Summertime mean’s Bug Spray and Sunscreen

I’ve been meaning to get this post up. I feel like that is the headliner of all my blog posts. I’ve been meaning to get around to this, and I’ve been meaning to get around to that. That could seriously be my life motto. The title of my memoir, ‘Mama meant to get that done yesterday’.
It’s what it is I guess.
What spurred this on today then, since it’s something I’ve been meaning to post since July? Well you see my child decided to rip a handful of my hair out today, just for the hell of it. Why did that spur this on? I have no idea. Because it doesn’t really relate to this at all.
Back in July we flew back to Wisconsin to spend some time with my parents and sister. Smush adored them, and I think it goes without saying that the feeling was mutual. Guys, there’s really something to say about being home that is irreplaceable. The place where you grew up and ran wild, it’s your roots. And nothing can ever take that away or replace it.
However, I didn’t miss the bugs and mosquitoes that seem to come with Wisconsin. Seriously, the joke is that the state bird is the mosquito. You can say that being from California, my husband is a little paranoid about getting bit by bugs, especially mosquitoes. And I really didn’t want doodle to suffer the fate of my child hood, being covered head to toe with mosquito bites.
“I swear guys, it’s not the chicken pox. Mosquitoes just feasted on my flesh.”
The mosquitoes can be relentless, sometimes even after bug bombing, burning citronella candles and spraying with bug spray.
We all know the stuff that’s in bug spray, stuff that I’d prefer to avoid putting on my infant if at all possible. So I went in search of something we could use for doodle, being well aware of how bad the mosquitoes are from my own past experiences.
And I came across Babyganic’s Bug spray:

(Please note the image above is a an affiliate link, this means that if you click on it or use the link to purchase the item some money does find it’s way back to me.)

Now, according to the bottle, it say’s its made with 100 percent natural essential oils, it’s non-greasy, Paraben and Deet free, not tested on animals, and a few other great qualities. I can for sure get behind that.
Except I couldn’t.
I wanted to love this. But, again, I couldn’t.
It smelt weird to me, now in retrospect and rereading the ingredient’s I’m assuming it was one of the essential oils listed on the bottle. And it say’s its not greasy. But I found that not to be true. It didn’t spray well, and considering the consistency of it I’m not quite sure why they chose to put it in the spray bottle. I had to spray it onto my hands then try to rub it onto Smush. It didn’t absorb well what so ever, it felt like I was taking a stick of butter and rubbing it all over my kid, and I’m pretty sure it stained his outfit.
So what right? That’s the price I’m willing to pay to have less chemicals and more goodness, with a side of confidence in a good quality product….right?
No.
Because it didn’t work.
Or maybe it just didn’t work against the caliber of those Wisconsin mosquitoes, because they still went after him. We ended up using OFF!; which worked great.
And I’m sure I looked like the crazy California hippie trying to go chemical free, and fix something that wasn’t broken. Basically, I was disappointed. I had hoped for more with this one.
Their sunscreen however, was amazing. Because let’s face it, no matter where you are in the summer time you need to protect yourself and your babies from too much sun.

(Please note the image above is a an affiliate link, this means that if you click on it or use the link to purchase the item some money does find it’s way back to me.)

Do you guys remember, shortly before July a bunch of parent’s were coming forward with pictures of their infants who had suffered burns from their sunblocks and or bug sprays? That’s what set me off on this search. I had a little mommy melt down. Because I’m freaking super mom, with a cape and sword, supposedly protecting my children, yet just a few months ago I was rubbing the same brand sunblock on my kid that these other poor babies had suffered from. I beat myself up over it.
It’s really hard in such a consumer driven world to always make sure you are getting the best of the best. Especially because sometimes you are mislead about the quality of a product. I’m not perfect, but I try even harder now to eliminate excess chemicals and other stuff from my children. I wish we lived in a world where that wasn’t necessary.
According to the bottle this sunblock is made with seed oils and is free of all the crazy stuff, fragrance free and etc.
And it was great. My husband and I also used this and none of us got burnt. Except for when he went fishing with my dad and decided he was going to skip the sunblock. Seriously, husbands.  It absorbed and didn’t leave any oily residue, which is important to me, because as an especially pale child I always hated how oily and gross sunblock left me. But I had to have it put all over or risk being miserably burnt after 10 minutes.  And while no one loves being lathered with sunblock, Smushsmush tolerated it, the fact that it absorbed quickly helped. It didn’t have a weird smell, and it performed by preventing sunburn.
What a contrast in products.
And on that note, I hope this helps. The reason why I choose to ever review anything on this blog is to be helpful. I do reviews, because sometimes I feel really tired of going to read what someone has to say only to find out that they are selling the product or brand. And when I search for real people, real moms with real opinions I can’t find many. I just want a real perspective. And while I do have the affiliate links, I chose amazon so I could review whatever products I wanted as honestly as I could with no affiliation to the actual brands/companies.

Hungry mosquitoes and fun in the sun,
Paperdaffodils

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Letters To My Son Vol. 3

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Letters To My Son in roughly 7 weeks and 6 days will become Letters To My Son’s. Well, that’s the countdown for the estimated due date. We all know that children have a tendency of doing as they please, especially when it concern’s due dates.
So it’s with great joy and trepidation I bring the next installment of Letters To My Son. A post all about my eldest becoming a big brother. Trepidation? You ask. Why yes, because one kid is hard enough to wrangle, and I’m barely managing that. And of course since we are somewhat gluttons for punishment we are already bringing the next kid into the mix. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited, but definitely nervous about how this is going to go.  So, let’s get into it.

Dear SmushSmush,
Very shortly here you will be subjected to a screaming, crying baby. And so I thought it necessary to write this for you to read someday in the future.
First I want to say daddy and I are sorry. But we also aren’t. We’re sorry for all the times you will be asked to be quieter because the baby is sleeping, we’re sorry for your loss of status of being the baby. That’s something you’ll never get back. I’m sorry for any of the times you need and want mama but won’t get my undivided attention because your brother needs it more.
That’ll be something that will never change. As you grow a sibling is inevitably going to take our attention when you might want or need it. Know that your dad and I will always try to be fair, but at times we may fall short in your eyes. I don’t expect you to understand it. I just hope you can forgive us for any and all perceived shortcomings. Despite our best efforts we will fail you and your brother at times. This is just a fact of life. Becoming an older sibling means being held to a higher standard. This isn’t fair. We all know it. But it’s what it is, and it’s that way because it has to be. Your brother will be watching you, looking to you for guidance. He will mimic your actions. And so your dad and I will be relying on you to help lead your brother down the right paths. Please understand and don’t mix this up though. We don’t and won’t account his failures as your own and vice versa. You will mean more to each other then either of you will ever be able to see at first, maybe if ever. It is my hopes that when your dad and I are no longer here, you have each other. The best allies in the world, someone to always guard your back. Someone to watch your progression through life in a way that no one else will ever be able to do. When we are gone; for you to not be alone, and never be on your own is one of the most important things. Because the world is a hard and cold place, especially when you have no one in your ball court. You could be a superstar and it’ll mean nothing without people around you to share it with.
There will be times when this little thing will be screaming and you won’t understand why. I’m sure it’ll be annoying and frustrating to you. And I’m sorry for that.
All of the sudden you will have to share your attention, your love, your toys, your comfort items. And you’ll just be expected to do it, with no explanations. We will just expect you, in some ways to have just grown up over night.
It’ll be expected that over night you will need mama less. Because you’ll be over a year when your brother comes. So, why would you need us as much?
I understand on so many levels how unfair this will be for you. To share your space and attention with something and someone you wont understand until you are actually older and more capable of not needing mama.
But in this little baby that you wont quite understand we are hoping you will find a close friend and a forever companion. So no, it wont always be fair for you, but we hope it’ll be somewhat worth it, in moments of your life, maybe even solid chunks of moments towards the grown up parts of your life.

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The times that I’m too tried after tending to your brother, to give you what you really need, I hope you forgive me for.
The times my frustrations aren’t checked and you realize them, I hope you forgive me for it.
When your brother hurts your feelings and you wish we had never had another kid, I hope you see the bigger picture for it.
Being the eldest sibling puts you on this level that you will never be able to get down from. And you had no choice in the matter. As an older sibling, I understand how this feels, and I hope you will forgive me for it.
You will be asked to be the bigger person on numerous occasions, on occasions when you shouldn’t have to be the bigger person. The times when you should be able to express how truly hurt and pissed off you are will be overshadowed by the necessity of you being a good example.
We love you both very much, we have so much love in our hearts to give, and that’s why you will have another sibling. Because we want our house filled with laughter and love.
Love,
Mama

A loss of direction

I took a hiatus. If we can call such a long term lack of blogging a hiatus. So this is simply going to be an update, then after this it’ll hopefully be a constant stream of bloggy wonderfulness.
I spent a lot of time on this break, trying to decide what the purpose of this blog was. Was it to chronicle my parenting? Was it to explore gardening? Was it to become more green and eco-friendly? Was it to showcase my crafts?
I didn’t know.
I still don’t know.
So it halted, any thought’s I had of writing. Until just recently I decided that it didn’t really matter to me any more, of what label I placed on it. I’m just going to go with it. And maybe on it’s own it’ll lead me to where I need to go.
There’s a couple other reasons the blogging came to a halt. The big one is school.
When you are spending 6 plus hours a day trying to do homework and not bang your head repeatedly against the wall all while wrangling a toddler it doesn’t leave much passion to sit down and write.
This is math for me folks. I lovingly refer to it as torment and hell though. It just doesn’t work with how my brain works. Although my husband joyfully likes to remind me that math is in knitting and cross stitching and cooking. I choose to ignore him, he’s one of those weird math loving types. It’s best to look away and not make eye contact.
The other has been my emotions. You see, I’ve never wanted to turn this blog into a place to pour out negativity. And that’s all I’ve seemed to have in the past months. Blame it on the hormones. Blame it on going into a 2nd pregnancy so quick after the first. Blame it on my personality. I don’t know. But I’m trying to figure it out guys. It just didn’t seem like a journey I needed to take you guys on. I’ll try to explain it somewhat quickly, and maybe touch on it some more later.
Have you ever felt like your mind is a literal train wreck?
And I’m not talking about the train wreck part where everyone stops to stare in complete unabashed horror as the train crashes and implodes taking along with it anything and everything in it’s path. I’m not even talking about the part where people are standing together to help with the wreckage, and everything else that comes along with it. I’m talking about the part where everyone has gone home, a few weeks have gone by. The earth has continued to spin on it’s axis and people have forgotten or tucked away the occurrence that was the train wreck. And the only people left standing there are the one’s who have the most to lose, like the owner of the train company. And there they are standing there, trying to figure out what the hell to do. Not even what the hell to do, but how the hell they are going to clear away the rubble and rebuild what was once there and now isn’t.
That’s me and my mind. We will just leave it at that.
So, on to the update.

Life:
It ticks by. Sometimes I can’t keep up with the day’s and others the days drag on. Sometimes I feel caught up and sometimes I’m drowning. That’s just the tune of the song, to go with the beat of the drums. I guess that’s vague. But it’s been pretty steady and boring over here. With the 2nd boy on the way I’m trying my best to enjoy whatever moments of peace I can.

Gardening: I somehow murdered my lavender plant. One day of being in too much direct sun will completely kill your Lavender plant, if anyone is curious. There’s no saving the poor thing, it’s brown and crispy. When you live somewhere that feels as hot as being next to the devil’s scrotum I guess you should never doubt the suns capabilities to kill resilient plants. I have gone through 3 cucumber plants, because I can’t seem to keep those even somewhat alive but am determined to keep trying. I also have gone through a basil plant. Not sure what, but something kept casting webs all over my plant, which seemed to kill it. I have no idea what because I tried everything to get this thing off of the plant and it just kept coming back. My bell pepper is clinging on for dear life, praying to whatever god it knows that I don’t manage to kill it too. Jalapeno is dead. Rosemary is doing alright, considering that it was close to the grave this is an amazing feat. I’ve gotten about 5 tomatoes off of my tomato plant, but that thing never really bushed up and produced well. And pretty much the rest is dead. So. we are chalking this years gardening up as a loss. And, at this very frustrating point I am unsure that I’ll be gardening next year. I think most plant’s would be glad about that since all I seem to do is kill them.

Crafts: This part may get boring, if you aren’t already bored, so I definitely don’t blame you if you dip out. Hopefully future posts will be less like ripping off a hang nail and more like eating a spoonful of peanut butter with chocolate chips. That might just be me and my pregnancy cravings though on that second one.
I’ve started a blanket for the 2nd boy. And cross stitching has been my addiction.

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The pattern’s from Ravelry. Its a basic two line pattern but looks super nice. I can’t remember who it was by or where I got it from specifically or I’d include the link because I just wrote the pattern down , that’s how simple it is. It’s working up quick. Let’s just hope it’ll be done by October though.

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This is a Santa clause cross stitch that I started and progress is pretty slow on it. But at least I got Ariel keeping me company.

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This one is going to be a gift, that’s got tucked to the back burner because if I have to stitch any more black I’m going to scream.

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This one’s basically done I just need to finish up the back-stitching which is basically the outline and detail of the piece so it’s pretty critical. I’m thinking about not doing a so typical finish with this one for a Christmas  decoration. It’s my goal with cross stitching to think outside of the box with finishes so it’s not just the typical framing the piece and hanging it on the wall, although you’ll see some of that too.

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This was a start to just get rid of the cross stitching blues caused by the shoes that are an endless sea of black. And of course the starting stitches are white. Needless to say this one got tucked away pretty quick. And that’s also why you can’t see much to it.

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This one is one Jason picked out for me in Wisconsin, its a birth announcement and it’ll be for baby 2. I have my heart set on a dinosaur themed one for doodlebug. (Big shocker there). It’s working up pretty quick, this is probably a weeks worth of work, on and off and not dedicatedly stitching.

Needless to say I’ve fallen into the hole of starting too many projects. So here’s to hoping I finish some, which doesn’t seem to be a personality trait of mine.

 

Unfinished projects and chocolate chips,
Paperdaffodils

 

 

 

Black Bean’s without the can

We’re in the kitchen. One of my favorite, yet often neglected areas. Neglected because with a 7 month old, it’s impossible to be in the kitchen making things from scratch the way I love to do. Maybe someday you will find both the little man and I covered in flour, making homemade tortillas. Or maybe I’ll finally venture into my desire to make tamales and make it into a family tradition. “All hands on deck!”
I always have large dreams when it comes to my kitchen, like starting a sourdough starter. And making a homemade veggie broth. I did manage to accomplish the veggie broth, now I just need to get it in the freezer. The sourdough starter? Well that’s going to be added to my ‘maybe next week’ list.
With everything that was  going on, holidays being sick and etc. It’s no wonder when I went to my freezer to reach for one of my handy bags of black beans, I came up empty.
Guys.
This was traumatic for me. I frantically searched my entire freezer, completely unbelieving of the fact that I had allowed us to not just run low on black beans, but to completely run out of them! I have made sure we have black beans in our freezer, we have not run out, not once, in probably over a year. Us running out of homemade black beans is like us running out of ketchup (my husband uses an ungodly mount of ketchup) it just doesn’t happen in our house. So, an emergency kitchen session happened. And I thought I’d share the recipe. Bare with me, because I’m not much for writing down what I use, I usually just throw it together.

Crock pot Black beans
Ingredients:
2 16 0z bags of dry black beans
1-2 Medium yellow onins
2 garlic cloves
2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon garlic powder
2 Teaspoons Onion Powder
1 1/2 Teaspoons of Cumin
1/4 Teaspoon of salt
1/4 Teaspoon of pepper
1/4 Teaspoon of Thyme
3-4 Bay Leaves
2 Veggie Bullion Cubes or about 4 cups of veggie broth
You will also need to add some water, but I honestly forgot to write down how much. If you do the bullion cubes you will need to add more water. If you do the veggie broth you will probably only need a few cups of water. you want enough that the beans are covered but not drowning.

You’re going to start off with soaking your black beans over night. On the back of most packages it provides you with a basic guideline on this. But basically you are going to pour your beans into a bowl, pour enough water into the bowl to again cover but not drown them and let them sit over night. I find that I usually need to add a little more water, the bean’s seem to soak up the water after an hour or two.
After you’ve soaked them you are going to strain and rinse them, and search for any little rocks/pebbles.
Then you simply dump the black bean’s into the crock pot.

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(This hellion of a cat, seriously has to be in everything I’m doing!)

Then you will move on to chopping up your onion(s). I love onion so I used all of the 2, But 1 1/2 of the onions is plenty. You have a couple options with this one. You can just chop up big chunks and toss them in. You can quarter the whole onion and toss them in, or you can use my method and dice the onion. I originally tried the quartering method, but was extremely disappointed because I really like the onion in it, and with such large chunks of Onion I just ended up pulling them out and throwing them away. You are also going to chop up your garlic cloves right now.
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I like to put all my spices and stuff together so I can pull out all the spices at once, then put them all away at once too. I find it leaves less mess for me. Once you have your onion and garlic chopped you can add those into your crock pot with your black beans. Then add your spices in whichever way you  please.

(And I guess that was all the pictures I have of this. I know I took more, but my phone had to be reset, and while I thought I didn’t lose any pictures…I apparently lost a couple.)

Black beans

If you are using bullion cubes, you are going to go ahead and add those as well, and add the 4 cups of water…or however much water the packaging says. Add any additional water necessary to cover but not drown the beans. If you are using veggie broth, you are just going to add about 2-3 cups of water, again, only enough water to cover not drown.

Then set your crock pot on low for about 6 hours or until the beans can be pierced with  fork/ are tender. I went to work and so mine went for 8 hours and they turned out perfectly fine.
Allow your beans to cool, then, I take a 1 cup measuring cup and measure out 2 cups of black beans including all the juices and put them in zippy’s, I then lay them flat in the freezer and allow them to freeze, once they are frozen, I do stack them all up into a larger freezer bag. Then…black beans away!  I add these to tacos, when we have sweet potato tacos. Enchiladas, soups, salads, rices. It’s endless. I also have started to make hummus out of them.
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And on that note..all I have to say is..a certain someone may have received a dehydrator for Christmas. So stay tuned if you are interested in seeing that adventure.

Black beans and Tacos,
Paperdaffodils

 

 

 

Chococurb

Hey guys, Onto the Chococurb box review.
Chococurb is a monthly subscription box that sends you good quality/artisan chocolate bars.
If after this post you are interested, head on over: Chococurb

There are 3 different boxes you can get, a Nano for 10 dollars month which gives you a mix of 5 bite size chocolates. Chococurb Mini (which is the one I picked, I had a coupon so instead of the original 20 I paid 17.00)
The mini gives you 3 chocolate bars/items a month for 20.00.
Chococurb Classic is the big beefy box. You get 5-7 assortments of chocolate bars/items but this one is 35.00 a month.

And here’s where it gets real. I was really looking forward to this box. I waited to order it, because I wanted to treat myself. I rushed to the mail box as soon as it said it was delivered. I excitedly opened it in the car before I even drove home….hence the late pictures with the already opened candy bars.
And to my dismay…two of the three bars/items were peppermint chocolate.
Okay. Anyone who knows me, knows that I absolutely hate with all the passion in the world mint and chocolate as a combo.
If I wanted  mint with my chocolate I’d brush my teeth, then with a mouth full of toothpaste eat a chocolate bar. Sound appetizing? That’s how I associate mint chocolate.
I know, I know ton’s of people love mint chocolate, so this is preferential. In fact the quality of the chocolate I received was amazing.
But here’s my other issue…just because it’s December, doesn’t mean everyone want’s a box of mint chocolate.
The curation of this box left something to be desired, and so I’ve already cancelled. Don’t get me wrong. I still love the idea, and so at a later date I may give chococurb another shot. But I think 20.00 a month is just too much to spend and not love all the items in the box, or at least one…which I didn’t.
Ok, I’ll quit talking as much now and get to the pictures.

Here’s how it came, it was a nice presentation.

Here’s all the chocolates. Like I said, I had already gotten into them. There was a ‘Delicate Embrace Floral Lavender Lemon and Rose Guava chocolate truffles.’ ‘Forte artisan chocolates, classic peppermint bark holiday favorite’ and ‘Ethereal confections, handcrafted inclusion chocolate bar. 66% cacao topped with crushed candy cane bits and cocoa nibs’

All the peppermint….argh.

 

Here is the Rose Guava truffle, the lavender lemon isn’t pictured, I ate it already in the car.
The Lavender Lemon truffle was actually kinda decent. The lemon flavor was strong with a hint of Lavender, I didn’t hate it. I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy it either. The second one, which is pictured, was so overwhelmingly flower tasting, I felt like I was eating a chocolate dipped flower petal. I didn’t finish it.

 

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This one was actually kind of good. If I could get over the big chunks of candy cane that is. It was a very good quality deliciously smooth dark chocolate. I can totally get behind that. Then you get the crunch of cocoa Nibs…..and….candy cane. It just makes me wan’t to cry

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And last, the peppermint bark. I mean….I don’t know how much I can really say about this one. It was pepperminty…and barky..I felt like I was crunching on a  hard mint. Not my thing guys.

And that’s it. sorry if this post seems a little off, I developed a head cold over night and am trying to get over it since Christmas is this weekend and it’s little man’s first. Oh, and cause you know, being sick while at work sucks too.

Chocolate cravings and holiday cheer,
Paperdaffodils

December Ipsy

Hey guys, Looks like Christmas came early…
Ok…maybe not. The pile of presents in my living room waiting to be wrapped definitely says otherwise. If anyone can get a hold of Santa and have him send me one of his elf’s to help for the day I’d appreciate that.
But, it’s like Christmas for me. Because this month’s Ipsy is here, as well as another box. I’ve decided that I’m going to try and do a review of a box in addition to Ipsy every month. Ipsy isn’t going anywhere guys, I absolutely love it. And while every month isn’t a win, I still have really enjoyed it.
So, let’s get into it. Because let’s face it, I don’t have the patience to wait.
So Ipsy is a beauty subscription box, 10 dollars a month. You get sample size and deluxe sample sizes of all kinds of different cosmetics, face oils, and the like.
If after reading this you are interested in getting one you can click this link here:Your own bag of awesome

Now, that link does give me reward points towards getting little freebies so I definitely appreciate you using that link if you decide to get Ipsy. But if you don’t want to, you can go directly too Ipsy
My feelings wont be hurt, I really just love Ipsy and want to share it with all of you 🙂

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And here it is, December’s bag. The theme was Carpe P.M.  Let me just say, I love the color, I want to say its a cranberry color, which is super appropriate for the month of December. While I love the color, this is not my favorite bag design. I really wish it was suede or velvety. This may completely be preferential, but its fuzzy and I hate that. I feel like they were going for elegant and failed when they decided to make it fuzzy. If I was going to my 8th grade formal I’d probably love this bag. Actually, probably not, I’ve never really been into fuzzy things. But it does remind me of a dress my little sister wore for Christmas one year when she was about 6 or 7. Okay…I’ll get off the bag design now and move forward with the content.
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I’m excited to try this. Ive heard great things about OFRA. It’s a bliss eye-shadow/highlighter. And I could honestly use it as both because it is light enough. Its a very pretty color and I will use it. I watch a lot of unboxings and one of the people I watch was frustrated with the packaging. And I totally have to agree. I know they are just samples, but really as a company you are giving your products in something like this to introduce and create enthusiasm about your products. So…put something into your packaging. It kinda sucks that this is basically a little tin with no lid. This may be preferential, some individuals may have a z palette. I don’t. And I don’t want to have to go out and spend 18.00 for one to put this sample in it to discover if I like your brand…just sayin

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The next item was a brush…which is exciting, but not. I think it’s nice to get brushes, I just don’t know much about them or how to use them. This one says it’s a concealer brush. So i’ll be looking into how to use this guy.

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This is a Maracuja Oil. It says to take 2-3 drops and rub on your face before bed, you can also use it to heal cuticles and to help with flyaywas and split ends. This is my first oil so I’m pretty stoked. And I have already used it and I loved it. There is something weird about putting oil on your face, but it really did help my face to feel softer.
The box was a little damaged but the bottle was fine, and honestly A+ to Tarte for their effort in the bottle design, it is super cute.

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This is a lip treatment. I received a lip treatment in a previous bag, I think Novembers which I didn’t end up getting around to posting up. But honestly, I am happy getting another. when you wear as much red lipstick as I do (usually when I go out with the husband, never really for work) your lips can use some extra nourishment, especially when I use the matte lipsticks they really seem to dry my lips out.

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And last but not least. An eyeliner. I love eyeliners, so I am okay with always getting them…however…this one was a bummer. Because…..

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It’s brown. I wear black. And I really don’t think I will ever use this because it is brown. Maybe I’ll make myself just to try it out and see how it looks. I saw someone who got a purple/plum color, and I”m not going to lie…I’m a little jelly.

So that’s it: carpe-pm-7
All and all, I liked it. There were a couple things I was like meh about. But let’s face it, the only way im ecstatic is if I get a red lipstick in every bag. I’m obsessed. I think I got good quality products and they are all thing’s other then the eyeliner that I’m interested in trying. so that’s a win in my book.

Stick around, the Chococurb review is coming up next, I was going to do them together, but then decided that it would be overwhelming. And stay tuned for next month. I think we will do a vs box. Ipsy vs. Birchbox.
To be honest, I started off with Birchbox first years ago, and I wasn’t thrilled…so…I’m not super excited. But it’s been a while, so who knows.

Make up on,

Paperdaffodils

Letters to my son Vol. 2

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Twas the weekend before Christmas, and silence all through the house. Both the boys are sleeping..and even the cat’s are leaving me the heck alone.

Which is the perfect time for a blog post, right?

I hope the holiday’s are finding you well, and that you are soaking in all the holiday joy. I on the other hand, can’t believe Christmas is next weekend. It has come by so quickly. Everything I wanted to get done this year, is for sure not happening. Like making tamales, maybe next year. I kind of thought that was going to be an ambitious goal.
So while the two boys are sleeping I figured what better time to work on my second installment of letters to my son. This one takes a lot of time and thought, so I really needed to have some semblance of peace around me while I work on it. Which is why there’s only 2 so far because it so rarely happens.

So volume 2, is going to be all about me…but…not really? It’s going to address all the things I have learned so far from being this little boy’s mama. And I know for sure I am not done learning.

first-night

Dear little smushsmush,
When I first found out I was pregnant with you the emotion I had was disbelief. I wish so badly that I could tell you it was euphoria and Joy. But it wasn’t. I felt like someone was playing a joke on me, and not because I didn’t want you, oh boy did I want you. It was because I felt like I had tried and hoped and dreamed for so long that I couldn’t even believe it was possible that now you were here. Eventually after 15 pregnancy tests and the first ultrasound that disbelief wore off and it was replaced with joy…and worry…
And that leads me to my first and one of the most important things you have taught me.
You’ve taught me to love myself in a way that no one and nothing has ever taught me.
Growing up I have always struggled with my weight and pretty much every aspect of my looks. I got made fun of for my red hair and freckles and my weight. I got fun of for being too pale, and even still I get told that I should go get a tan. I already know, that it is going to break my heart the first day that you come home upset or crying because someone was mean. My sweet boy, know that high school and all the other years are not the best years of your life. Brush off what they say and only worry about being a good person at the end of the day.
I didn’t do that. Throughout my childhood, I really struggled to fit in, and to be ‘pretty’ enough. And so, it was no wonder that in my high school years I developed an unhealthy relationship with food. I developed an eating disorder. (Sorry mom, if you’re reading this, which I’m sure you are, because you have done nothing but support my ambitions in life). I felt horrible I didn’t even want to look in the mirror. And when I did look in the mirror all I could see was something repulsive.  Obviously, everything people said about me was right. Or so I thought.   And when you feel that disgusted by yourself, all the time, it’s a hard thing to handle. I remember that one of my high school goals, wasn’t to get good grades, it was to drop a ridiculous amount of weight in a short period of time so that I could walk across the stage, accept my diploma and show those assholes that were mean to me that I could be pretty.
It started small, and greatly progressed. Before I knew it I had fully developed an eating disorder…and I loved it. I loved the sense of control and I loved how much weight I was losing, I loved finally being ‘skinny’. But here’s the thing…It was never enough. I never felt good enough. And that’s what it comes down too. It didn’t matter how much weight I lost, I was never going to like myself until I really learned how to love myself. And that is not something I have really accomplished until having you. Don’t get me wrong. I still have my moments, especially because the eating disorder was also about having control and I greatly desired and enjoyed how much control I felt I had while doing that. But when I look in the mirror now, when I have down days, I take a step back. And I think about how truly wonderful my body is. No, I may not be at the size I want, but I grew this tiny perfect little life inside of me for nine months. My body shifted around, and pushed itself upwards to fit you, and grow you, and nourish you. My body…is badass. And I refuse to disrespect it in the manner I used to. I refuse to not recognize the pain, and hardship it went through during labor to birth you, and the energy and love and life it took to nourish and grow you. I am beautiful because of that. And feeling that way is an emotion that I have never experienced, that appreciation for my body has never been there…until you.
The second thing you have taught me is patience. Please know that I am not perfect, and I still and will always have my moments. But man, I am trying so hard to get better about this. My level of patience before having you was zero. So it goes without saying that it has gone up. When you first came along, I didn’t know what the heck I was doing (still don’t) and so there were moments that were very frustrating and I didn’t have the patience for that. But now I have started to recognize that sometimes when you are fussing and just want to be held, it’s a sign…that we both need to take a pause from everything that is going on and take a break. You have gotten  me to slow down, to pause and breath. This is something that I never understood or was capable of. I never realized how much I truly needed to learn how to do that, but I did. I am too uptight, expecting things to always go perfect and to always go my way. That’s not life. And That was a hard pill for me to swallow, one that I still struggle with and probably will for your entire life. I truly hope that when you look back on your childhood you will see and recognize how hard I tried to control and better this.
The third thing is the realization and acceptance that I do not have everything figured out and that I don’t have to have everything figured out.
When I turned 20 I freaked. I didn’t have a college degree, or a career, we were losing a house, and I was living with my boyfriend in a different state then my parents (your daddy was that boyfriend).
I felt like everything was spiraling out of control, because I had nothing figured out. I remember thinking I was never going to amount to anything, that I was already 20 and I had nothing figured out.
Here’s the thing kid.
I’m 27. And I still don’t have everything figured out.
But now, since having you, I’ve realized that that’s ok. My most important job is raising you to be a good person. I have more of a plan then I did when I was 20. But I also understand that shit happens and plans change, and I am more okay with that now.
Here’s the thing little man, you can plan out your entire life. Go buy a bulletin board, index cards and push pins and map it all out, take the tedious time and energy to put up your idealistic life plan. But you will only be setting yourself up for failure.
Because when life happens and you have to take off half of those index cards, stuck in your plan and your way you will be unable to recognize the bigger picture, the ultimate end goal…being happy.
Please don’t do this.
Don’t make the mistake I made in my early 20’s.
Have a plan but be flexible, be comfortable and willing to change those index cards, to rearrange them and have back up plans. Recognize that sometimes, those index cards you painstakingly wrote out, those ideas you put down, with love and hope…sometimes they need to be let go…and that’s totally okay.
The only constant is that we are constantly growing, and changing. We are never who we were yesterday. So how do you expect, that at 20 you will have how the rest of your life is going to go figured out?
These are just the three big things you have taught me so far. I am constantly learning from you still. I love learning from you, and watching you grow and learn. I never realized how much you would teach me. It may seem small, these three things, but they are monumental to the grand scheme of my life. You are the best thing I have ever done.
Sometimes, you may not like what I say. Sometimes, I may not want to say or tell you these things, but I will. Because I need you to know the truth. I will always be honest with you Edwin. I will always tell you the truth of things even if they are hard. Even if I want to protect you.
Someday when you read all of this, I hope you will understand, and love me for the way I was, for the good things, and for my faults and indiscretions. I hope you will learn from me and find happiness.
Love always,
Mama

 

 

Let’s be Zen about it

My days consist of either work and school, or keeping a tiny little human alive…sometimes both. With all the chaos and little to no harmony I could use some Feng Shui in my life. But honestly, who has the time to rearrange furniture? Not me…in fact the most I’ve rearranged is that wrapper I stuck under the couch when company was coming over for Thanksgiving and a load of laundry from the dryer to the spare bedroom.
I am not an immaculate homemaker.
My days are also spent begging the cat and baby to stop doing whatever it is they are doing.
Example:

“Kid, please don’t put that in your mouth.”

“Sebastian!(the cat) DROP the lizard! I said drop it! Leave the poor thing alone!”
“WHY the pee pee diaper in the mouth??”
“DUDE.”
“Kid, don’t suck on daddy’s shoes.”
“Leave the kitty alone please.”
It’s a battle, because half the time I’m saying those things and the other half I’m sighing into a cup of coffee debating on how badly I want the cat or baby…or both to stop doing whatever it is they are doing vs. staying where I am and drinking my coffee.
So during one of these moments, I stumbled upon a pin on pinterest or as I like to fondly refer to as the black hole of good intentions and lost recipes.
Diy Zen garden

And I thought YES I NEED that in my life…even though I ended up making it for my husband and his office desk…that’s totally not the point.
The other reason I ended up giving/making it for my husband is because I remember his Dad having a little construction themed Zen garden on his work desk. It was the nostalgic part of me that really made me want to do this.
It was incredibly easy and ended up being super cute, the hardest time I had was trying to find a container I wanted to put it in, but my husband is picky so that’s probably why.

**This post contains Affiliate links**
I got everything except the rock off of Amazon, because If I could, I would literally buy everything off of Amazon.

Novelty Zen Garden Rake Decor Accessories Mini Zen Garden Art Kit Sand Push Pen(This is not a necessity to the project, I just got it because I thought they were fun, you could totally use a pen while sitting at your desk, or your finger.)

WGV Clear Slant Cut Bowl Glass Vase/Glass Terrarium, 6-Inch x 2.7-Inch(a container for your Zen garden, you can get super creative with this)

ACTIVA Scenic Sand, 5-Pound, Harvest (they have so many different colors, so again, you can get creative with this. You could even do a combo of two different colors like the original post suggests. I just went with a brown because it was for my husband.)

Decorations to put inside of your little slice of zen. I picked a little rock I found from my yard and a Dozer ( I think that’s what it’s called, I am for sure not an expert on any construction vehicles) because my husband works in construction.
You could do little cat statues ( totally up my alley) or little miniature pictures with family in it. Or maybe some rocks with what you feel are powerful and positive words. It’s really up to you.

Here’s all the supplies:
zen-garden
Sorry, the cat would NOT leave me alone or get out of my picture. I dont think this cat knows how to do anything but be in the middle of everything I am doing.
And again, this is embarrassingly easy.
Step one: Open bag of sand and pour sand into designated container.
zen-garden-2
Step 3: Add decorations

zen-garden-3
That’s literally it. I mean…I feel kind of bad…can this even really be labeled a craft project?
Step 4: Achieve ultimate zen…
That’s going to take sooo much more then just pouring some sand into a bowl..and can I just add that this did not make me  Zen? I could not get the sand to move in the shape I wanted and create the perfect lines I wanted..but maybe I’m missing the point here.
It’s probably best it’s going to the husband and his desk at work.
That’s the passive aggressive semi sorta ocd perfectionist in me.

Peace and Zen,
Paper daffodils

Letters to my Son vol. 1

Hey guys, welcome back!
We had a short Hiatus there, mostly because of school work…but also because another reason I had started this blog was to do a series called Letter’s to my son. I was excited about it, and it was the major reason for starting the blog and doing this. But I found myself unable to write the first one. The words have been in my head but whenever I sat down and tried to write them they stuck, lodged in my brain like little pricker’s lodged in your foot.  I wanted this to be right. Not only right, but perfect. So, in a sense I was already failing. Because there is no part of writing or blogging that is perfect. Let’s be honest, there is no part of my life that is in any way close to being a semblance of put together or perfect.
So here I am. Kicking and screaming. And I’m going to write it, I’m going to get it. Or maybe I won’t, maybe it’ll end up being only half as good as I want it to be. But the point is, I’m going to do it.

 

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Letters to my son Vol. 1

Dear Edwin,

I don’t hope or dream that you will become the next president. I don’t hope you’ll follow the footsteps of Gandhi, or become a doctor or lawyer or rocket scientist.  While these are all admirable things, with the necessity of growing admirable and strong qualities it’s not something I am asking of you, it’s not something I am dreaming up for you.
I hope you are happy.
More than anything I hope you develop your own dreams, and pursue them with all the passion and perseverance of your entirety. You cannot live my life or the life I dream up for you.
Find something that lights up your soul, something that you are so excited to do that you are up before your alarm clock goes off, ready to accomplish it.
If that’s being an artist, or working a 9-5 job to support a growing family, or if you want to chain yourself to a tree in the rain forest to stop deforestation, I will be happy. That’s just to name a few, there are so many possibilities, don’t sell yourself short.
Be humble, never flaunt what you have, and make sure that what you have is through hard work and effort on your part.
Only look to others to see what they need and what you can give to them.
Don’t take, even if it’s someone you feel is undeserving or who won’t miss it.
I hope you feel and see and taste the world to the core of your being. The colors and the noise and the life all around you is irreplaceable, valuable, important.
Always stand up for what you believe, this will not always be easy, you will find that your beliefs, your values will be subjugated to others beliefs and values. That’s ok.
Don’t worry on it, explain your values and beliefs, present all that you do with knowledge behind it, reasoning and then move on. Some people will see your side of it. Some wont. Some people will hate you for it, some wont. It is not your goal or job to impress everyone, or for everyone to like you.
Never resort to violence.
Be a role model, to all of those around you, hold yourself in a way that is not expected but that is always admired.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, especially animals. We are not here on this planet to be destructive or hurtful.
Understand and recognize, that you are not, cannot be and never will be perfect.
You are beautifully, wonderfully crazily flawed in every essence of the meaning. The beauty and tragedy of being human, is it takes time to gain perfection, to gain expertise on skills, and thoughts and traits. But time is not something we have.
Hold the door open for women, be respectful of women. Never forget where and how you came into this world; through a woman. That a woman held you, and loved you. A woman nursed, and soothed you.

All the while understanding that some women will come and go from your life in destructive whirl winds.
Know that someday someone will break your heart. They will break you down. They will make you feel unworthy.
I hope you follow your heart, I hope you understand your worthiness and don’t stand for those who do this to you. I hope you recognize what you will and will not tolerate, that you put your foot down. The right person will not need you to change who you are, they will never ask that from you.
I hope you live your life full of passion, a splattering tornado of emotions, colors. Chaotic and uncontrolled, unapologetic.
And on that note, I hope you find love, a love that ignites you and grounds you, but never one that extinguishes you.
Please learn the difference. A good love will ground and stabilize you, but ignite your heart and soul, like a lighting pole grounded with rubber, constantly being struck by lightning but never setting the world around it on fire.

If the love is threatening to burn you and your surroundings down, it’s not love.
Son, know that you are just one person. But if you are a good person you are one less person adding hurt, and hate to the world.

Always pursue knowledge over money.
Follow the things that will feed and nourish your soul, nothing less, nothing more.

These are the things I hope for you. These are the things I dream for you. They are tiny and huge, taking up no space but taking up all of it.
Perhaps it’d be easier if I just asked you to become a Doctor. To have a mansion in Beverly hills.
But I can’t, I won’t.
I expect so much more, I know you can be so much more.
You are me, and your dad, you are generations of flawed and wonderfully imperfect beings.
Filled with love, glittering and new.
And this is how we start, this is how we change the world. Through you. Through who you become.

Love,
Mama

5 things that don’t make you a bad mom

Ive thought about this post for a little bit. Ive started it then deleted it then started it again. I have struggled. In more then one way to put this all into words. Words and analogies usually  come easy to me, but this has been a hard  post.
Sometimes, the hardest things to say,  the hardest things to write are the most important. They are the things chewing away at you, pushing down threatening to crush and mold your soul into something else. Something that you have fought so hard for it not to be. The hardest things to stomach, that sits  in you like a lump, overriding all senses. Those are what need to be shared. When I started this blog…many times over, four years ago, three years ago and again now, I promised myself the one thing I would do was say what needed to be said no matter how hard or daunting. So I’ve been writing this post. On and off. Back and forth. And here it is. I cannot promise to be perfect, I can’t promise to post a lot. But you will never come to this blog and wonder if what I post is truth. You will never wonder if its lacking emotions. I am not writing this blog only for people to follow it. This is not a popularity contest. Not for me. This is real. It’s raw, because it’s my hope that maybe someone will gain perspective through what I have to say. It’s my hope that maybe we all feel a little less alone in what we are doing. So here we go. Get ready.
Being a mom is hard, it is the most rewarding yet thankless job. There are so many times I sit there and wonder what the hell I am doing. There are plenty of moments I feel like a bad mom. And that led me to number one.
1. Feeling resentful:
Feeling resentful does not make you a bad mom. It makes you human. There is so much change involved with having a baby. No matter how prepared you are, it will eventually come around and smack you. It ranges from not being able to sleep when you want, or make it through a TV show or book without a crying baby. It could be just not being able to sit for 20 minutes and breathe with no noise. I love my son. But sometimes I feel resentful. Sometimes I feel resentful that I can’t do what I used to do, or be who I used to be. Sometimes I feel resentful towards my husband because I feel like he has sacrificed nothing in comparison to me. When in truth he has in his own ways. It’s hard to see that sometimes. When I asked if I could take a step back from work to be with our son, take a pay cut and also focus on school without hesitation he said yes. Without hesitation he has shouldered the financial burden, without complaint he has worked 40+ hour weeks. How has that not been a sacrifice? I am sure he would love to be home more with our son. My point is, try to see the perspective of others and don’t give yourself a guilt trip for feeling what you feel. Work through those emotions don’t just bury them. And know that its okay. This does not make you less of a mom.
2. Taking a step back:
Sometimes you pile your plate like its Thanksgiving, you pile it so high with potatoes, turkey, gravy corn and some cranberries. Then you sit down and take two bites and a.) realize you got way too much food and b)realize your already full and cant finish anything else but the two bites you’ve had. Life is like that sometimes. You have to start picking and choosing and scraping off the shit that doesn’t matter as much, even if it’s temporary. Even if you have to stick it in a container in the back of your fridge to eat tomorrow. Maybe you’ll never eat it but you cant bring yourself to throw it away. That’s okay. sometimes you have to take a step back. You have to realize whats important. And only you can do that for yourself. This goes through a range of things from work to nursing to expectations, I seriously could go on. I’m the kind of person who thinks I can conquer the world before dinner time. I’m tieing on my mask and cape to kick bad guys to the curb, then life comes in and puts me back in check. You can’t do everything, thats ok.

3. Peoples Opinions:
This one is a big deal to me. I didn’t think it was, but it is. I have never cared what people think of me, I’ve never been one to try and fit in. I haven’t been one to be impacted by the things people say to me or about me. So I was surprised when I discovered this was now something that applied to me. The other day someone told me “Your just a (insert job position) now, huh?”
This hit me. It hit me like that school bus at the end of Mean Girls.
I had no witty come back, I had no clever thing to say. My response was “I guess so.”
And I went back to what I was doing. But I mulled over that. I chewed on it, back and forth, around and around in my mouth like a piece of bubblegum. I spit it out and popped it back in and chewed on it some more. For a few days. Until I realized, it made me angry. It made me more then angry. It was  like a kaleidoscope of different level’s of anger. But it didn’t make me angry because I am just whatever job title. It made me angry because there was someone yet again judging a choice that I had made for my child’s benefit. There was someone yet again, giving their opinion towards the life I was building, the choices I make every day to try and raise a tiny person. It made me angry because it was callous.
I am just a worker at chain of places.
I hung up my cape and mask. I took a step back. I work part time but I am a mom full time, my days don’t end when I clock out. I go all day, every single day, Monday through Sunday.
I realized I was angry because I was sick of hearing people say that the women who decide to work full time aren’t a good mom, and that I was tired of hearing the ridicule of a mom who doesn’t work or who is somewhere in between. Because we are faulted for trying to do it “all” and faulted when we aren’t doing it “all”
We are all doing the very best that we can. I made the decisions I’ve made for the best interest of my child. So when someone try’s to make you feel bad with their opinions remind yourself of that. Remind yourself that you are the best person to decide what is right for your family and child and don’t let them get to you.
4. You let the baby cry it out/you didn’t let the baby cry it out:
Multiple people have told me to not hold him too much, that it’ll spoil him. I am a firm believer that you cannot spoil a baby, that no child will ever complain to their therapist that their mom loved them too much. I’ve also been ridiculed by people for not letting him cry it out and for picking him up right away. Let me just say that I have had moment’s were I was frustrated and was desperate for anything to work to get him to sleep without being held and I let him cry. And we both cried, for 15 minutes. It doesn’t work for me and it doesn’t work for my kid. We both cry, we both get hot and sweaty, and red and blotchy. The kid gets weazy. And he doesn’t stop crying, not until I pick him up and love on him.
I will not let him cry. It doesn’t work for us. But that doesn’t meant the mom’s who do let their babies cry are bad. It doesn’t make them less. Again, it is up to you to decide what is right for you and your baby.

5. You put yourself first sometimes:
Why moms try to do everything without giving themselves a break is beyond me. And honestly I say that but I am guilty of it. We give so much, day in and day out. It’s okay to go take a bath for an hour. It’s okay to take an hour to just exist. To browse pinterest, to read a book or watch a TV show. Its okay to say I need a moment for me. How are you supposed to take care of your baby to the best of your ability if you aren’t even taking care of yourself?

So there it is. It’s unapologetic and probably chaotic, a mixture of self judgement and self understanding.
My house is chaotic and 90% of the time you stop by it will be a mess. The kid may have just peed himself and you will find me wiping him up with a baby wipe and throwing a different outfit on him.
Dinner will probably be late but there will always be plenty to go around.
And hey, my kid is over there laughing with his daddy.
So the biggest favor I’m going to do for myself as a mom, is going to be to cut myself some slack.
Peace out

-Paperdaffodils