Hudson’s 22 month update

Wow I am SO late getting this one done!  I think we’re nearly halfway through his 23rd month already.  Oops.  But for the sake of my own record keeping I’m going to go back and do his 22 month update now.


I haven’t measured or weighed him in months (#momfail) but he’s fitting better into his 24 month clothes (at least in pants, he still wears quite a few 18 month shirts) so he’s definitely growing.  I’ll do my best to measure him for his 23 month update but if not at least we’ll get a measurement at the doctor in January!  Ha!


They’re all in!  Well, he still has several molars to get over the next few years but all of the teeth that he should get within the first two years are here.  Hopefully we’ll get a break between now and when his “2 year” molars (which can come anywhere between 2 – 3.5 years from what I’ve read) come in.


I could not even begin to list all the words he’s started saying.  The last couple of months have brought a huge amount of new vocabulary.  A few words that I wrote down this month include

  • happy
  • baby (he used to just sign baby, now he says it and signs it)
  • water (again, another one he used to only sign), which sounds like “wateee”
  • sorry
  • potty (he’s not interested in going potty quite yet but he likes to talk about it)
  • fork
  • paci
  • outside

He has also started saying quite a few two-word phrases like “all gone”, “right here” (as he points vigorously to where he wants you to set his food or to sit down), “aww man”, “oh me”, “need help”, etc.

This month he started calling me Mommy instead of Mama.  We’ve always referred to ourselves as mommy and daddy but for a long time he could only say mama.  Now he calls me mommy and believe me…I hear that a bazillion times a day ;).  So sweet though!

I know some people express concern about using sign language with babies and say that it’ll make them late talkers.  I can’t speak for all children but for us 1) sign language was a huge help for communication before Hudson could talk and 2) he is talking up a storm now!  He uses less sign language than he used to but he still uses it some, often in conjunction with the spoken words.


He’s still a good eater but definitely opinionated about what he wants to eat.

We are pretty strict about what he eats and try to keep it pretty healthy so he’s had very little sweets and junk so far.  However, this month he experienced his first taste of coke!  It was a total accident…Michael had a Sonic cup sitting out on the table, apparently a little too close to the edge, and while we weren’t looking somehow Hudson got it off without spilling it and was just standing there sipping on the straw.  Of course it’s definitely not my preference that he drink coke but it was pretty hilarious that he got it, the little sneak!

Enjoying some oatmeal at Panera.  2015-11-18_10.09.14 copy2015-11-18_10.09.09 copy

new stuff

We all got colds this month and Hudson started mimicking how we blow our noses.  He would go to the tissue box, get out a tissue, hold it up to his nose, “blow”, and then take his tissue to the trash can.  It was pretty cute until he started doing it over and over again and wasting a bunch of tissues!  Ha!

He has started to show just a little bit of interest in the potty.  Like I said earlier he knows the word potty, points to the bathroom door, announces to everyone if he knows we are going potty (oh how I love having my business announced – ha!), etc.  He loves to help us flush the toilet and close the lid and he’s definitely not afraid of the toilet as of right now.  He has not actually shown an interest in he himself using the potty but I’m not at all rushing it!  There was one day that he was kind of tugging on his diaper and I asked him if he needed to use the bathroom; he said “yes” so we went and sat on the toilet.  He didn’t go but he didn’t cry either (we’ve sat him on the toilet before his bath a few times and he didn’t like it.

We’re not planning to formally potty train any time soon since he’s not even two yet but I think it is a good sign that he’s showing a little bit of interest and understanding.  I think we’re going to get some potty training things (like a seat to go on the big toilet and a small potty chair) for him for Christmas just to let him start getting used to the idea.


Well our BIG adventure this month was Hudson’s first haircut!  I was dreading it big time because I loved his sweet little curls plus I knew that cutting them off was going to make him look so much older.  But he did great during the actual haircut – sat in the chair by himself watching Bubble Guppies and basically didn’t even notice that anything was going on around him.  He didn’t want to wear the cape but other than that he did wonderful.  I did pretty well myself and didn’t shed a single tear.  I did save his curls in a baggie though!


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I was right, he looks so much older now!  But, he looks a lot better too.  I mean, even before the haircut I could easily admit that it was a mullet and needed to be cut but looking back?  Whew…it had gotten a bit crazy there ;).  And he didn’t lose all of his curls either, it’s still fairly wavy, especially right after a bath.  Plus it’s a lot less knotted and snarled all the time; it just looks and feels healthier.

Before Halloween we went to a local pumpkin patch with some of our playgroup friends.  It was pretty picked over but Hudson had a blast running around and looking at all the pumpkins!

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They had a corn pit area for the little ones and we spent a long time there.  Hudson wasn’t too sure about it at first and stayed right at the edge, not really wanting to touch the corn, but after a bit he got comfortable and had a good time scooping and pouring.2015-10-30_10.55.08 copy2015-10-30_11.23.29 copy2015-10-30_11.24.12 copy2015-10-30_11.24.14 copy2015-10-30_11.26.07 copy

The day before Halloween we went to our church’s trunk or treat and then on Halloween night we handed out candy at our house.  You can see a full recap and all about our mad scientist costumes in this post but I’ll share a few pictures here too.

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In addition to going to Chattanooga for a week we also went to Nashville for a couple of days while Michael had a training.  One day while Michael was at work Hudson and I went and played with some friends of ours who have twin boys just a few months younger than Hudson.  The other day we went to Opry Mills mall and hung out there.  They have a pretty nice play place at Opry Mills that’s appropriate for toddlers so we spent a good long time in there.

At first he was really hesitant and stayed right with me but after we’d been there 15 minutes or so and he’d watched the other kids play he finally ventured off and started climbing on one of the objects then later moved to another one.  I was so proud of him for getting out there and playing since he’s usually pretty timid about that kind of stuff!

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Other stuff

This sweet boy LOVES to be read to most but sometimes he’ll sit and look at books on his own and it’s just adorable.

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He’s so good about “helping” me clean and do chores around the house.  I was wiping down our fridge and he decided to grab an oven mitt and give me a hand (literally).  Precious.2015-10-28_11.45.45 copy

We got this Bible quiet book for his first birthday but he hasn’t really been old enough to actually “play” with it (other than wanting to throw the pieces everywhere) until very recently.  Now he loves it!  It’s got all kinds of neat, interactive pages.  It keeps him occupied for a pretty good amount of time during church.2015-11-15_18.08.24 copyAlways gotta have ruffles!
2015-11-17_21.00.59 copyHe went with me for a couple of hours to do a last minute vendor event and I was amazed at how well he did!  He sat in the stroller for a long time just playing with his stickers then eventually I had to put him on my back to keep him contained but he did great.2015-11-21_09.59.55 copyTrying hard to pick up the heavy box of orange!

2015-11-23_08.09.26 copyA sleeping child is just one of the most peaceful, beautiful sights in the world (and NOT just because that means I get a break…although that’s part of it lol!).  So precious. 2015-11-15_07.28.49 copy2015-11-15_13.15.35 copyI’ll be back with another update in just a few weeks…the last one before he turns TWO!  *sniff*

Chattanooga vacation

We didn’t do a huge vacation this year but we did get to go on a little one and it was super fun!  Michael had a four day work training in Chattanooga, TN so we went down a few days early and turned it into a mini vacation.

Some friends of ours recently moved to Chattanooga and they have two kids just a little bit older than Hudson so we enjoyed getting to spend some time with them and the kids enjoyed getting to play together.

Our “big” adventure while we were there was going to the Aquarium.  Hudson LOVE fish…loves to watch Finding Nemo and Bubble Guppies, loves to read books about fish, look at pictures of them, talk about them, etc. so I was so SO excited to take him to see tons and tons of fish!  I had been looking forward to this for months!

Of course, I know how he is with animals…loves to talk about them, totally terrified of them in real life…so I was not sure how he’d like seeing actual fish.  As I suspected he was not a bit thrilled for the first few minutes but the longer we were there the more he warmed up to most of the fish (as long as they weren’t super huge).

This picture was the very first tank we saw…he was clinging for dear life and did not like the fish at all!


It didn’t take too long for him to get over it though!

IMG_1047I was surprised to see that Hudson seemed to really liked the turtles and alligators/crocodiles more than the fish!  That’s what he talked about more than anything.IMG_1058IMG_1059

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The butterfly garden was a hit!IMG_1060IMG_1066IMG_1068It’s hard enough to get good pictures in a dark aquarium but to get a good picture of a not-very-still toddler in an aquarium?  Forget it.  At least, not with my unfancy camera and very little camera skills.

But I did get one pretty good one – I just love seeing the wonder on his face.IMG_1074

This is one of those blurry ones I was referring to but I had to post it anyway…check him out kissing the glass!  Hilarious!  It’s no wonder he came down with a nasty cold just a couple of days later though…IMG_1080IMG_1082

I think the jelly fish are my favorites.  I love watching them – they are so beautiful and fascinating!  IMG_1078IMG_1076

I *thought* my camera battery was fully charged before we left for our trip but apparently I was wrong and it died after the Aquarium.  Since I hadn’t packed my charger (what was I thinking??) I had to use my iphone for the rest of the trip to take pictures.  Bummer.

Chattanooga has a small zoo that we went to one day.  Hudson HATED it.  He was scared of almost all the animals.  This is actually the only decent picture I got of him that day because he was clinging to me most of the time (plus Michael was at work and it’s hard for me to take pictures while also trying to wrangle Hudson).

When I took this picture he was watching the big tortoises walk around and it was probably the happiest he’d been all day…at least until one of the tortoises walked a little too close to where we were standing and Hudson got scared again.  Sigh.  Silly boy!
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We discovered what I think is my new favorite place in Chattanooga – the Creative Discovery Museum.  It is a museum that is geared toward children and it’s amazing.  It had tons of fun, kid-friendly exhibits (no way could we have gotten through it all in one day)!

Hudson was not a fan at first, especially since we started at the dinosaur exhibit where you can play in a sand pit and “dig” for bones.  He did not enjoy the sand on his feet!  But the longer we were there the more he warmed up and started playing.

There was one cool section that is specifically for little kids, babies up to about age four.  We spent quite a long time in there playing.  There was a car, a construction area, a train table, a kitchen/house section, a garden, a slide…all kinds of fun, toddler friendly things to do.  I think Hudson would have stayed in there all day!2015-11-05_09.49.22 copy2015-11-05_09.58.58 copy2015-11-05_10.09.46 copy2015-11-05_10.28.14 copy

The top floor of the museum has rotating exhibits that I guess change out every few weeks or months.  The one that was there while we visited was a nutrition exhibit that had all kinds of play food, fruit “trees”, a farmer’s market, a kitchen, and more.  Hudson really enjoyed that area too!

The whole museum was amazing – they had parts where kids could do crafts, activities that had to do with building and engineering, a library area where you could sit and read, a water play area, and I am sure a ton more because we didn’t make it through the whole thing.  I highly recommend it!

Outside they had another favorite of Hudson’s…a big tank of bubbles.  He loves bubbles!2015-11-05_11.04.51 copy2015-11-05_11.09.30 copy

It was a pretty short and sweet visit but it was still super fun!

pregnancy #2 update – 30 weeks

How far along – 30 weeks.  How am I in the third trimester already??

Doctor updates – My last appointment was about a week and a half ago and everything looked great.  Parker’s heart rate was good (I don’t remember the exact numbers but in the 150-160 range) and he was quite active kicking the monitor while the nurse tried to listen.  My blood pressure was also good, 110/60 I believe.  I’ve mentioned before that I have no idea what those numbers actually mean but my doctor is all like “oh that’s REALLY good” so I’m like…oh good, thanks ;).  Ha!  I’ve always had good blood pressure so I’m not sure what the fuss is about but I think it’s because some women have high blood pressure issues in pregnancy and that can be really dangerous.  So I guess that’s why they check it every time and are very pleased when it’s good.

Symptoms – Some back pain, especially if I’ve been on my feet all day or cleaning the house, but it has lessened from what it was after I fell a few weeks ago.

We went to Chattanooga for a week and did lots of walking (and eating not-very-healthily) and I had some swelling in my feet and ankles by the end of the day each day.  However, other than occasional swelling like that it hasn’t been a big issue yet.

I have lots more pains in my belly than I did when I was pregnant with Hudson – usually when turning over, laying down, going on long walks, that kind of thing.  It’s nothing super painful or severe, just kind of bothersome.…

Weight/belly – I’m avoiding the scale at the moment ;) but my belly is definitely big!  Hudson and I have been going on walks every day for the last week or so and thankfully my back, feet, and knees haven’t been hurting so I hope to continue that as long as the weather is good enough for us to be outside.  I definitely feel better when I get a little exercise each day!

Apologies for the not-so-great picture.  I usually try to get a good one with the big camera when I’m dressed in “real” clothes, but with it getting dark nearly before Michael gets home from work to take the picture we just haven’t gotten it done so it was a random bathroom selfie in my workout clothes or else I’d never get this post written ;).

30 weeks

Movement – Lots!  And I can see my stomach move quite a bit.  I remember being able to feel Hudson’s kicks from the outside of course, but I don’t specifically remember being able to see all the kicks and rolls and movements.  But this time around I can definitely see my belly jump and wiggle.  Kind of weird.

Food cravings – Not really anything right now.  I’ve been wanting sweets a lot more than I had for the majority of this pregnancy so I’m trying to have some self control and not eat tons of them.  That’s hard with the holidays coming up!

Food aversions – None.

Sleep –Sleeping definitely requires several pillows now, especially one under my belly to prop it up and it’s annoying to have to rearrange everything when I wake up in the night to go to the bathroom or turn to the other side.  More often than not I wake up feeling a bit stiff in the mornings.  I slept great with my last pregnancy up until the very last few weeks so it’s been a bummer to already not be sleeping that well with this one.

Thoughts – We’re less than 3 months away from meeting this little guy!  So crazy!  It’s time to get myself into gear and start really thinking about what baby things we need to get, working on having freezer meals made and ready to go, rereading my birthing materials from my childbirth classes with Hudson, registering at the hospital – lots to do!

homemade peppermint hot chocolate with whipped cream

homemade peppermint hot chocolate with homemade whipped creamThis amazing hot chocolate has been my current obsession and one of my few pregnancy cravings.  It’s rich, chocolatey, peppermint-y, and delicious!  It takes a few extra minutes to make this versus heating up some water and adding a packet of the store-bought stuff but boy is it worth it!

You will need milk, sugar, cocoa, and vanilla for the plain hot chocolate (and a little water, which I didn’t show).  If you want it to be peppermint flavored then you’ll need some peppermint essential oil too (I use Young Living).  And for the whipped cream you’ll need heavy whipping cream and sugar, plus a mixer (I guess you could do this by hand but I can’t imagine how tired your arm would be!)

homemade hot chocolate with whipped cream ingredients

I highly recommend going with the Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa (or your preferred brand, as long as it’s dark) because this recipe is sweeeeeet and the dark chocolate cuts the sweetness better than using the regular baking cocoa.

Hershey's special dark cocoa

To make the hot chocolate I use this recipe:


  • – 1/2 cup sugar
  • – 1/4 cup cocoa
  • – 1/3 cup hot water
  • – 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • – 4 cups milk
  • – Young Living peppermint essential oil


Stir together the sugar, cocoa, and water in a saucepan.  Heat on medium until it boils, stirring frequently.  Boil and stir for two minutes.  Add milk, stirring frequently until it reaches the desired drinking temperature.  Remove from heat; add vanilla extract and peppermint oil.  The amount of peppermint oil you use depends on how strong you want the peppermint taste.  I find one to two drops for the whole recipe to be plenty; some people prefer one drop per cup so start small and see what you like – you can always add more!

This makes a lot (obviously… since it uses 4 cups of milk) and it’s very rich so usually one mug hits the spot!  I store the leftover in a mason jar in the fridge and be warned that it separates when it cools so make sure to shake/stir it up good.

hot chocolate

To make the whipped cream:

You’ll need 1 Tbsp sugar for every 1/2 cup of whipping cream that you use (I usually do one cup of whipping cream at a time so I use 2 Tbsp sugar).  Whip the cream and sugar together in a mixer (I use a KitchenAid stand mixer and mix it on 6 or 8) until it thickens.

Since I’m using this on top of an already peppermint flavored drink then I leave the whipped cream plain.  However, you can absolutely add a drop (or more) of peppermint oil to make peppermint whipped cream (or cinnamon bark for cinnamon whipped cream or a citrus oil for citrusy whipped cream…how good would those be on some pancakes?  Yum.)

homemade whipped cream

You can stop there and have yourself a delicious treat of peppermint hot chocolate or you make it into a mocha if you’re a coffee person.

Now, if you’re a *true* coffee person you might not want to read this.  I like coffee but very rarely drink it and I am by no means a coffee connoisseur so what I’m about to suggest might be shunned by hard core coffee folks….

I just add a spoonful of instant coffee to my hot chocolate to make it into a mocha.

homemade peppermint mocha

If the thought of instant coffee makes you shudder maybe you could brew some strong coffee and do partial milk/partial coffee when you make the hot chocolate recipe?  I’m really not sure how that would work but it’s worth a try!  But for me I just add that scoop of instant and go on about my day ;).

This hot chocolate is SO GOOD!  And perfect to curl up with on a chilly night (now if only it would actually get cold and stay cold around here…)


An explosive Halloween (aka how to DIY a mad scientist costume)

IMG_0989I absolutely loved our Halloween costumes this year!  I think family/themed costumes are so fun so as long as Hudson will let me get away with it I’m going to do them ;).

We knew that Hudson just HAD to be a mad scientist this Halloween so we could take advantage of his already super crazy hair.  It was the perfect costume, you know?  Plus it was super easy to a costume for both him and us.

I mean…how adorable is this??toddler mad scientist halloween costumeWe actually got to get dressed up twice – once for our church’s Trunk or Treat event and then again for Trick or Treating on Halloween.

For Hudson’s costume we put him in just some khakis, his Converse tennis shoes, a collared shirt, and a bow tie (with mismatched patterns of course, as any legit mad scientist wouldn’t have time to match).  His lab coat was actually a doctor coat that my grandmother made for my brother when he was little.  My mom still had it in the attic and it was perfect for his outfit!  Plus it kept us from having to buy a toddler sized one.

His glasses were some Harry Potter-ish glasses that we bought for his newborn pictures.  Amazingly he left them on most of the night and didn’t seem bothered by them like I expected.  I teased and hair sprayed his hair a bit to make it stand up even more than normal and then used some eyeshadow around the outline of his glasses to look like something blew up in his face.

I thought he might get upset about the makeup but he didn’t care at all.  He looked a little startled when he first looked at himself in the mirror but other than that he didn’t seem to notice.

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For Michael and myself we just dressed normally and then borrowed lab coats from a friend who works in the medical profession.  I teased and sprayed my hair and used bobby pins and clips to make it stand out everywhere.  We did the grayish makeup on our faces too and I wore some “geek” glasses I had.  We also wore ear plugs.  Very simple and all things we owned or could borrow!

A friend took this at Trunk or Treat and I love it so much!  It’s just hilarious!

mad scientist family halloween costume

Our costumes must have paid off because we won “funniest” costume.  Hudson liked our trophy!


I didn’t get a good picture of our trunk but we mostly just hung up a bunch of biohazard/radioactive/caution-type signs in the trunk.  Our show stopper were these ghost bubbles that Michael made.  I think he found the how-to online, but basically you use dry ice and bubble solution to make these cool bubbles that look all ghostly and release the gas when the pop.  It was very neat!

Here’s a similar demonstration on YouTube:

Hudson loved handing out candy to the kids who came around to our trunk and would keep putting piece after piece in their bag if they stood there long enough!  He was quite the generous candy giver!  Ha!  He did not like going around to the other vehicles and getting candy though.  I tried to take him to the other cars but it made him cry so we gave up.

We had some other games too but he didn’t do so hot with them – hard to explain to a toddler that they only get to toss a ball or go “fishing” X many times before they have to give someone else a turn!


One of our friends brought their dog and y’all know how Hudson feels about animals…lol!  Totally giving her the side eye in this picture!


The next night, Halloween, we got dressed up again to hand out candy to trick or treaters.  We knew Hudson couldn’t care less about going around to the houses so other than taking him by to show off his costume to the neighbors on either side of us we just stayed home and handed out candy to whomever came by.

The weather wasn’t too cold so we set up in the front yard so we could watch all the activity (not that there was tons…we live in a pretty secluded neighborhood so we don’t get a lot of trick or treaters).

IMG_1014IMG_10232015-10-31_16.09.48 copyHudson had fun handing candy out to our trick or treaters and then just running around in the yard and playing or trying to pick up our pumpkins.

IMG_1034IMG_1039It started raining and got cold and we ran out of candy so we packed it up, went to Chuy’s for some supper (still fully in costume lol!), and then came home to watch the Vols stomp the Cats.

It was a great Halloween!


What were you and/or your kiddos for Halloween?  I’m already brainstorming for next year…I’ll have to find something perfect for an almost 3 year old and his 9 month old baby brother.  Oh my!

how to clean your stainless appliances naturally

how to clean your stainless appliancesWe’ve lived in this house for three years and in three years I have not found anything that will clean all of our many stainless appliances…until now!

Stainless kitchen appliances are beautiful in theory but I would have never picked them for myself.  They were already in the house when we bought it and in pretty new/good condition so we haven’t had any reason to replace them.  They are a serious pain to keep clean though!  Every single little fingerprint shows.

There are lots of stainless cleaning supplies on the market that people say work well but as you know if you’ve been reading around here very long I really prefer to use natural methods for cleaning.  And I’ve tried several different things but nothing ever got them really clean.  I mean, I could get dried food and gunk off easily but as far as getting all the smudges and smears off…not happening.

I was really excited last year when I got some Norwex cloths thinking that this would be the perfect solution but sadly it wasn’t.  After doing some researching it turns out that the Norwex envirocloth and polishing cloth are good for stainless but only if they are already pretty clean (more for maintenance).  Apparently if your stainless has ever been cleaned with one of those commercial cleaners it leaves a film that you have to get off first and the envirocloth can’t get that off (ours has never been cleaned with anything like that since we’ve lived here but I’d guess it probably was by the previous owners).

I found some natural products that were supposed to be good for cleaning stainless but they were very expensive and I just couldn’t bring myself to spend that much when honestly, I have a toddler so as soon as I clean them they’re going to get a million fingerprints again, you know?

A few days ago I read something that said, “oh yeah you can totally get it off with an envirocloth, it just takes a lot of elbow grease” so I gave it one more try.  Rubbed and rubbed and rubbed and…nothing.  Was not helping a bit.

(I had to take a picture of my very eager helper using the oven mitt to help me “clean” the fridge.)IMG_9409(Norwex peeps, I am totally not hating on you!  I promise I like my cloths and I use them for lots of stuff…including to clean my stainless later in this post, I’m just being honest that they didn’t work for this one particular thing!)

So after that I was like, forget it.  I’m going to break down at some point and buy the expensive cleaner so I can get my stuff clean.  Someday.  Maybe.

But then I remembered that a friend of mine who is in my essential oils group had posted about a DIY cleaning scrub she had made and I figured I’d at least give it a try.  I mixed up just a teeny tiny bit and rubbed a small circle on the fridge.  Wiped it off with a damp rag and Oh.My.Stars.

Do you SEE that clean circle???

IMG_2570That is the first time I’ve ever even seen any of our stainless come clean!

I still had some left in my bowl so I kept going.  I only had enough to do about half of the fridge, plus we had a bunch of other stuff to do that day so that was all I got done but I kept going back over and over to look at it and I was so excited to show Michael when he got home!

In this picture the left side had not been cleaned yet but the right side was almost done.  It’s so hard to take pictures of stainless but I think you can definitely see the difference!

fridge halfway clean

So enough blabbing…you want me to tell you what I did, don’t you?

It’s really easy.  And I don’t even have a recipe.

ingredients to clean stainless appliancesI made a paste of baking soda, Thieves cleaner, and water.   I didn’t measure, I just put some baking soda in a bowl, added a good squirt of Thieves cleaner, and then added water and stirred until it was the consistency of something like cinnamon roll icing (that’s what it looks like lol!).

My friend Michelle, who is the one who had mentioned that she had made something like this and given me the idea, said that she used Thieves cleaner, baking soda, vinegar, and lemon essential oil.  I didn’t know that when I mixed up mine and the baking soda and Thieves cleaner by themselves worked just great, but you could totally try vinegar and lemon oil too for some extra oomph.

What I did:

Step 1: Mix up your paste

Step 2: Using a damp cloth, rub the paste in a circular motion all over the appliance.

Step 3: Using a different damp cloth, wipe the paste off.

Step 4: Wipe the surface again with a damp Norwex envirocloth

Step 5: Wipe the surface with a dry Norwex polishing cloth

Once the appliance is dry, check to make sure all the streaks are gone.  You might have to go back and do part of it a second time.

Here’s our fridge after I finished the whole thing.

fridge afterIt takes a little time and effort but it works like a charm!  It’s not perfect (I mean really, the only perfect method would be to not have to clean it at all, amiright?) but it was definitely good enough for me!


– It works!  I mean, that’s the main this right?

– It’s very inexpensive!  Baking soda is cheap and Thieves cleaner is cheap too (it doesn’t seem cheap when you first buy it but it’s so concentrated that it lasts forever.  I didn’t even realize how inexpensive it was until I saw this cool chart.)


thieves cleaner costs– It’s safe and not full of nasty, harsh chemicals.


– It’s messy!  The paste falls off the appliance and makes a big baking soda mess on the floor.  It’s pretty easy to sweep up though so that’s not too big of a deal

– It takes some time to do all those steps.

– The baking soda is abrasive so it can be a little hard on your hands and nails.

Overall I am just super, duper impressed.  I have used baking soda and castile soap to clean things like our showers and toilets but it’s incredibly bubbly (because of the castile) so I never would have tried it on our stainless.  The Thieves cleaner though is perfect and it doesn’t bubble up everywhere so it’s very easy to wipe off.  I’m so glad I found this out!

In fact, like I mentioned earlier, I didn’t have time yesterday to do more than about half of the fridge so this morning I was crazy excited to finish up the fridge, dishwasher, oven, and microwave.  It’s an odd feeling when cleaning is exciting!  Ha!  I even let Hudson play in his oatmeal in his high chair (that was another huge mess in and of itself) so I could get some of the cleaning done before he got down and started trying to “help” me.

Now the biggest problem is this…all the appliances are gorgeous and sparkly but the first time someone lays a finger on them they’re going to get a very obvious smudge.  Like, is it super weird that I’d almost prefer the big smudge mess that they were previously because then it didn’t bother me when Hudson (or us for that matter) put his/our hands all over?

(Case in point: I was getting ready to take the “after” picture of the fridge and that little stinker walked up and put his hand right on it so I had to wipe it off before I could take the picture!)

IMG_0982I’m *hoping* that now that I’ve gotten it good and clean that a simple wipe with my Thieves cleaner or Norwex cloths will get the new smudges off and I won’t have to do the whole big scrubbing routine again anytime soon.

Or I could find that it’s a total hassle to keep clean and let it go back to the way it was…you never know!  So if you come to visit me there is not telling what they’ll look like.

But for now…at least until nap time is over…they gleam!

Here are a few more before and afters:

Dishwasher before:dishwasher before

Dishwasher after:
dishwasher after

Oven before:
oven before

Oven after:
oven after

Who is going to run and clean their stainless right away after reading this?

how to make sensory bottles

DIY sensory bottles

I almost can’t even write a tutorial for this because it’s so easy…find a bunch of stuff and dump it in a bottle.

Tutorial done.

Just kidding.  But seriously, this is such a simple and fun little craft or toy for your kiddos!

A sensory bottle is basically just a bottle full of fun little items.  Hudson and I made a couple and he really likes them (or I guess I should say he likes them ok, they hold his interest for a few minutes and then he moves on just like with most of his toys because, hey, he’s a toddler).

To make one you need a clear bottle (we used Coke bottles for our first few) and then some items to go in them.  I literally just went my craft stash and pulled a whole bunch of random things out for us to use.  For the first one we made we used glitter, tiny round beads, star shaped beads, and pom pom balls.  We put a little in the bottom of the bottle and filled the rest of it up with water.

sensory bottle

It’s really fun and soothing (for me) to shake the bottle and watch the glitter and items swirl and settle.  I think some people use these for older kids as “calm down” bottles where they can concentrate on the glitter and watch it and it kind of helps them get control of their emotions.  Hudson’s not quite old enough for that though so he mostly just shakes it a lot.

(it’s really hard to snap a picture of glitter before it settles so sorry for the poor quality here)

glittery sensory bottle

For the second bottle we used some dried rice, dried beans, and a few of the colorful star beads.  We didn’t add water to this one so it makes noise when you shake it and Hudson likes that a lot!  He also likes to shake it around and point out the stars.  I’ve seen people make bottles like this with lots more rice/beans and quite a few more random objects and then use it like a seek-and-find.  The child shakes the bottle around and tries to see what objects they can find among the rice.

beans and rice sensory bottle

For the third bottle I put water with blue food coloring in about 3/4 of the bottle and then vegetable oil in the rest.  The oil floats on the water and makes a cool ocean-like effect.  This is definitely Hudson’s favorite because he loveeeeees bubbles and this one makes bubbles when you shake it.

ocean sensory bottle

I’m part of a playgroup where we meet once a month at someone’s house and the mom in charge does a little themed lesson with crafts and snacks.  This month was my turn; my theme was fall leaves and pumpkins so for our craft I decided we could make fall-themed sensory bottles.

DIY fall sensory bottle

fall sensory bottleI got the small (8oz, I believe?) water bottles thinking it would be perfect for little hands and while the size is pretty good for toddlers/preschoolers I don’t recommend them for sensory bottles.  Part of the cool effect of the bottle is that there is enough room for the items to swirl around and fall to the bottom.  When you use such a small bottle like I did it doesn’t quite work as well.  I definitely recommend going with 16oz or 20oz bottles (or whatever size a “regular” water bottle or coke bottle is).

But other that the size these were so perfect and adorable!

I got orange glitter, some orange/brown/white beads, pom poms in fallish colors (red, black, gold), some googly eyes, and then my favorite thing: leaves.  I *really* wanted to have leaves in the bottles so that it would look like fall leaves falling to the ground.  The size of the bottles doesn’t exactly allow that to happen but the leaves are still cool anyway.  I found them at Hobby Lobby and they were perfect!

sensory bottle ingredientsSince we were doing this with several kids at once I went ahead and had the bottles full of water then we set out all the “ingredients” and let them add in whatever they wanted.  I’m pretty sure Hudson is the youngest of all the kids who attend and he was easily able to pick up stuff and shove it in the top of the bottle so this is definitely appropriate for his age (21 months) and older.

Once you’ve made your bottle I recommend gluing the cap on.  We put them on pretty tight but I was still nervous that Hudson would somehow unscrew it and dump glittery water (or blue food coloring water!) all over the carpet or couch so Michael used some Gorilla Glue (super glue would work too) in the cap to keep that from happening.

And that’s it! Sooooo easy!  You can make all kinds of fun things with the stuff you have lying around the house.  You can also do themed bottles like I did – think about silver glitter and white pom poms for winter or red and green objects for Christmas.  Lots of possibilities!

Young Living holiday gift guide

Young Living essential oils holiday gift guide copy

Last night I hosted an online Facebook event where we shared a bunch of ideas for Christmas gifts that were either Young Living products or DIY gifts made with Young Living oils.  We covered gift ideas for teachers, kids, friends, coworkers…really everyone!  Plus stocking stuffers, gifts on a budget, and DIYs.

I thought I’d compile all the info from the event into one big huge blog post so that you’d have it all at your fingertips.

Young Living essential oil stocking stuffer ideasLet’s start with some smaller ideas. These items are perfect for stocking stuffers, to give to teachers, or to have on hand for those times when you need a random small gift to exchange.

– Thieves toothpaste, travel size. These come in packs of five – pair them up with a toothbrush for a cute little gift
– Lip balm – The Holiday Catalog has a four pack of lip balm that comes with cinnamint, lavender, grapefruit, and vanillamint (vanillamint is only available during the holidays!).
– Thieves hand purifier
– Thieves spray
– Christmas Spirit essential oil; smells amazing, perfect for the holidays, and is a relatively inexpensive oil ($10.25 for a bottle) – FYI you can only order two per person so grab two now before October is over, then another two in November, and then another two in December!
– Bon Voyage Travel Kit. The Bon Voyage kit has a bunch of small items that you could easily give as individual little gifts (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, hand purifier, lip balm, mouth wash, toothpaste, floss, and a toothbrush; oh and the bag it comes in too).
– Ningxia Nitro or Ningxia Red packets

(Tip: All these stocking stuffer ideas are also great for promos and incentives if you are a business builder)

essential oil Christmas gift ideas for teachers

Skip the apple-themed coffee cup and get your child’s teacher something they’ll really like!

– Thieves cleaner plus an empty spray bottle to mix the cleaner in
– Love the idea of giving Thieves cleaner but gifting a whole bottle is out of your price range?   What about pre-mixing a spray bottle of Thieves cleaner, adding a cute label, and giving that plus some cloths or paper towels to clean with?
– Another cleaning idea (I used to be a teacher…we clean our classrooms a LOT and so donated cleaning supplies are always welcome!) is to make DIY Thieves wipes and give a container of those. You can find my recipe here.
– A diffuser plus a bottle of your favorite oil (Thieves, Stress Away, lavender, etc.) would be a great gift for a teacher to use in their classroom or their home!
– Stress Away roll on – Attach a tag that says something like “For those days when recess just wasn’t long enough”
– Breathe Again roll on – Attach a tag that says something like “Winter break: a time for teachers to finally Breathe Again”
– Deep Relief roll on – For this one you could say “What a Deep Relief to have a few days off!”

Tip #1: Buy the Stress Away, Breathe Again, and Deep Relief roll ons in the 3 pack in the Holiday Catalog and save $8!! The roll ons are perfect for so many people so you could knock out quite a few gifts that way.

Tip #2: Make sure to attach some instructions and usage info in case your teacher isn’t an oiler (yet) and might not know what to do with their wonderful gift.

essential oil Christmas gift ideas for the beauty queen

Know anyone in your life who loves pampering and beauty products? Here are some ideas for her!

– Tranquil roll on and a sleep mask…because every beauty queen needs her beauty sleep!
– Satin Mint Face Scrub
– L Briante’ lip gloss and perfume
– DIY bath salts
– DIY sugar scrub

Tip: There are TONS of DIY beauty recipes like the bath salts and sugar scrub on Pinterest. I’ll also be sharing some DIY ideas later in this post too.

essential oil Christmas gift ideas for the fitness enthusiast– A glass bottle plus a citrus oil. You can find cute glass bottles all kinds of places like Amazon, Sam’s, or Target! Throw in a bottle of lemon, lime, tangerine, or whatever citrus oil you think is the yummiest and you’ve got a great gift!
– Also, check out the Holiday Catalog for a special YL branded glass water bottle that comes with a bottle of grapefruit oil.
– Cool Azul sports gel. Talk about an amazingly refreshing gel! Perfect for tired muscles after a work out!
– The Holiday Catalog offers some gift sets for the fitness enthusiast: “Fitness Favorites” comes with a gym bag, Cool Azul sports gel, and a Breathe Again roll on; “Power Pack” comes with a gym bag, 3 portable resistance bands, and BLM; and “Golf Gear” comes with a gym bag, 12 golf balls, and a box of Ningxia Nitro.
– Speaking of Nitro…a box of Nitro would be another fantastic gift for the fitness buff in your life!

essential oil Christmas gift ideas for a fellow oilerIs someone on your Christmas list already an oil user and lover? They’ll be super easy then…just buy them something that you’d want to get! Ha! But just in case you’re still stuck here are some ideas:

– A diffuser. Every oiler can always use another diffuser, right? And make sure to buy one from the Holiday Catalog because if you do then you’ll get a bottle of Black Spruce oil for FREE with purchase of the diffuser (Dewdrop or Aria).
– An oil case. Every oiler needs a way to store and transport their oils, right? The Holiday Catalog has a 10 oil case and a 30 oil case with the Young Living logo on it. You can also find cute bags on Etsy or make a DIY storage box like I did here:
– Another wonderful gift for a fellow oiler is the Holiday Catalog special Ningxia Red + Red Shot oil (only available in the Holiday Ningxia gift set!) + two champagne flutes. Talk about drinking your Ningxia in style!
– Know a coffee or tea lover? The Wolfberry Tea Gift set is just right for them – now they can enjoy their coffee or tea in a Young Living mug! Not only that but they’ll have yummy and nutritious dried wolfberries to snack on too.
– Diffuser jewelry is super popular among the oily crowd! The Holiday Catalog has a diffuser necklace, you can buy them tons of places like Etsy or Sacred Arrow  or you can make them yourself.  Here’s my tutorial on how to do that.

essential oil Christmas gift ideas for your coworkers– Banish the cubicle blues! Give your coworker(s) a USB or Orb diffuser and a bottle of essential oil so they can diffuse while at work. Mmmmm imagine how amazing your office would smell!!!
– Remember those roll ons we talked about in the “Gifts for Teacher” section? Those would be perfect for your coworkers too!

essential oil Christmas gift ideas for your kidsIf you’re an oiler with kids then it’s likely that your kiddos love their oils too! Hudson is not even two yet but he LOVES his oils and likes to pretend to put them on himself. I know several kids of fellow oilers who have asked for their own oils or diffusers so why not? I mean, it’s a perfect Christmas gift plus health booster all in one!

– Every child needs a diffuser in their bedroom and now they can even have one that looks cool with a Dino Land or Dolphin Reef diffuser. Make sure you buy the ones from the Holiday Catalog because they are the same price as the regular ones but you get a free bottle of SleepyIze in addition! Yay for free oils!
– Or what about your child’s very own set of essential oils? The KidScents oils (SleepyIze, TummyGize, SniffleEase, GeneYus, and Owie) are specially formulated just for kids!

essential oil Christmas gift ideas for everyoneGot other people on your list? Here are a few other gifts you might consider! `

– For your pets (or the pet lover): There is a special in the Holiday Catalog that includes a bottle of T-Away and a squishy ball toy. And did you know YL has a whole line of oils specifically for pets?
– For the traveler: The Bon Voyage kit is perfect – lots of amazing YL personal care products in convenient travel sizes!
– For the foodie: Try out some of the Einkorn flour or spaghetti and a few oils that he/she could cook with (rosemary, oregano, thyme, black pepper, lime, etc.)
– For your hubby: Shutran! A great alternative to cologne! He’d probably also appreciate one of the massage oils.
– For the entertainer: A diffuser with Christmas Spirit would be a great gift so her house can smell amazing during all her Christmas parties!
– For the DIYer: Someone who is in to making their own things would love a gift basket with ingredients like coconut oil, beeswax, shea butter, jojoba oil, sugar, and of course some lovely essential oils. Attach a few recipes to help her get started!

DIY ideas with essential oils for ChristmasIf you’re crafty and love to make DIY gifts there are so many options of things you could do that would be perfect for tons of people! Here are some ideas:

– Personal care: lip balm, body butter, lotion bars, sugar scrubs, bath salts, bath bombs, or hand purifier
– Scents for the home: room sprays or sachets
– Oily accessories: diffuser necklaces (check out my “how to” here) or if you’re handy with a sewing machine you could make little bags for people to use to carry their oils.

There are TONS of recipes and DIYs on Pinterest so definitely search there. I’ll share some recipes here too.

DIY sugar scrub recipeOnce you’ve made a sugar scrub recipe you’ll probably laugh to yourself at how easy it is! The base recipe is approximately 3 parts sugar to one part oil (so for example, ¾ cup sugar and ¼ cup coconut oil). Add in 8 or so drops of your essential oil(s) of choice, depending on how strong the oil(s) smell.

There are tons of fun combinations you could do!

DIY bath salts recipeIf it’s possible to get even simpler than a sugar scrub I think this might be it! To make bath salts use ½ cup of Epsom salts mixed with 5-10 drops of your essential oil(s) of choice, depending how strong the oils smell.

Soothing, relaxing oils like lavender, Stress Away, White Angelica, Joy, and Peace & Calming are perfect for bath salts!

DIY room spray recipeAnother easy one (everyone likes easy, right?) – mix one cup water with 20-30 drops of essential oil(s) of your choice and add either a pinch of Epsom salt or a splash of witch hazel or alcohol (these things help the oil disperse through the water rather than floating on top of the water). Put it in a spray bottle and you have a nice, easy DIY room spray!

Get creative with the names of your scent combinations and turn them in to Christmas-y sayings. Some ideas might be:

– Silent Night (lavender and cedarwood or whatever other sleepy oils you prefer; spray on your pillow at night)
– Joy to the World (Joy)
– Candy Cane (Peppermint)
– Christmas Tree (Evergreen Essence or one of the other tree oils like Idaho Balsam Fir, Idaho Blue Spruce, White Fir, Black Spruce, etc.)
– Peace on Earth (Peace & Calming)
– Christmas Spirit (Christmas Spirit)
– Holiday Wishes (Harmony, Hope, Gathering, Valor, White Angelica, etc.)
– Spiced Cider (a combination of cinnamon bark, nutmeg, clove, orange, etc.)

Young Living essential oil Christmas gift ideas under $25There are a ton of gifts under $25 to give if you’re gifting on a budget. Any of the ones listed in the Stocking Stuffer Idea post would be under $25 as are any of the DIY suggestions. Here is a list though to get you started. I also recommend you flip through your product guide and look for yourself because this is by no means a comprehensive list!

– Christmas Spirit essential oil ($10.25)
– Stress Away roll on (under $25 if purchased in Holiday Catalog 3 pack)
– Deep Relief roll on (under $25 if purchased in Holiday Catalog 3 pack)
– Breathe Again roll on (under $25 if purchased in Holiday Catalog 3 pack)
– Thieves household cleaner ($22)
– Thieves wipes ($13.25)
– Thieves hand purifier ($5 each, cheaper if purchased in a pack of 3)
– Thieves spray ($9 each, cheaper if purchased in a pack of 3)
– Mint Satin Facial Scrub ($16.25)
– Lip balm ($4 each, various scents)
– Morning Start Bath & Shower gel ($18.75)
– Genesis Hand and Body Lotion ($20.50)
– Young Living glass water bottle with grapefruit ($19.75, Holiday Catalog)
– 10 oil case ($16)
– Orb diffuser ($25.75…not *quite* under $25 but close enough, right?)
– USB diffuser ($22.75)

essential rewards copyDon’t forget that if you’re a Young Living wholesale member (and you are, right?) you definitely should join ER before you start ordering all these oily Christmas presents!

Why? Because Essential Rewards is like a gift for yourself! When you order via ER you earn points back (10% back starting out, then 15% and 20% back as you are on the program longer) that you can then redeem for FREE Young Living products! You also get cheaper shipping and the ability to earn the monthly promos (some of the promos each month can be earned by anyone who orders but some can only be earned on Essential Rewards orders so if you’re not on ER you’d be missing out!).

Also make sure to check out the monthly promo that Young Living is offering and see about getting some freebies with your order!  Right now (October) you can earn free Thieves, clove, extra ER points, and a diffuser depending on how much you order.  We don’t know the November promo yet but I’m sure whatever it is will be great!

giving back copyPlease consider sharing the love and giving back this holiday season as well.  You might have noticed when you check out on Young Living’s site that there is a section to donate to the Young Living Foundation.  I’m just starting to learn about the Young Living Foundation myself but have been impressed with what I’ve learned so far and what all they are going.  I encourage you to go check them out on Facebook so you can learn for yourself!  YL covers 100% of all overhead and administrative costs of the Young Living Foundation – this means that 100% of all donations go directly to their projects and partnerships.  Fantastic!

And for those of you Amazon shoppers, did you know that you can select a charity and Amazon will donate a portion of your purchase (0.5% so $.50 for every $100 purchased) to your chosen charity at no extra cost to you? And did you know that The Young Living Foundation is one of the available charities?  Yep. Simply go through and search for Young Living Foundation (the location is Waterloo, MI) and select it as your chosen charity. Easy peasy!

Christmas gift ideas with Young LivingHappy gifting!

Hudson’s 21 month update

Here we are at month 21.  It’s crazy to me that Hudson is almost two!  And this is the first month where I kind of forgot how old he was (i.e. what month he was in).  I always wondered if I’d count his age in months forever or not and it turns that as he approaches two I find myself thinking about his age in months less and less.


I packed up most of his 18 month clothes and yet the majority of the 24 month stuff is huge on him so I think I’m going to need to get at least some of his fall/winter 18 month clothes, shirts especially, back out for a bit longer.


One of his bottom canines has come in and the other one I can see riiiiiight under the skin so it shouldn’t be much longer.


Lots of new words this month, too many for me to remember, but some of them include oval, honey, keys, and pumpkin.  He will now try to repeat just about any word that you ask him to repeat.  It’s not clear or understandable most times but he’s definitely trying!

Hearing him say “honey” is one of the cutest words he’s learned yet.  I was making my breakfast smoothie one morning and grabbed the honey out of the cabinet.  He said “honey! honey!” and Michael and I were both like “Did he just say honey?”  We asked him again and sure enough he said it.  It was just out of the blue and not one that we use frequently or had been working with him on or anything.

Another big thing from this month is that he has finally started saying his own name!  It is so adorable to hear him say “Hudson” (which actually sounds like Hu-son).  He loves to look at the pictures of himself on our wall and fridge, point, and say his name.

Something I never thought I would have noticed were the different ways to say “no” but this month Hudson has changed the way he says no.  I can’t really describe it other than to say that he used to say it one way and now he says it another way.

I *think* he might have said his first 2-word phrase.  There have been a couple of times that I thought he said “help me” instead of just “help”.  I’m not certain but if so then that’s the first time he’s put two words together.

He just talks so much!  It’s not understandable most of the time but he will have total “conversations” with us where he goes on and on telling us something.  I’m just not sure what right now ;).  It’s adorable though!

We don’t use nearly as much sign language as we were a few months ago but we still use quite a bit.  I noticed this month that he made up his own sign to mean “fish”.  Also, one evening he was watching Arthur and they had a thing on there where a child was signing and an adult was translating.  Hudson jumped up and immediately started making a ton of gestures with his hands.  He wasn’t using any of the signs that he knows but I could tell that he was trying to mimic what the little boy or girl was doing on tv.  It was precious!


I wouldn’t say he’s necessarily getting pickier about what he will eat but he has gotten more difficult as far as figuring out what exactly he wants to eat.  You never know what he’s going to eat from what you offer him and it varies from meal to meal.  He also will frequently say that he wants something to eat but then when you list off a bunch of items he’ll say no to each one.  So I know in his head he must have a food in mind but he can’t quite communicate what he’s wanting.

If he is eating something and decides he doesn’t want anymore then he needs to get it off his tray immediately.  If you don’t take it from him fast enough then he will throw it on the ground which does not make me very happy.

One morning I was washing dishes and I heard him trying to grab at the bread bag on the counter but didn’t really pay much attention to it.  The next time I glanced at him I saw he had gotten the bag down, gotten the twisty tie off, and was chowing down with a piece of bread in each hand!  I laughed so much about that!

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We’re working on drinking out of a regular cup.  Hudson doesn’t quite have it down but we’re practicing!  Michael bought this really small Yeti cup and Hudson has claimed it as his own.

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Ningxia Red mustache!  2015-09-29_09.35.12 copy


Same old story.  Good naps most (but not all) days – one nap after lunch that lasts around 2 hours.  Night times are still hit or miss.  Some nights it’s fine, others he kicks and squirms and we don’t sleep well.

We still haven’t gotten around to moving him to his own bed yet but it’s on the list to work on very soon!

new stuff

Hudson has learned how to “sniff” – like to pretend his is smelling something.  Up until now he would put an object (like my diffuser necklace or a pretend flower) up to his nose/mouth and say “mmmm!” but not actually sniff it.

He also has, only once that I’ve seen, climbed up into the bed.  There was something on there that he wanted to he just climbed right up!  I thought that would be his new big thing but other that that one time he hasn’t shown any interest in climbing up on the bed.

He can now climb into our kitchen chairs as well and does that a lot – especially to reach things on the table that he shouldn’t have!

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After all this time Hudson has finally latched on to a “lovey”.  Of course it couldn’t be something normal like a blanket or a stuffed animal.  Nope.  It’s one of my shirts.  It’s a really soft pajama shirt that has some ruffles on the front of it and he loves it!  He loves to rub the ruffles between his fingers and he drags it around like a blanket.  He doesn’t sleep with it but does sometimes hold it while he goes to sleep.  If he gets upset or gets sleepy then he immediately wants to get his paci and “Ruffles” (what Michael and I have started calling the shirt).

Laying on top of Ruffles on the kitchen floor.

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He loves to put Michael’s boots on and then Michael will help him “walk” in them around the house.  He has a blast!

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Our fun adventure for this month was going to our church’s family retreat.  It was held at our church camp location and was a retreat for anyone from our church to attend.  Hudson had an absolute blast running around and “playing” with the other kids.

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Our not-so-fun adventure was that Hudson got Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease this month.  This was his first time to have any sort of real sickness other than just some congestion or a runny nose but thankfully he had a very easy time with it (compared to what I read online and heard from other parents) and it was very short lived.  Within three or four days he was past it other than seeming a bit more tired and clingy than normal.

His first signs actually manifested on his nose and bottom instead of hands, feet, or mouth.  This picture was from day one (or at least, the day that we figured out he had HFM becuase it was the first day he started showing any signs).

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Soaking his feet in a soothing essential oil bath2015-10-07_13.59.51 copy

We did lots of oily baths to soothe his little body.  He wasn’t particularly a fan of hanging out in the water so we had to turn on a tv show for him to watch to keep him occupied so he’d sit there longer.2015-10-07_19.48.00 copy

Pitiful sick baby2015-10-08_11.28.35 copy

We weren’t exactly sure how long he was contagious – some sources said not at all once the sores and blisters appear, others said a week after the sores appeared, others said not until they were gone.  We ended up staying home for a week just to be safe but boy were we stir crazy but the end of that week!  I thought I might scream if I had to watch another Bubble Guppies episode!

But like I said overall the HFM experience was not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be and for that I am very grateful!


just some other cute pictures

He got a plastic spider ring at the post office but he kept taking it off and throwing it on the floor while we were at Kroger so it didn’t last very long!

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Walking around with a mop inside his shirt for some reason.  He also went through this funny phase for a week or two where if you tried to take his picture he’d put his hands over his eyes.2015-09-30_10.32.55 copy

I haven’t worn him all that much since I got pregnant because my usual method (back carry in an Ergo) was not comfortable at all.  However, I found a way that is very comfortable so I’ve been wearing him a bit more lately.  2015-10-01_11.05.17 copyRocking Michael’s socks and a diaper
2015-10-11_16.17.59 copyPlaying outside with Daddy
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Michael wears his face mask when he sprays the poopy cloth diapers and Hudson thinks it’s hilarious!  He likes to wear it too.

2015-10-16_20.34.21 copySaying “P.U.!”

2015-10-17_18.00.07 copyPlaying with his favorite toy in the church nursery – the laptop.  He loves to pretend to type on it!
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Rocking horse fun2015-10-22_09.46.28 copy

Just hanging out.  I love spending my days with this little guy!2015-10-19_16.43.57 copy

Reading the Hiccupotamus with Daddy.  When you ask him the sound a hippo makes Hudson makes a hiccup sound.  It cracks me up because I know he thinks that because we read this book so much!2015-10-22_20.10.31 copy

Happy 21 months my precious boy!

a canvas comparison

As promised here is a review of the three different companies where we purchased the canvases for the gallery wall in our living room.  Now just so you know I am NOT a professional photographer or a photography buff of any kind.  I have no idea what a professional canvas should look like and how these stack up against the really expensive ones.  So this is my very unexperienced review and comparison of canvases from three, random, not-super-expensive companies.
canvas gallery wall around the flat screen

When I got ready to order my canvases I, of course, wanted the most bang for my buck so I ended up ordering from three different sites where I had coupons or found good sales.  I was totally new to ordering canvases or really even any pictures on a large scale (larger than just normal 4×6 prints) so I did some “research” (aka Googling and reading reviews) to try to help me pick companies.  The ones I ultimately chose were: Fabness, Canvas on Demand, and Easy Canvas Prints.

A friend sent me a coupon for canvases from Fabness ($9.99 shipped) so I got two there.  I bought a Groupon for a canvas from Canvas on Demand, and then Easy Canvas Prints was one that I had read about online as being recommended and they were also doing a big sale (80% off I believe) so I bought the rest (5 canvases) there.  I spent a total of about $150 for the 8 canvases.

You can see below which canvas came from which company.  where I bought each canvas

This one in the bathroom is also from Easy Canvas PrintsIMG_0946

Let’s compare:

Quality of pictures

Like I said earlier I am not at all a professional but to me the pictures from all the sites looked great.  They were all clear and looked as good blown up as they did small on my computer screen.

Quality of canvases

Well again I don’t really know what I’m looking for but both the Fabness canvases and the Canvas on Demand one felt really sturdy.  The ones from Easy Canvas Prints weren’t as firm, if that makes sense.  Like if you push lightly on the middle of the ones from Fabness or Canvas on Demand they have very little give, as if there is something sturdy behind the picture.  If you push on the ones from Easy Canvas Prints they give a little (like a piece of fabric stretched around a frame but without anything hard behind it).

Since these are hung on the wall and aren’t really being touched or anything that doesn’t seem like it’s going to be any issue at all.  So while two of them were sturdier overall I think they will all hold up fine.

Wrap depth

From my limited amount of searching it appears that canvases most commonly come in depths of .75″ and 1.5″.  The Fabness coupon and the Canvas on Demand Groupon were for set sizes of canvases, both with a depth of 1.5″.  With Easy Canvas Prints I had to choose the depth myself.  I originally was going to go with 1.5″ so that all of my canvases would be uniform but it turned out that I could save around $25 if I went with the smaller wrap.  I debated back and forth, wanting to save money but not sure if I wanted my canvases to look different.  I ultimately decided to go for the .75″; had I been planning on a wall of *only* canvases I would have wanted them to be the same but since I was planning on putting them on a wall with our tv, some other framed pictures, and some other non-picture items, all which would have varying depths, I took a risk hoping that the difference wouldn’t bother me.

It turns out that (so far) it does not bother me.  In fact, I don’t really notice it at all.  I tried to take a picture to show you the difference but it’s not very noticeable (which is a good thing).

wrap sizesThe 1.5″ wrap definitely makes the canvases look higher quality and more professional than the .75″ wrap so if that’s important to you and/or money is not an issue then I’d definitely recommend going with the 1.5″.

Wrap colors

Typically you have two choices for your wrap colors – you can choose to have the picture itself wrap around the sides of the frame or you can choose to have the picture on the front only and then have the sides a different color.  Canvas on Demand had a third option, which was to have like a fade out look on the wrap that sort of matched the colors of the picture.  That option was called “color blur”.

I only selected the option where the picture wraps around the edges for one canvas – the picture where Hudson is wearing the suspenders and red tie.  If you look at the previous picture where I talked about the wrap depths you can see the edge of that picture.

The picture wrap around is by far my favorite option but it can be tricky because you can lose some of your picture off the front of the canvas if you do that.  The picture of him in the red tie was the only one where I was able to do the wrap without it cutting off part of him.  And that was from Easy Canvas Prints.

Our Canvas on Demand picture, the family picture with Hudson wrapped in the quilt, was the one that had the option to do the color blur.  I chose that one, as you can see in the picture below, but I think it looks pretty weird.  I am not a fan of that effect at all and I definitely prefer the wrapped picture or the solid color sides.



All the rest of our prints (the two from Fabness and the remaining four from Easy Canvas Prints) just have the plain black or dark grey sides.  It’s not a wow factor or as nice looking as the picture extending around the edges but it doesn’t look bad either.

As with the various wrap depths I was concerned about how it would look having a variety of colors/techniques on the sides.  But also like the wrap depths it turns out it does not bother me.  Again, if I had a canvas-only gallery wall I would want them to be more uniform but since this is an eclectic area anyway it’s fine that they don’t all match.

Shipping condition

This is the one and only area where I had issues.  I ordered five canvases from Easy Canvas Prints.  They all arrived in one big, flat box but they were packaged in such a way that they were in a double layer with the images facing inward (I wish I had taken a picture to show you but just imagine laying 3 canvases face up then laying 2 more face down on top of them so the image sides were together).  I don’t know if it was the heat outside from when they were in transport or if the ink hadn’t totally dried before they were packaged, but the canvases were stuck together and when I separated them there was ink transfer, especially around the edges.

I’ve used some arrows to try to indicate those spots.  They aren’t horrible and it wasn’t anything that I felt like I needed to complain about or send them back, but it was still very disappointing.  I guess this is an instance where you get what you pay for (since this was the most inexpensive site I found) but really…how hard would it have been for them to slide one measly sheet of packing paper in between the two layers of canvases to make sure that didn’t happen?  That was a pretty big bummer.


The two Fabness prints I purchased were shipped in separate boxes (I had placed two separate orders) and the one from Canvas on Demand was the only one I got from there, so I can’t say how those two companies’ prints would have fared had I gotten multiples in one box.  All of their single-shipped canvases showed up in excellent condition.

Shipping time

The prints from all three companies arrived within a week of each other (they were all ordered on the same day) and it was maybe one to two weeks after I placed the order.  I felt like the ship time was very reasonable and similar for all of them.


I mentioned some about pricing at the beginning but it’s really hard to compare.  For one, I was ordering different sizes (both side of the print and wrap depth).  With all the coupons I feel like it came out fairly evenly.  I think that Canvas on Demand would definitely have been the most expensive had I not had a Groupon and Easy Canvas Prints was the most inexpensive option but overall they were pretty similar.

Overall thoughts

Fabness and Canvas on Demand were both fantastic.  I was super pleased with the quality and would definitely order from them again.  Easy Canvas Prints was just ok.  Not terrible, but definitely not as high a quality as the other two and like I mentioned the shipping issues with the ink transfer was really disappointing.  However, for a budget canvas they aren’t bad.

I hope this is helpful as you navigate ordering pictures for your home!

(I was not compensated for these reviews.  All opinions expressed here are mine.  I paid for these prints myself and none of these three companies even know who I am.)