0)

Are you dressing up for Halloween? What are you wearing? If you have any ideas for what my boys should be, I need all the help I can get!







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Monday, October 28, 2013

Natural Stuff We Love for Eczema

We've tried so many things for my son and his eczema. Seriously. We've tried high-end products, low-end products, and almost everything in between including natural salves, herbs and remedies. No matter what we do, we always have to rotate what works, because nothing works for an extensive period of time. 

Today I'm sharing some stuff we love for eczema. First up, I'll show you some really good natural care products.

Let me just say, "Coconut Oil...I Love You."


A few months ago, a friend suggested we try some organic coconut extra virgin oil. I had heard of coconut oil before and all its great uses, but I had not yet purchased it to try. It has many uses for cooking, baking and personal beauty & health too (I might do a future post on this).



I bought a large jar from Sam's Club, and I put a couple of spoonfuls into a little metal jar (makes it easy to dip in and apply on the skin). I love the way it smells (I'm a big fan of coconut), and it rubs into the skin really easily. Plus, a little goes a long way (always nice). However, it does leave a greasy feel. The benefits outweigh the greasiness, though.



Next up is this Eczema Repair Serum from Crimson Hill. This is a specially formulated serum that Angie made specifically for moderate eczema. If you want to try some, you need to request it as a custom order. It's a liquid serum with all natural ingredients - intense & potent, in a good way. Again,as with the coconut oil, a little of this stuff goes a looooong way, and it's GOOD STUFF! The tea tree oil in it can be a bit strong, so Angie adds just a dab of essential oil to mask the strong scent. 


Eczema Serum
This two-ounce jar lasts a very long time, and it fights off infection really well (from our experience). My son is infection-prone, because his skin is often broken (with open sores). The serum can be applied to the broken skin. It's soothing and dry, irritated skin just soaks it up.

If you have only mild to moderate eczema, Crimson Hill's Dry Skin Repair Balm will be just what you need. We use this on the skin in between applications of the Eczema Serum. The balm is great for any skin type, though - not just eczema. It literally melts into the skin when applied. This is one that we like to keep with us at all times.



We'll be sharing some more of our favorites later in the week, so stay tuned!



How was your weekend? What do you use for dry skin?

* Disclaimer: This is a non-sponsored post. We are merely sharing a few products that have worked for us and that we like to use. 



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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Halloween Treats

What's your favorite treat for Halloween? We made some Cake Balls because we hadn't made some of those in a long while. We went with chocolate cake and orange shell (black & orange) with Halloween colored sprinkles. 

Our Halloween Sprinkle Cake Balls

Sometimes the kids don't like the layer of chocolate, so we also made what we call "Naked" Cake Balls and "Naked" Cake Pops too. Fun stuff!


I was looking for some fun healthy Halloween treats to make as well, and these are a couple of my favorite finds.






Which healthy treat should we make this week? Do you have a favorite treat to make for Halloween?





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Friday, October 25, 2013

Blogger Opportunity

Today I'm sharing a blogger opportunity. A fellow blogger is holding an upcoming giveaway event and would love a few good bloggers to join in on the fun. Keep reading for more info if you're interested. =0)





To celebrate the launch of the new Monster Mixer
Mamamusing is hosting an iTunes Giveaway (minimum $50)
FREE Link with Announcement (Twitter or Facebook)

Deadline for Sign Up: October 28
Giveaway Dates: October 31 to November 19
Co-Host $10
(up to 5 links, daily comment, rafflecopter)

Follow Page $8
(only $5 for co-hosts!)
Extra link $1.50
(Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Bloglovin or Email subscription, YouTube subscription)

Sign Up Here

_________________________________

And just for fun, here's something from our shop today. =0)


Buy the necklace shown above today, and we'll donate the entire purchase price to help spread awareness about Eczema for Eczema Awareness Month.

Happy Friday, everyone!
Do you have any fun plans for this weekend?




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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Super Soft Pumpkin Pie Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies {Recipe}

One week ago, I pinned a pumpkin cookie recipe by Nicole from Life with my 3 Boys. As I write this blog post, it's already gotten over 75 re-pins. It looks like an awesome soft cookie recipe. I wanted a pumpkin pie taste in the cookie. And I just had to add some milk chocolate chips! I found a good looking recipe at Very Best Baking. Plus, I actually prefer them without the icing. Nicole (& Very Best Baking) made a vanilla glaze icing, but I'm going to include a cream cheese variety for you (it's pretty tasty paired with the pumpkin pie flavor).



Ingredients you'll need:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or margarine, softened (2 sticks)
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (you can also use 1 can pure pumpkin, 15 oz)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips (you can use semi-sweet chips instead)

For the glaze (this is my go-to cream cheese frosting/glaze):
1/2 cup butter, room temperature (1 stick)
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract



DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven  to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease cookies sheets or use parchment paper (I use parchment paper).

2. In medium bowl, combine the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In large bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in the pumpkin puree, eggs and vanilla extract. Gradually add the flour mixture until combined. Fold in the milk chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoon (tablespoon for larger cookies) onto your prepared baking sheets.

3. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Cool on the baking sheets for about 2-3 minutes, then remove to cool completely on wire racks.

4. Drizzle (with piping bag, or spread with spatula) the cream cheese icing and let set at least 10 minutes.



For the glaze:
Mix butter and cream cheese together until smooth.
Add vanilla extract and mix until combined.
Slowly add the powdered sugar little by little until you get the consistency that you desire. 

* We spread the icing on, but I think it would be MUCH better drizzled. Next time, I'm going to drizzle it over the cookies instead. We also like these cookies without the icing, because they're SO good anyway.

** Make your own homemade pumpkin puree (Yonca is Cooking shares how).

Have you tried Pumpkin Cookies before? 
These are super soft and oh-so-yummy! I really like them with the chocolate chips, but they would be good without them too. =0)



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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Words for my Wednesday

October is a month full of great awareness issues. By being aware of such important issues, we have the ability to grow as well-informed people of society. Growth is a great thing. Continued learning is a great thing. Awareness is powerful.




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This month, you can spread awareness about the following causes:




This week is "Stand UP for Others Week."
Click HERE to read more info.

Thank you for helping me support these great causes by letting me post about them throughout the month. Spread awareness and share this post. Pin it, +1 it on GooglePlus, tweet it, or post to facebook. Together, we can make a difference.



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