5 On Friday

Friday, May 31, 2013

I'm linking up again with these sweet ladies for "5 On Friday" - A. Liz Adventures, Carolina Charm, Hello! Happiness and [the good life blog].  Check them out!

1 - My first week as a stay-at-home-mom was so, so good.  SO good.  I had a clean house all week, laundry is all done for the weekend, and best of all, I was able to spend whatever time I wanted with Hadley without feeling guilty or feeling a pressure that it was time that I would have to make up, work-wise, at some point.  I do find myself at the end of every day asking, "Okay, what did I get done today?" and then going through a checklist of kitchen cleaned, laundry, baby food making, special projects, etc.  My only "downtime" has been while Hadley has been napping and I use that to blog or check FB, or fold laundry and watch Mad Men :)  Otherwise I'm staying busy.  The best kind of busy!

2 - So, my Christmas gift this year:

A Starbucks Verismo, similar to a Nespresso (I think it was designed like the Nespresso but more budget friendly?) Anyway, I was super excited to get this and at first was a little dismayed at the pricey cost of the coffee and espresso pods - $13 for a box of 12 pods.  But now it's just got me ticked off.  First of all, I can't buy the pods locally, so I either have to order them online or drive an hour and a half to buy them.  Second of all, after spending $35 to buy 3 boxes that last for a month and a week - and that's only drinking one cup per day - I just feel like it's becoming a nuisance to keep myself stocked, especially now that I'm trying to lower our unnecessary expenses.  And as much as I love popping the pod in and having my one cup made in 30 seconds, I do sometimes miss a hot pot of coffee brewing and being able to have as many cups as I want!  So....I'm buying a coffee pot ASAP.

3 - There is nothing cuter than a baby in short shorts.  Nothing.  Look at those rolls!  Note to self...I think it's time to clean the carpet, as that rug is supposed to be a light tan, ha!

4 - I'm so sad my TV shows are over for the season.  I got sucked into Hart of Dixie and Nashville, and they're both over until the fall.  In the meantime I've been watching Mad Men, which is about as dramatic as I can take a TV show.  I'm a fan of lighthearted TV watching and reading.  So I'm welcome to any recommendations!

5 - In a couple weeks Chris Cagle is playing a festival not too far from where I live, so I've already arranged for Hadley to have her first overnight stay at her Auntie's so Momma can really enjoy herself!  I'm a big fan of his music....cheesy looks aside (sorry, but he does have a cheesy look, right?  Maybe it's just the photo)

Garden Plantin'

Thursday, May 30, 2013

I got my garden in!  This is a feat, if you want to know the truth, between getting my husband to build the beds and put the dirt in (only because this is his busy time of year with work), and me actually getting the plants in the ground.  However, we got it all done yesterday and I'm really excited to see how it will turn out. Because we only did two 4x8 beds I don't have a ton of room, but I was able to get tomatoes, summer squash, zucchini, one serrano pepper plant (for salsa/guac), and a girlfriend is giving me some onions and garlic.  I have a little bit of room left so I may do a few herbs.  

Here's a shot of the beds (which are NOT in full sunlight, I didn't realize that until after we got the beds filled.  #fail)

And here's my little lady keeping me company.  It was so nice, I was able to put her on a blanket with a few toys and let her play.  She had made her way from her blanket back there to come over by me and would stand and play in the dirt.  That's what summer and being a kid is about, right??

I took Hadley in today for her 9 month check up and though she's healthy as a hog she has another dang ear infection.  To be honest, it's kind of a defeating feeling - I never felt guilty for not breast feeding longer but when you start seeing your baby get sick in what seems to be once a month, you start questioning yourself.  My doctor is so nice about it and just says that it's that time in her life when she will start getting sick as she's exposed to more and doesn't have the inherited immunity to protect her, but still.  So, because we just had the double ear infection less than a month ago we're on Augmentin, which is a stronger medication to treat ear infections.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we don't deal with these repeatedly.

Also, while we were at Walgreens I had the scare of my life with her!  We had been walking through the store waiting on her prescription to be filled, and because she was getting antsy and I didn't have the diaper bag with me I opened up a container of Puffs for her.  We were walking through the aisles and I was feeding them to her, and then went to wait in line to pick up the meds.  As we were standing there she started coughing (while strapped in the cart) and I was patting her back, but then her face started turning red and she started silent coughing, which is the true sign of choking.  HOLY COW, PEE MY PANTS, HEART DROP.  I try to pull her out of the cart in my panic but realize she's buckled in, so I'm fumbling with the straps.  Finally I get her out and she seems to be working it up some but then I see a flash of silver in her mouth and she starts choking again.  So then I am doing the finger-swipe like crazy, or trying to, cause the booger wouldn't let me in there.  At this point people are coming over to try and help me and I have Hadley nearly upside down cause I could see the foil in the roof of her mouth.  One lady said very nicely, "Be careful with her upside down, you don't want to shove it deeper."  Oops.  I did manage to pull the foil out and she was totally fine, but seriously, it shook me up so bad.  I still don't know how on earth she got it but the foil must've come from off the top of the Puffs.  Talk about a heart attack.

Alright, my peanut's up from her nap and is playing on the floor, so I think I'm gonna join her (still loving this SAHM business!)  Cheers to it being Friday tomorrow!


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

This is my first official week as a stay at home (non-working) Mom!  I have to clarify because, if I didn't mention it before, I worked from home while taking care of Hadley.  Yesterday was the first real day and it was such a great feeling to have my mind be exactly where I wanted it: on Hadley and my home.  I had so many moments during the day where I stopped and thanked God that I was finally in this place.  I know that every day won't be so incredibly amazing and we'll have our rough times where I will probably wish I was out of the house, but I really have waited SO long for this time in my life and I plan to make the most of it.

This last weekend was a super busy one - Saturday we spent the day at a local auction.  It was my first time ever going to one, and while it was pretty sad when you thought about a person's whole life all being sold off for bids starting at $1, I did get some great deals on a couple household items that appeared to be unused.  We met the homeowners that Brad is currently building for and it's so funny cause every time I go out to the job to visit Brad, the husband always takes a family photo of us.  So it was no different on Saturday, Steve pulled out the camera :)  I joked with him that the photos he takes of us are literally among the handful of family photos we have....SO SAD -

For the record, we were at this auction early...hence the no makeup and weekender clothing ;) 

How cute is my sweet girl and her Daddy?  I swear I need to start putting her head-to-toe pink, she's called a boy all.the.time
Sunday we drove to Duluth (the big city!) and hit up Sams, and also bought our lawn mower.  I swear, buying a lawn mower ranks around buying socks.  Totally necessary but completely un-fun.

Monday we got lots of work done in the yard.  I'm bummed cause I don't have a very good "before" picture of our house when we bought it, but trust me, we've done a ton of work!  Here is the finished picture:

I still have to paint the flower boxes (the same color as the trim).  We're also planning to paint the porch the trim color...one of my many summer projects!
Yesterday Hadley and I drove to the next big city over so that I could make an Aldi's run - okay, really, the prices there are so crazy cheap - and also pick up some organic produce from a mother/daughter team that sell it for super low prices.  I got apples, kale, spinach, lettuce, avocado, peaches, bananas and frozen butternut squash, peas and broccoli all for less than $50.  Such a great deal!

Today I'm going to buy the starter plants for my garden and hopefully get those planted today.  Pictures tomorrow (if I get it done, ha!)

5 on Friday

Friday, May 24, 2013

I'm participating in a "5 on Friday" link-up with a couple of my favorite blogs, notably Hello! Happiness and [the good life blog].  Check them out!

1 - Garage Sale-ing 
I'm not gonna lie...I used to turn my nose up at garage sales. I just felt like, "I don't NEED to garage sale."  But because of some big life changes recently (more on that next week!) I have changed my tune, and to be honest, I'm wondering why on earth I waited so long to jump into the wonder of garage sales!  I have gotten SO much stuff for Hadley in the past couple weeks that she's probably fully outfitted for summer now.  I've purchased a nice baby monitor to keep at Grandma's for $1, a baby gate for $5, clean, new toys for $3-$4 a piece, little Converse tennis shoes that look brand new for $2....it's amazing.  I will fully admit, I am ashamed of my past attitude and now laugh at people who buy baby toys and other things full price.

2 - Sam's Club
We're getting a membership this weekend and I am so dang excited.  I don't even know why.  We're mainly getting one because Brad takes his lunch every day and let me tell you, it gets expensive buying things the same things at the grocery store every single week (he is totally a creature of habit and has pretty much taken the same stuff for lunch since we've been married.)

3 - Daddy & Hadley

This isn't the greatest picture at all, but seriously, how funny is this?  Most nights I do the bedtime routine with Hadley but last night I had a killer headache and just wanted to take a bath after we got home from church, so I left it up to him.  When I got out of the bath I about died when I walked out to the living room and saw them both asleep in this crazy position (well, crazy for Hadley, not so much Brad, haha).  Not sure how on Earth Hadley ended up like that but she seemed pretty comfortable!

4 - Summer Playlist
Now that summer is finally arriving, I've been creating my "Summer 2013" playlist on Rhapsody.  Here's a few of my picks (yes, I'm a total country music girl):

"Runnin' Outta Moonlight" - Randy Houser
"Tell Me How You Like It" - Florida Georgia Line
"Tip It On Back" - Dierks Bentley
"Pirate Flag" - Kenny Chesney
"In Love With The Girl" - Luke Bryan (okay, pretty much any and all LB songs are on my summer playlists!)
"When She Says Baby" - Jason Aldean
"American Beautiful" - The Henningsens

5 - The Last Day
Today is my last day of work.  I have a post coming up about it, but needless to say, my heart is absolutely bursting at how excited I am to begin spending my days with my sweet girl.  I've waited years for this day - even before I had kids! - and for it to finally be here is almost unbelievable.  I'm so thankful for this blessing, both to God and Brad for giving me the opportunity.

Your 8 Month Old NEEDS These Baby Items!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Now that I have a NINE MONTH OLD...[where has the time gone], I figured it would be a good time to share some of our favorite "must haves" that get us through each day!

1 - Praise Baby Worship Songs
We were given this DVD by my best friend at my baby shower and I kid you not...as a work-at-home Mom, I have needed lots of different things in my Keep Hadley Entertained arsenal.  Now, I know most people are not fans of sitting their baby in front of the TV, but two things: one, I had to do what I had to do and have never felt any guilt about that.  Secondly, this video really is educational - it was developed by a baby psychologist and I really believe it expands their little brains.  Hadley doesn't give two cents about anything that's on TV, ever, but when she hears the opening song on this DVD her little rubberneck is snappin' around to watch it!  Plus I like that they sing little worship songs.

2 - Carters Tank Onesies
Generally speaking, Hadley has lived in nothing but Carter's onesies since Day 1.  I am such a fan of putting her in a little white onesie and leggings, so even though I'm showing you a picture of the tank onesies, I really loved the long sleeved ones as well.  I recently purchased a package of these tank onesies and seriously...I just die seeing her little chubby baby arms in a tank top.  They're also really practical to put underneath long sleeved onesies and shirts on cooler days.  Side note, but I never realized that Carter's products that are sold at WalMart, Target and the Carter's store are different qualities.  The onesies I've bought for Hadley at WalMart are nowhere near as soft as the onesies from the Carter's store!

3 - Ology All in One Soothing Baby Wash & Shampoo
Who knew that Walgreens started carrying an all natural line?  I went in there one day to look for some baby something-or-other for Hadley and saw this soap for $3.99.  Besides the price, the best part is that it has no harmful chemicals or parabens in it.  The scent is Lavender & Chamomile and at first, I wasn't crazy about it, but now I looooove how her little head smells after a bath.  It's the sweetest smell.  Did I mention it's $3.99?

4 - Bob Revolution SE Jogging Stroller
 When Hadley was born we purchased the Britax B-Agile stroller, and while I really loved it for being at the mall or on nice even sidewalks (which we rarely saw either of those things), it just didn't hold up very well on our unpaved roads and uneven city sidewalks.  When she turned 6 months old we decided to break down and buy the Bob Revolution stroller, and though it was mega-expensive (in our opinion), it has been worth every.single.penny.  I would only suggest purchasing this stroller if you plan to run with your child, or live in a place where you don't have access to smooth, nice walking trails and sidewalks.  Some of my favorite things about it are the way it absolutely glides over bumps, how easily it steers with one hand and how it easy it is to push while running.  I am not a huge fan of the storage compartment under the stroller; I feel like it's way too small and hard to get in and out of.  I also wish it came with a more affordable handlebar console for your beverages.

5 - Baby Stacking Cups
These are nothing special, but Hadley loves them!  Really any toy that fits into another or stacks on top of something is super entertaining in her book.  She loves to bang them together.

6 - Nuby No-Spill Cup with Flexi-Straw
When it comes to giving Hadley water, we started out with this Nuby sippy cup but she really never took to the technique it requires to get it out (reminds me of those water packs where you have to bite the straw to get some out?)  It might have also been that she's not yet holding her bottles so she didn't want to tip a cup back to drink from it.  Who knows.  I wanted to get her used to drinking water and not just out of my water glass, so I figured we would give the straw cups a try and lo and behold, she likes them.  It's still a little difficult for her to get water out but she's doing better with it than she was without the straw, so I figure it's just a matter of time.  And anything that doesn't leak works for me.

7 - Fisher Price Walker to Wagon
The toy in the picture above is actually not the one we have, the link will take you to our toy.  They're pretty similar.  Anyway, to be honest, right now toys are just not on her radar.  She's recently mastered pulling up onto furniture and moving anywhere and everywhere, so that's about all she wants to do.  This toy is one of her new favorites, though, because she stand up with it and take steps (every day she gets a little braver walking with it!)  And when she doesn't feel like standing up, she can sit or kneel and play with the toys/gadgets on the front of it.  By the way, I bought her little toy at a garage sale for $2 and it cleaned up like it was brand new.  So I saved us $24 which makes me pretty proud of myself.

8 - Evenflo Modern High Chair
When we were looking for high chairs, we were also starting to look at a better stroller, and the next stage car seat.  So basically, looking at spending LOTS of money.  Because I knew I wanted a good stroller and a good car seat, I decided to go a little more "budget" on the high chair and I'll be honest, I love this chair.  It's not what I would've pictured myself buying, style-wise, but I love it now.  Since we have an open layout, I knew I didn't want a high chair that had cartoons or the typical "baby furniture" colors on it (you know, sage green, maroon, taupe, etc).  Some of the features I really like are that it has a removable tray on the top of the big tray that you can put their food right on and when they're done eating, pop it off, carry it to the trash and clean it up.  The black padding on the high chair is like the foam material they use to make those pool noodles, and they are removable, so the chair cleans up incredibly well.  There is a little bar on the back of the high chair to hang bibs, there's wheels on the bottle front to move it, and there's a little plastic "pommel" that keeps them from tipping out if they're not belted in.  (Not like I ever leave her unattended if she's unbuckled but it would make it really hard for her to fall out with this feature).

9- Plum Organics Super Puffs Greens
FYI, don't buy these from Amazon...they are much cheaper at Target!  We're starting to move out of puffs territory and more to actual foods, but I do still like to use these occasionally.  They're a great size for tiny fingers that are still figuring out their pincer grasp, and they taste pretty good.  We also have given Hadley the Gerber puffs because I'm not sure how meaningful the "organic" label is on a dry good, but I do really like giving these to her cause I've yet to see the Gerber puffs in a "green" variety.

So there you have it!  If anyone has any questions feel free to comment!

ETA: These are not necessarily items solely for an 8-10 month old; just items that we've used in the last couple months!

Bear with me...

Saturday, May 18, 2013

I'm still working on some housekeeping issues around here!  Hopefully pretty soon I'll have the kinks worked out.

This Week

Thursday, May 16, 2013

So!  I had my very first Mother's Day this last week.  It was a beautiful day - sunny and chilly, but we made the best of it.  Brad went and got McDonald's for breakfast (at my request, ha) and him and Hadley came back with some pretty flowers for me.  That morning we went with our church to one of the local nursing homes and delivered flowers and muffins to the mommas - both staff and residents - there.  It was a really special time that blessed many women, myself included, and also made me proud to be a part of a church that takes loving the community seriously.

Later that day we got coffee at the coffee shop and just drove around, which might sound silly but is one of my favorite things to do with Brad and Hadley.  We just drive, look at houses and talk and she usually sleeps :)  We also stopped at a nursery and looked at plants since my Mother's Day gift from Brad is going to be a raised bed garden.  We ended the day with a walk where I made sure to get a picture of me and Hadley...

I will save all the sentimental stuff because I know it's all been said, but really, from the very bottom of my heart, I am just so thankful that God made me this baby's Momma.  My wise stepmom always talks about how God gave us the children He gave us for a reason, just like we got the parents we were given for a reason.  I am always so humbled that God gave me Hadley.  She's my very best girl.

In other news, this girl is MOVING - I can't even begin to count how many times I say, "Hadley, no!" when she tries to pull up for the six millionth time on the TV stand (I have nightmares of the TV falling on her, we're mounting it on the wall soon!) or having to go get her from the other room when she crawls out of eyesight.  This stage is just crazy, I am forever afraid she's going to get into something that she shouldn't and hurt herself or swallow some minute thing on the floor (like one of Brad's itty bitty fishing flies, those things are ridiculously tiny) or lose her balance and hit her head.  But then you go to bed at night and realize that God had to give you grace in there somewhere to not lose your mind over the constant minding of your child.    I know that every stage comes with its ups and downs but I particularly feel that the first month or so of mobility is especially trying on new parents!  Relatedly...I am okay if she doesn't walk til she's 4 ;)

One of her favorite places to perch, the dishwasher -

Couldn't decide which one I liked better...so I posted them both.  Brad always calls her his little 'bear cub'.  I think that's so cute, and so dang fitting. 

Such a happy girl!

Hadley with her Uncle Sam, one of Brad's 4 younger brothers

Her favorite.place.to.stand - the coffee table.  Pretty much any time of any day you can find her in this position :)

I gotta say...I'm happy tomorrow is Friday!  It's been one of those weeks where every day felt like the following day - meaning, all day today I kept thinking it was Friday.  Hate those kind of days...but happy the real deal is here!

When the Thermometer Says 104

Monday, May 6, 2013

It's official: we're dealing with our first ear infection.  Not just one ear infection, but two.  And it seriously came out of left field.

It all started this past Saturday, though over the last week I think there were signs of sickness that I attributed to teething.  (She finally got her 1st tooth, which was exciting but HELLO CRANKY CHILD).  Anyway, Saturday afternoon I had laid down with her to take a little nap and when we woke up I noticed that she felt unusually warm.  I took her temp with the ear thermometer and it said 101.3.  I gave her a half dose of Tylenol and checked it a half hour later, and it was up to 102 degrees.  I gave her the rest of the Tylenol and put her in a lukewarm bath.  She seemed fine in the bath, was playing and generally well-spirited, so we went on with our night.

Because she had been feverish I put her in bed with us so I would know quickly if she was hot, and sure enough, around 5am I woke up to a burning hot baby.  Absolutely burning up.  I didn't even take her temp because I knew it would just scare me and make me run to the ER.  I got her up, gave her another dosage of Tylenol and a little bottle - which she ate - and we went back to bed.

The next morning - Sunday - we woke up and she seemed just fine.  Playful, happy, etc.  We decided it would be okay to go to church, especially because we had missed so much lately due to being out of town.  Around 11:30 she started to get warm again, and by the time we got home she was burning up.  This time I did take her temp using the ear thermometer (side note - I normally use a tiny rectal thermometer cause I don't like the guessing game with ear/digital thermometers, but used the ear thermometer this time).  The temp came up 106 degrees. My blood froze.  We gave her the Tylenol again and I quickly called my best friend who is a Physician's Assistant.  She said to take her temp with the digital thermometer under her arm, which came up 103 (102 + 1 degree).  Still super high but said we could just alternate Tylenol and Ibuprofen and wait until Monday to call the doctor, especially since there didn't seem to be any other symptoms.  In the meantime I decided to throw away the ear thermometer.

Sunday we alternated the meds and by that night she was her happy playful self.  I held off on giving her the next dosage when I put her to bed, hoping the virus was just a 24 hour thing that had passed.  We weren't that lucky, though, and Sunday at midnight we woke up yet again with another raging 103 degree fever.  It had been 24 hours of high, high fevers, but what scared me the most at that moment was her demeanor.  She was almost listless - eyes were a little glassy, she just laid in my arms not looking at me while I rocked her.  That was when I woke Brad up and said that we were going to the ER. I knew he was a little resistant but was also concerned.  We got all dressed and were getting ready to leave and it was like, all of a sudden, the medicine kicked in and Happy Hadley was back.  Her eyes cleared up, she became alert and even started smiling at Brad.  I texted my best friend and she said that we could take her in if we wanted but that if it were her, she would wait until Monday morning.  So because of that, but mostly because of her improved behavior, I said we could wait til  the morning to take her in.  We got back in bed, said a prayer over her, and went to sleep.

At 8am on the nose I called my clinic and got her in for a 10:30 appointment, which was really good because when I got her up, her temp was at 104.  I gave her the Tylenol and we proceeded to have a rough morning full of puking up her bottle, crying, and an unsuccessful attempt at a bath before we finally went to the doctor.  By that time she was in a much better mood due to the Tylenol.  As soon as the PA came in he looked at her ears and sure enough, both were flaming red, according to him.  He wrote her a prescription for the Amoxicillin, which I got filled and administered ASAP!  For the record, she had been pulling on her ears a tiny bit, but she's also done that in the past and it was nothing, so that wasn't really an indicator for me.    One clue that it was possibly her ears was that she hadn't been eating her whole bottle in one sitting - she would break off often.  However, I attributed it to teething.  Also she hated being laid down to change her diaper or clothes and would cry every.single.time.  Both of those things are symptoms of ear issues.

So there you have it, our crazy weekend with a pitiful baby girl.  I do have to admit that I'm proud of myself that I didn't just run her into the ER, which was my fighting instinct pretty much the whole time.  I definitely believe there's a time to do that (if her temp would've gotten to 104 I would've gone in right away), but I tried to use my common sense and trust that those around me - like my best friend who is a PA and a momma of 3 - knew what they were talking about.  And now we won't have to pay an emergency room bill, thank the Lord.

Once we got home from the doctor I stripped her down - it's finally a warm day! - and let her sleep in my arms.  There's something about when they're sick, they seem to sleep much better when they're snuggled up with you (even though it's tough when they're running a fever.  But she wasn't when I took this).

Here's to hoping for better days ahead!

Friday Confessionals

Friday, May 3, 2013

Just gotta keep it real sometimes...
  • I hate texting people back.  Not because I don't want to talk to them, but because I find it so cumbersome on my iPhone.  That, my friends, is the peak of laziness because iPhone is seriously magical in that it can detect whatever word you're trying to say when you type "rpwzkwq"
  • I only wash my hair about every 2-3 days.  It really doesn't get greasy, and the last day I just throw it in a ponytail.  It styles so much better that way.  And since we're on that topic, I hate washing my face at night.  The good news is that I don't wear a lot of makeup most days and when I do it's usually a BB cream so it's pretty light.  But still...
  • I could eat Hidden Valley ranch dressing - the kind you mix up, NOT the kind you buy - by the spoonful.  Along with sour cream.  I always get a little bite in of my Great Value Light Sour Cream whenever I've got it out for something (that is my most favorite sour cream, seriously tastes better than any full-fat, name brand sour cream, no joke)
  • There's been a pile of clothes/blankets/burp rags/sunscreen/headbands/junk sitting outside of Hadley's room for a week now.  Everytime I think to put it away I'm either about to put her down for a nap or bed.  The sad part?  It's four feet from my desk that I set at all day, every day
  • I feel so accomplished when I drink one glass of water in a day.  One. That's how much I dislike it.
  • I love celebrity gossip and can pretty much tell you who most actors and musicians are, along with their current gossip.  Funny cause I don't really even like watching movies or TV shows (except for Hart of Dixie or Nashville, and I really don't follow the celebs on those shows, ha)
Happy Friday!

This Happy Home

Thursday, May 2, 2013

I've got a new design and a new name for the blog - life changes and so it makes sense our blog would change as well, no?!

Welcome to This Happy Home!

SensatioNail Gel Nail Polish Review

There was a time in my life where I would spend serious money on my nails - I would get acrylics, gel nails, pedicures, manicures, etc etc.  Usually it would cost about $50 for a manicure and pedicure, and the sad thing is that I was so happy to do it because there was a certain high in having my nails "done".  It made me feel like, if my nails are done, I can look a little sloppy but still feel "put together".  So every two weeks I would be at the little nail place in my town, dropping my (or probably Brad's) hard-earned money on gussyin' up my nails.

But then we had a baby and though our income didn't change, the belt had to tighten.  I started filtering out the needs vs. wants and realizing that most of my needs were actually wants and they weren't necessary.  (See, this is why I think it's smart to wait a little while to have kids. You can spend what you want, whenever you want prior to kids with little guilt.  Afterwards it just changes things.)  As you can imagine, my $50 nail treatments were a "want" and quickly got cut out.  So now I paint my own toenails (though I will definitely splurge here and there on pedicures) and my own nails, and though they never ever look as good as they would having them done professionally, I'm okay with that because when I do it? It's free.  Free=good.

The gel nail polish popularity is nothing new to me; I've been reading about women getting that done for a while now.  I've had it done at my nail place, and every time they only lasted about a week before I could peel them right off.  It always made me mad to spend the money on something that's supposed to last and then never would.  But then I started reading online about SensatioNail, a gel polish kit that you can do at home.  I almost fell over in the makeup aisle at our little WalMart when I actually saw it on the shelf (our WalMart is TERRIBLE, they only get the most functional, boring items).  I had some Christmas money burning a hole in my purse so I snatched it up that day and let me tell you...it was $50 well spent.

How it Works
It's amazing how simple it is to use the kit.  Here are the steps you follow -

1 - Buff top of nails with file provided
2 - Swipe provided cleanser over each nail
3 - Apply Gel Primer, let air dry (dries quickly)
4 - Apply Gel Base & Top Coat, "cure" under lamp for 30 sec
5 - Apply 1 layer of Color Gel Polish, cure under lamp for 60 sec
6 - Apply 2nd layer of Color Gel Polish, cure under lamp for 60 sec
7 - Apply Gel Base & Top Coat, cure for 30 sec
8 - Swipe cleanser over each nail to remove moisture layer

And that's it.  Each hand takes about 5 minutes and you're done.  I've used it twice now and am always amazed at how quick it is and how nice my nails look afterward.  The last time I did it my nails lasted about 10 days before the outgrowth started making them look a little gross.  At that point I just put cotton balls soaked with nail polish remover on top of my nails, wrapped them with foil and waited 10 minutes to remove the polish.  I had to scrape the polish off after they were done soaking, and I will admit that it does seems a little damaging to do that, but it's the only way to get it off and within a day or so my nails looked and felt fine.

Tips/Additional Points -

  • One thing I'm still trying to figure out is how to get maximum shine on my nails after I wipe off the moisture layer.  This last time they looked dull right after I did that, so I did another thin layer of the Top Coat and cured it for 30 seconds, but I don't think that made much of a difference.  What I've concluded is that they look a little dull right after cleansing but they do "shine up" the next day.  
  • When I first bought the kit they only had about 5-7 color options, which was a bummer.  However, at MY WalMart (miracle of miracles) they had added another 5 or so colors recently, which really excited me.  I purchased the Babydoll Pink, which is what I'm wearing in my photos. 
  • The kit itself is about $50 and they say that it will give you 10 complete manicures.  Not sure how they figure that, guess we'll see what runs out first?  But considering that getting a gel manicure just once in a salon is $30, it pays to buy this and DIY.  The nail polishes are pricey at $9.99.  
  • I did watch a YouTube video that said you can use your own regular nail polishes on it, you just have to let the color coats dry completely before applying the SensatioNail top coat and curing. Though I don't really have the time to dry wet fingernails now that I have an infant that's into everything, it is good to know that it's an option.
  • Putting your hands in water for bathing, dishes, etc doesn't affect the shine at all.  Awesome, right?
  • As you'll see in my pics I didn't trim my cuticles before I applied it and I wish I would have.  It makes a huge difference in how neat & clean it looks, so I advise doing that!

Here's everything you need, from left to right - the Gel Cleanser, Primer, Base & Top Coat and Polish.  Then there's the lamp.

I almost didn't include a picture of my nails because my cuticles are so bad!  And I have a pet peeve of people posting pictures of their nail polish when it clearly is smudged and messy.  But anyway - the polish itself is light, looks shiny, no?

Here's a better pic of how shiny it is.  It looks like this for at least 10 days!
I almost feel silly even saying this cause I only have like 10 people that read this blog, but I was not compensated for providing this review - I just really love this product and think that, if you love having pretty nails but don't want to spend the money on it every couple weeks, this is a great purchase for you!  Let me know if you've done it and loved it or hated it!

Pics from the iPhone

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Totally random, but does anybody else get so happy when you have all the ingredients on-hand to make something you've been craving?  I've been dying for some chicken fried rice lately, and I actually had everything to make it.  You better believe I ate the whole bag of boil-in-a-bag brown rice...

Anyway.  I do have plans to get back to blogging more but for now it's just difficult with home, work and a baby.  Soon!  Until then...here's some pictures from my phone -

Little Miss had a nurse visit for a shot yesterday - always makes me a little sad when she's so happy before she gets the shot.  This is definitely a 'before' photo, though she only cried for a second when she got the shot.  Anyway - how cute is her little outfit??  Lately I've been on a consignment/thrift store kick, and I was able to get that Baby Gap sweater for $4 and the gold sandals for $1.  Winning.  (And do you not just want to eat those little thighs up)

Love, love, love mornings where she sits happily next to her toy basket and just plays.  Momma gets so much done!

We live super close to a grocery store and since last night the weather was beautiful AND cause we have a snow storm on the way (no lie) we decided to take a short walk to pick up bacon and beer.  Haha - no really.  We were grilling burgers and Brad wanted some beer so off we went.  We just shoved the beer in the stroller...keepin' it real!  

Hadley is pulling up on anything she can.  This would be her high chair ...which I also might add was parked right next to my desk cause we were having one of those days.  

I bought that yellow stripe shirt from Baby Gap when I was still pregnant with Hadley and I remember thinking, "Gosh, she probably won't wear this til she's at least 1."  And here she is sporting it at 8 months.  Anyway, we're stripe girls around here.  

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